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Gaming Guru

Lee Section Eight
 

Practice As You Play, Play As You Practice

15 October 2011

As a craps player who uses dice control, do you practice at home? Do you focus on practicing what you do in the casinos and then play in the casinos as you have practiced at home? At some point it will kick in that you are doing the right thing, and you will find yourself content, knowing you're doing exactly what you set out to do. Win and win with style, grace, and charm -- Or you swallow that lump in your throat harshly as you realize you left money on the table, a lot of money and you have not done the right things.

On a recent trip to Las Vegas I had this very subject put to the test.

The week after our Golden Touch dice control classes are usually teeming with life of refreshed and advanced students staying over to spend time at the tables. These intermediate and advanced students put their reinforced skills to the test and often find themselves on one or more great rolls on their own accord or simply at a hot table with other students, players, or instructors.

This particular night, I showed up at one of the casinos and found many familiar faces. One in particular, the Goddess, waved me in and informed me that several of our guys were getting ready to leave and there would be a spot open soon. Her husband, Sandtrap, was also going to play. These two are good friends and it's always a pleasure to play with them. I had backed away from the table to visit with some others, when Goddess motioned for me to tend to my spot. Sandtrap would be taking SL1 (stick left one) and I would be at SL2 (stick left two).

I looked around the table and it was full of faces I knew. Nice, it's always pleasing to see good people on these trips.

Sandtrap had the dice first for a short time, Goddess was counting the number of rolls for all of us. I don't think he made it past the 5-Count.

My turn.

This was my first time on these tables this trip so I started off slower than usual, getting better results each time. Occasionally I would have one land, explode, and split in two different directions. Always a hold-your-breath moment if you're a dice controller -- or a random shooter, for that matter. When it was over, Goddess leaned over and mentioned it was a nice 26 roll. I looked down and had almost doubled my buy-in as profit.

The dice went all the way around to SR1 (stick right one) to one of the familiar faces, who didn't pass the 5-Count. Back to Sandtrap, who also didn't pass the 5-Count. Back to me, who barely passed the 5-Count, enough to get money out on the table and cost me and the others when the devil showed up.

Goddess looked at Sandtrap, "Are you ready to call it a night?"

"I want one more," he said as he looked at me. "I always want one more." We laughed. I love Sandtrap. He is such a classy gentleman, soft wit and humor, and a heck of a craps shooter. He threw a monster 90-roll hand in Atlantic City in October 2010, which left the chip racks empty on the boxman's side of the table. Always a good thing to see.

The dice made it all the way around the table again back to Sandtrap because no one was getting anything going. I was happy with my 50 percent profit sitting in my rack. My last throw eroded things a little bit. Sandtrap had the makings of a throw as he got past the 5-Count and I had covered my 6 and 8. I was thinking I was going to collect some extra when the bad one showed its ugly face.

Sandtrap's dice were looking good, I knew he would want one more after that.

I started to settle in again, throwing fewer trash numbers and more 6s and 8s. This time around, I made it to nine numbers before I sevened out. Goddess looked at both Sandtrap and me. I said it this time, "One more time." She laughed and looked rather pleased that we wanted to stay.

The dice immediately passed to the same person at SR1, which was a lady who was a doctor. She actually had a nice shot from there, but I could tell it was not her primary shot and therefore she got a 5 and 1/2 Count from me. She made it but I was deep in thought.

I need to really turn on the focus and put myself under really hard. We need to end this string of so-so rolls and make some money. One more time!

I was still in thought when the dice came to Sandtrap. I can't honestly say what sort of roll he had because I was in thought, mental preparation for my roll. I could feel the hairs starting to stand up on my arms as if a wind blew down the table only at me. I knew I was emptying my mind a bit early, but as the tides had been only meager, I didn't know how much time I had so I started early.

All I remember is Sandtrap turning to me, "You said one more time. This is it, do something."

