It’s all in the wrists!

Dec 12, 2005 12:53 AM

Is it possible to grip and throw the dice to your advantage? There’s a small group of craps shooters who adhere to the notion that they can "control" their tosses, at least to some extent.

Here’s how they do it.

Your dice gripping procedure should begin as soon as the stickman begins to push the dice toward you. In order to produce the desire results, you need to hold the dice in a certain manner so they leave your hands properly and stay together.

First, just look at the dice and notice which numbers are facing up. Then imagine, in your mind, exactly what to do to the dice to turn them into the position you want them to be.

If you are tipping the dealers, you can ask if they will return them to you "all sixes" or some other easy to manipulate position. You should buy a pair of dice (regulation size) and practice with them at home, so you can set them (after watching their return from the stickman) in about two seconds, so you don’t hold up the game. Most boxmen will complain if your set takes longer and you really want to have the dealers on your side and not fighting you every inch of the way.

When the current shooter sevens out you should start watching what the stickman does. He will return the used dice to the bowl and choose five dice and push all of them toward you.

If, for example, you are looking for a hard way set, you should look for two dice with 2, 4, 6 facing up so you can set them easier. Or course, after you establish a point you will have only one pair returned each time so you need to set them quicker.

One easy method to set the dice quickly is to remember that opposite sides add up to seven. So if they are returned to you with 1’s and 2’s showing, you know that 6’s and 5’s are on the opposite sides. You also need to remember to use one hand only, and if your other hand even remotely hovers near the dice you will really invite heat from the boxman, and he might even take the dice away if he thinks you’ve touched them with both hands.

Once you can flip the dice quickly, you are ready to grip the dice properly in a firm manner to ensure that they travel together in parallel paths, at the same time.

In order for this to occur, your finger pressure must be equalized all over so the force is symmetrical. Depending on the size of your fingers (and whether you’re male or female), our grip might be different than mine, or another shooter’s. There are many grips and each has a name, like "three finger top," four finger diagonal," "five finger top" and several others. My own personal favorite is called the three finger front grip.

After the dice are set, you place your second, third and fourth fingers along the upper ridge of the front dice, and your thumb on the upper ridge in between the two back sides. Your pinky is tucked away and not used. You would make sure the dice are perfectly symmetrical and then toss them with a slight back spin, so they land and bounce once around the pass line, and, still spinning, just glance off the rubber backboard and come to rest the way you want them to.

Gripping, setting and throwing takes quite a bit of practice, and you need to practice before you play, perhaps on a low limit table or even in your hotel room. But it’s worth it! Once you learn how, it becomes a real skill that you will always use whenever you play!