I have two distinct lives. One in the trenches of low-budget film and television, the other in professional gambling. Because of the feast-or-famine nature of show business I need a reliable income... gambling. So here you will read about both worlds. Enjoy!



Monday, October 24, 2011

Dice Control

Stanford Wong will be on Gambling With an Edge this week to talk about dice control, and his book, Wong on Dice. The book is not really a "How to" on dice control.  It reads more like a chronicle of how he got interested, what he did then to convince himself it was real, then his experiences in learning to do it, and finally the reactions of other professional gamblers resulting in a large wager. Throughout the book Wong mentions a class called Golden Touch which he took in learning dice control, and a book called, Get the Edge at Craps by Sharpshooter. So what is dice control?  Can you really throw two cellulite cubes six or more feet down a table and have the results not be random?  And more importantly, if you can develop this skill can you win any money at it?


First I have to take a step back. Sometime in the late 1990s I got an email from a blackjack player I had met over the internet.  He said he knew a guy, an engineer, who said he could control the dice when he threw them.  Would I be interested in talking to him?  I said I would be very interested in talking to him, and so my friend gave me his email and phone number. This man went by the name Sharpshooter.

I called Sharpshooter, and he was obviously bright, and it was clear he had great passion for this subject.  He started telling me about kinetic energy, dice sets, and sevens to rolls ratios.  I asked him, if you can do this why are you still working as an engineer? He said he wasn't a big gambler, and that he only played for red chips.  I said, fine.  If you can do this I will make you a millionaire. I offered to fly him out to Vegas, put him up on the strip, and we would go to a dealer's school and do a test of his ability. If he passed the test I would put up the bank roll to play.  Then he said that he would be too nervous betting thousands of dollars.  I explained he would never bet more than the minimum, and that "Big Players" would bet the big money.  Then he said that even if other people were betting the money the pressure might effect his abilities.  I said, well why don't we give it a try?  But first you would have to take a test.  The bottom line was that he was unwilling to take a test, but he did want to teach me, and my team mates for $5,000. That idea didn't interest me so we went our separate ways.  A few years later I was at a party for gambling writers, and I ran into Frank Scoblete.  Frank had written some articles about Sharpshooter that were very positive.  I asked Frank about it, and he told me, "I am a believer."  I have seen this guy shoot and it is real.  Shortly after that Sharpshooter published his book with Frank Scoblete, and Frank started his Golden Touch classes.  I don't believe Sharpshooter is still involved with Golden Touch.

I must introduce one more character, Mr. B.  Mr. B. has been a professional gambler for over 20 years.  He makes his living taking money out of casinos, and sports books.  Seven or eight years ago Mr. B. bought a casino craps table, set it up in his living room, and began practicing.  (There is nothing wives like more than a 12 foot crap table in their living room.)  Mr. B. recorder over 50,000 throws, and told me that without question he has some measure of control.

Stanford Wong is not a professional gambler, but he is a highly respected gambling writer, with a strong math background, and he believes he can control the dice.  Bryce Carlson is the author of Blackjack for Blood and a serious winning gambler.  He believes he can control dice.  Mr. B. is a high-stakes professional gambler, and he believes he can control dice. I believe dice control is possible.

BUT


Is it worth pursuing?  I believe not, and here is why:

  • Every one of these people mentioned that they got heat very quickly. As soon as their bets got above red chip levels they started having trouble.  It is very easy for the casinos to negate your edge by calling "no roll" or insisting that both dice hit the wall on the fly.
  • Casinos have barred people trying to control the dice or told them they can bet but not throw.
  • It is very easy to fool yourself into thinking you have an edge when you don't.  On the days you throw lots of 7s it is because you were hungry or tired or had a fight with your wife, so you don't count those rolls in your stats.
  • There are very few tables that are actually conducive to controlled throwing.  It's not like blackjack where if you get some heat at one table you can just move to another pit.
  • I don't know how long it takes to learn this, but I think 1,000 hours is a conservative estimate.  I think if you put 1,000 hours into something else, for example poker, you would see a much greater return.
ONE MORE BUT

Big money is often made by people who don't follow the "conventional wisdom."  If you are going to pursue dice control I would offer one piece of advice.  The way to take big money out of a casino would be to have the Big Player betting the don't.  I'll leave it to you to figure out what dice sets to use and what numbers to avoid.

UPDATE 11/2/11
I've had some email exchanges with Bryce Carlson since the show aired.  Bryce does not believe dice control is possible, and said the following:
"My conclusions are that there is no hard evidence that real-world
casino craps can be beaten with legitimate skillful play, and lots of
evidence (given the exponential nature of kinetic energy, and the way
the game is actually played in casinos) that it is totally undoable."

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