I started my routine, the one we all practice at home. What makes us feel comfortable, what gets us in the zone, what gets us ready to win. Betting, not even a thought. Others at the table? I couldn't see them. Dealers, tuned out...everything was muffled. I'm ready.

I picked dice, quickly set and immediately established the 9 as a point. The dice weren't real pretty, but they weren't bad.

I threw a couple of 5s, a 10; meanwhile the dice were getting closer together and landing softer with each throw. I still had the occasional runaway that sent my heartbeats into flat line.

Then it really hit me. Tunnel vision. Goose bumps ran up and down my arms and neck. I knew I was under deep in the zone with a clear mind. The mantra of mine was an automatic thing; the chips in my rack also were helping with the focus. The stripes on the sides of casino chips have sections. I was unconsciously rotating these around to line up. New chips were added to the rack and they were immediately assimilated.

The 6s started to show. I remember that first series as 4-2, 6-5, 6-5, 4-1, 4-2, 3-3, 4-2 and then up three units. Another 5-1, not really pretty but it paid in triple digits. Another hard 6 got people thinking about the hardways, but no takers from our group. Eights started to show up and those were brought up three units. A quick runaway ending on 6-2 brought an automatic full press from me.

I had more on the 8 now than the 6, and I was hammering the 6. I was unaware of anything other than lining up the chips, and the dice when they were brought in front of me.

Thinking back there were several very long delays during this time, which to this day I do not know what happened, nor do I care. I was in a very deep zone to the point that I didn't know someone was watching me from my left, just barely out of view. He caught the corner of my eye as I looked at my chips.

It was the Dominator.

I knew it was him as I could hear his voice in the background and could see his shoes. "How long has he rolled?" "How many Sixes has he thrown?" "That $@#er should be pressing up to the ceiling right now. I would."

It didn't bother me. It was as if he was in another area of existence, in the back of my head (literally, he was) and it was easy to simply focus on my chips, lining up the stripes.

A couple 10s in a row prompted a $25 buy from me, automatically again. The 4/10 has to hit twice, and the dice have to look good, and I have to have at least my buy-in in the rack, then I buy the number for $25, just as I practice.

After I bought my number, I threw another 6 and collected the rewards of more triple digits and pressed up.

While I waited for the dice, my phone vibrated, indicating a call. I pulled it out of my pocket and just held it up. Someone took it. Unbeknownst to me, it was Dom who took it and my wife on the other end. He told her I couldn't talk because I was on a good roll.

It continued. It was a 6 and 8 fest for about five rolls. I had my 6 up to $360. It was here that there was another break in the game. Something was happening with the base dealer on the other end. I was maybe three percent aware of it. It didn't bother me; the stripes were still being worked on in my rack. My base dealer and the stickman were saying something to each other, but to me everything was muffled. Finally, the stickman brought his head really low and caught my attention.

I came out of it.

"You bored?" the stickman asked me.

"What? Oh, no. Goodness, look at my chips. I must be mental, I've been lining up the stripes and haven't been paying attention." I played dumb as I wanted to diffuse anything they were doing to throw me off of my game and rhythm.

"Yes, looks a little mental to me. I've been trying to get your attention for a few over here. We thought you were asleep."

"No, not asleep. But I didn't know I was spinning these things around like this. How weird of me. Guess it was relaxing." They shrugged me off, which is exactly what I wanted. Finally the dice were pushed back in front of me. I spun around one more chip to get me started back into my zone.

Nine, finally for the point! Not a bad $175 collect for a point that was so elusive.

The next shot was really welcomed as it was a free throw, which helped settle me back into my zone. I hit the 9s opposite, the 5, to set the point.

I threw an occasional 10, which allowed me to climb up to $200 on that number.

Between throws, I would focus on what felt right in my fingers on the previous shot, clear my mind, pick up the dice, and duplicate the shot. Another 6.

