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Gaming Guru

Lee Section Eight
 

Mom Was Right!

30 April 2011

Craps is a game that involves you, the shooter, throwing the dice. If you're a skilled shooter, you know that throwing the dice correctly involves not only muscle memory from physically practicing a well learned technique, but also mental preparation and concentration. Most competitive sports involve a disciplined and prepared mind, but bowling and golf seem to have the most attributes in common with advantage play in craps.

I had the opportunity of having a mother who worked in a bowling facility, running the accounting staff as well as being the junior bowling league coordinator. Needless to say, I grew up bowling there for about 12 years, starting at age eight. Mom was great and very observant. She knew there was a physical and mental game at work here. She taught the physical herself, straight out of the book. Even the terms should sound familiar to all of us: grip, targeting, approach, delivery, and followthrough.

For the mental side, she tried different instructors from several yoga and martial arts places, finally settling on Zen and Qigong (pronounced "chi kong") instructors. They taught us mental focus and attention, aligning breathing and meditation, as well as pre-visualization, the concept of seeing what you want to do in your mind, before you do it physically.

The intention was for concentrating through the stress of competition, blocking out distractions such as other bowlers, the other team trying to throw you off, or seeing those nine strikes in a row up on the board. Through mental preparation, breathing, and quickly clearing the mind, it soon became easy to block out everything and simply focus on delivering that perfect ball down the lane.

In a matter of months practicing every day, it became easy to block the comments from the other bowlers who were trying to play mental games to get an edge, clearing my mind before getting up for my turn, and then pre-visualizing what I needed to do physically and seeing that image of the strike happening in my mind. I expected a strike each and every time I went up to bowl.

At 16, I was on a travel league, representing my bowling establishment. I had around a 236 average and could conquer just about anyone in my age group, which was the seniors of the junior league. I aspired to go pro and had several pro bowlers working on my mother to allow this. Mom played to my ego. "I'll sign the permission for you to go pro, but do you really want to be a little fish in a big pond or would you rather be the big fish in the little pond. Once you go to the big pond, you will not be able to come back down to the juniors if something doesn't go right." That's all I needed to stay put. Mom was great at the mental game.

Later in high school, I made the golf team without much experience other than miniature golf and a very embarrassing "try out tournament." I stunk. The coach had to rebuild his team, having had all of his great players graduate the year before. He took anyone that tried out and therefore I made the team. Coach had to teach a dozen of us from scratch. I still remember his words of encouragement. "We all make a great shot now and then. It happens. An excellent golfer simply makes great shots, only more often." That certainly makes sense in the craps world.

Learning the proper technique, again sounding very familiar: stance, grip, swing, targeting, followthrough -- all of the physical aspects of golf were practiced during my first few months of high school. This time my mental discipline and concentration abilities were there already. It applies to anything requiring mental discipline. I was able to teach other teammates the mental focus and pre-visualization techniques I had learned years earlier. By my senior year the dozen of us who stunk up local fairways three years prior were starting to go to divisional, regional, and state tournaments due to good coaching, practice, and mental preparedness.

I never had aspirations of going pro at golf, but the 71 shot during the final game of one particular tournament against a rival school was almost enough for me to entertain the idea.

Bowling, golf, and dice control at craps all have a skill or technique that can be taught and, with proper frequent practice, can be carried out to play the particular game with a physical skill. The mental discipline required in each game is the same too. For craps, and for the other two sports from personal experience, it's 80% of the game.

Thanks, Mom!

Mom Was Right! is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
Lee Section Eight
Lee "Section Eight" has been playing craps for almost two decades. He has put hundreds of thousands of hours of practice into being a consistent dice controller. In his private life, Section Eight is a Chief Information Officer of a global technology company and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Russian Linguistics. He’s been a translator and has worked in the intelligence community. Section Eight is a member of the West Coast Crew and frequents Vegas and has had multiple 30-roll hands. Section Eight is also a member of the 40-Roll Club and 50-Roll Club. In his time away from the tables, Section Eight has been seen on TV in such shows as Bones, In Case of Emergency, Grey’s Anatomy, and 24.
Lee Section Eight
Lee "Section Eight" has been playing craps for almost two decades. He has put hundreds of thousands of hours of practice into being a consistent dice controller. In his private life, Section Eight is a Chief Information Officer of a global technology company and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Russian Linguistics. He’s been a translator and has worked in the intelligence community. Section Eight is a member of the West Coast Crew and frequents Vegas and has had multiple 30-roll hands. Section Eight is also a member of the 40-Roll Club and 50-Roll Club. In his time away from the tables, Section Eight has been seen on TV in such shows as Bones, In Case of Emergency, Grey’s Anatomy, and 24.