The latest book I have been reading is The Dice Doctor by Sam Grafstein. As I read, I knew I was holding in my hands a classic in the world of craps books. This guy is the crap shooter's crap shooter. He walked the walk. He started gambling at the age of 6. He made his livelihood from gambling, either booking his own street craps game, working as a dealer, or extracting profits from bank craps (craps played in a casino). He's the kind of guy I would want to be my mentor. Although he has passed away, his wisdom lives on in his books in which he offers advice and observations about the gambling life, sprinkled liberally with gambling lingo. A true keeper for Poorman's library.
Grafstein explains a handful of different playing methods, both for the right and wrong bettor. With a planned trip to Black Hawk over Labor Day weekend, I was anxious to try out one of Sam's methods of right betting. I choose his Converted Come Bet method.
The Converted Come Bet
This method consists of having 3 bets working. A pass line bet with odds and 2 Converted Come Line bets. After the point has been established, wait until a box number has been rolled, then place that number with a bet equivalent to the amount of a combined flat and odds bet if you made a come bet. For example, if you make a come bet of $5, and the point is 9, you would have a $5 come bet on the 9 with $5 in single odds. For the Converted Come Bet, you would place the 9 with $10. Simple as that. This is part of Grafstein's philosophy that instead of guessing what numbers will show up, you let the dice tell you.
Grafstein preaches sensible progressive betting, and a strong money management system. For example, whenever one of your points is hit, you press the bet by 50% and place the balance into the lock-up rack. (The railing of a modern day craps table has two chip racks. The front rack is reserved for your betting stake and the rear rack is your lock-up rack, where it is off-limits. When your betting stake is used up, count your lock-up rack. If the total is more than what you started with, you can pocket the difference or move up to the next size bet.)
My betting stake was $350. I bought in for $500. This is at the Ameristar casino, the only 4-star hotel in Black Hawk, which, as I discovered in my research, has a very generous comp program. Read about my comp strategy. I'm interested to see what kind of offers they send me after this 3-hour playing session! After going through my betting stake twice, I walked away with a profit of $102.
Any day you can walk away from a casino with some of their money in your pocket is a good day. I was very happy with the results. Playing the Converted Come Bet method for the first time went well, although re-reading Grafstein's instructions after the fact, I discovered I wasn't following his stop-loss rules correctly, which kept me from walking away with a greater profit.
Here are some of my observations.
Plan Your Bet and Bet Your Plan
Grafstein stresses that you should plan out your betting strategy before you reach the tables. Your bets should be made automatically based upon the roll of the dice. Grafstein describes it as being robotic in your actions. I like this approach. The less thinking I have to do during the excitement of a game, the better.
Grafstein stresses to only bet on a Qualified Shooter, which he defines as someone who has either hit their point or rolled a natural on their come out roll. Several times I experienced a shooter rolling 10+ times before hitting their point, and thereby becoming qualified. I've written about the 5-count method for qualifying a shooter, which I have had success with in the past. Waiting for a shooter to make their point can sometimes take a while if the shooter is on a roll, thus missing some betting (and winning) opportunities. I am going to modify this and define a Qualified Shooter as someone who has either hit their point or rolled 5 numbers.
Part of the Converted Come Bet method is to progress your wins approximately 50% after your number is hit. Mrs. Poorman pointed out that it seemed foolish to leave your bets working after several progressions until a seven showed and not profiting from it. I admitted that seemed like a flaw in Grafstein's method, but when I returned home and re-read his description of the Converted Come Bet, I realized I wasn't playing his method properly. Grafstein actually has stop-loss rules that would dictate that a player either reduce their bets or take them completely down, thereby preserving a profit. If I had employed his strategy properly, I would have walked away with some extra winnings.
Playing with Confidence
I know dice control is a controversial subject. Many people scoff at the idea of being able to affect the results of a roll of the dice, and there are others who swear by it. I have read enough to be intrigued by the idea, to the point of spending some time practicing dice control methods. I had some long rolls, but I don't know if it had anything to do with my attempts at dice control, or if it was just because I felt more confident. Either way, it had a positive effect on my shooting and I will continue with my study and practice of dice control methods. There were two other players that I could tell were control shooters by the way the set the dice and aimed their toss. They both had good rolls. Was it just confidence? Were they able to affect the outcome of the dice? Does it matter?
The Dice Doctor is a classic, however it is not a book for the novice player. It can best be appreciated by a more experienced player who has an intermediate knowledge of the game. You will be exposed to the wisdom of a man who lived the gambler's life, and you'll come away with some excellent betting methods and money management strategies. This is Poorman's favorite book.