Dice Control – Second in a Series . September 2001

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Dice Control – Second in a Series

How to Set the Dice

by Jerry Patterson

The idea of dice control has been around for years. I first heard about it in the early '80s when an elderly gentleman in one of my craps classes demonstrated how to set and how to throw the cubes. But his throw involved sliding the dice down the layout after setting them to achieve the desired result. He called his throw "the old Army Blanket Roll" and it was widely used by sharpers among the Servicemen in World War II and, afterwards, on the back streets and in the illegal casinos in New York City and elsewhere.

You could get away with using "the slider" throw in the early days in Vegas, but the casino bosses soon caught on and outlawed it. This slider throw is the reason that the casinos string that thin piece of wire across the center of the table - to prohibit it by stopping the cubes on their path down the table.

In today's game, it is not illegal to set the dice and execute a controlled throw. The casino rule is that the dice must hit the back wall. This is because they want the dice to bounce off the protruding bumpers and, thus, end up as a random throw.

We can accept this bounce and still achieve control and, thus, an advantage. It all starts with the Set.

Get out a pair of dice and hold them in your hands. Do that now and then come back here and continue reading (if you don't have a pair, I suggest picking one up from the drugstore or casino next time you go). Put the two 5s on top with the 1s pointing to the left. Now look on the inside faces - open up the two 5s. Notice that the 6 on the left die and a 1 on the right die - the losing 7. Now look at the two outside faces - the left face and the right face. You see the other 6 and the other 1 - another seven. In setting the dice in this way, we are putting two of the losing 7s out of the way.

I know, I know, they may not stay there as the dice fly through the air, but as you learn to control the dice and keep them more or less together through their orbit, the chances of these two 7s coming up are minimized. Not eliminated, minimized.

Setting the dice is a good start to eliminating the house edge. (In last month's column, I indicated that our calculations show that just one controlled throw out of every 43 rolls of the dice will eliminate the house edge and yield a break-even game for the 6 & 8 Place Bets).

An easier set to use is the Quick Set which will take much less time to execute in the heat of casino play.

Here is what to remember about the Quick Set: the dealer will never push the dice back to you with a seven on top - this is considered extremely impolite and is just never done. But the dice may come back to you with a seven on the side. Notice this when the stick man pushes the dice back to you prior to your throw. If you see the seven on the side, simply rotate either die a quarter turn to take off the seven. This move accomplishes no losing 7s around the four outside faces of the dice. Try it and you'll see.

To summarize, the first lesson in dice control and creating your own advantage over the casino is setting the dice. Do you need to set the dice to gain an advantage? No you don't. But setting, together with the other components of the controlled throw, will achieve the highest advantage possible. More next month.

Editor's Note:  For more on dice control, pick up a copy of Jerry Patterson's book – Casino Gambling: A Winner's Guide to Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat and Casino Poker.