I pressed to $600 and collected back $180. My eyes darted at Goddess. She returned my glaze, said nothing. Her eyes said it all, "Go for it, the six is yours. You can do it."

I looked back down at my rack, spinning back at full. Getting the stripes lined up. Occasionally I had to mess them up because everything was lined up.

Dom was excited, I could sense him. He would come up on my left, between me and Goddess. He was standing back because he didn't want to distract my throw, I knew that. What he didn't know, and maybe Goddess told him, was that I have never been to $600 on the 6 and hit it. I have been to table max on the 4 and to $1800 on the 10, but I've never been able to hit the 6 and collected $700.

Well, I have in practice.

I threw several numbers, one 10 was in there. I had it up to $400. My rack was looking like a junkyard of green and black getting assimilated into straight lined up stripes once they were dumped in.

That thought. I have hit the 6 at $600 -- in practice.

I've done this before! I must clear my mind and feel that feeling of passing the $600 mark because it's "old hat." It's been practiced.

I threw the dice, 4-2 and it stuck like it was meant to. $700! The table cheered and I think I even let out an audible "Yes!!" It couldn't be helped, it was a milestone. I think Goddess cheered the loudest. She knew the significance.

I also heard Dom. "He did not just do that? He didn't do it, did he? He did? Damn!"

I collected two black chips and one purple chip. It was odd that the purple chip didn't fit in very well. I left it there, flat.

The 8 showed up twice more, bringing the bet up to $360 and very close to being pressed up to $600 as well. Another 6 and another $700. I knew where the next was going, $1200.

It didn't happen. I sevened out before pressing up again on either number. I had no idea how many throws, how many 6s or 8s. Only that I managed to get over a hump, that $600 on the 6.

Goddess immediately hugged me and said I threw 36 numbers. Her husband, Sandtrap, hugged me too and said I brought him back from the dead and into "Profitland." One of the other players, The Contractor, pointed to the layout where the 6 was before the dealers could wipe off the bets. He had $900 on there. I wondered where he got out there heavier than I was.

Then there was Dom. He came up from behind me, grabbed me around the shoulders to congratulate me, "You son of a, you son of a, you mother....I can't believe how many sixes you threw out there. It was amazing. If I were out there, I would have been at table max a long time ago. Why did you stay at $180 for so long?"

"It was what I was comfortable with, Dom. It was what I practice and I play as I practice, no matter what."

He shrugged and accepted that, because it was textbook...and the right thing.

Two gentlemen from Hawaii who we had met on Friday approached us. I introduced them to Dom. One said to me, "Man, 36 numbers and 14 of them were sixes. If I wasn't a believer on Friday, I'm certainly a believer now. I called the boss after your throw was over. I've been given the green light."

Dom and I just looked at each other.

"My wife, my boss, said I could take the Golden Touch class in June 2012. I told her about meeting you guys on Friday and talking about the throw and how you do this. Then I called her here and told her I saw you in action. You certainly walked the walk and I made enough money to pay for the class."

Good deal! The others came up to me and said they were really happy to see the throw, the action, and the concentration. I was simply happy that everyone made money.

Dom finally asked, "If I had jumped in next to you, on your left, and bet the way I would have bet....$300 on six and eight each...would it have bothered you or thrown off your focus?"

"No, Dom, and here's why. I was in such a deep zone and focused that I wouldn't have noticed you. Had I? Well, then it comes down to betting. It's your money and how you choose to risk it, is your choice. I worry about me, my bets, and my throw. That's all, it would be a matter of your choice to bet or not."

"Damn. That's the perfect answer, I should have jumped in. You were nailing the six and I could have been to table max and collected a few times."

"You know now for next time.....you know there's going to be plenty of 'next times' as I'm over my hump now. I don't think I'll have a problem with $1200, the next stop is table max for the six and/or eight."

Dom was happy. "You continue to practice as you play, and then play as you practice. It couldn't be any better than that."

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.