The first time I met Gunny he shot me the finger. Well, that’s not exactly true. Actually he showed me his middle finger, where he’d been shot. Back when he’d owned a gun store a customer had brought in an unloaded pistol. Yes, you’ve heard all about that gun. Sure enough, as the customer slid the pistol across the counter the gun discharged and the bullet more or less shot the end of Gunny’s middle finger off. Really, the end of the finger was still there. It was just the bone from the first knuckle joint to the fingertip and his fingernail that were missing. What was left was just a tube of meat I told him amounted to a “Flubber finger.” He wanted me to feel of it. I thought that was kind of weird. He said he had no feeling in it to speak of and it was essentially worthless for any of the things you need a middle finger for – except perhaps for flipping someone off. But I digress.
Gunny wanted to learn to influence the dice and he did not want to learn to toss with his “off” hand. So, I fixed him up with a “grip bar” to train his index and ring fingers to grip the dice from muscle memory, leaving the Flubber finger to just rest in between the two and “stabilize” the dice. Honestly, I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for his success at this effort. I did not, however, know just how determined he was to make it work.
I next saw Gunny at my local casino about six months later. In that six months he’d become one of the best “point shooters” I’d seen. A point shooter, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is a guy who doesn’t concern himself with tossing long hands to make his money. Instead he focuses on making passes. Instead of playing $220 inside he’s the guy with a $25 Pass Line bet and $250 odds. To say I was impressed would be an understatement.
Over the years Gunny developed a number of betting strategies, but the one he preferred was based on simple casino math. A random roller can expect on average an 8.3 roll hand. Gunny knew his SRR put his average hand up around 11 rolls, so he KNEW he could beat that 8.3 roll average shooter. But no need to get greedy. He liked the sound of the number eight, so he designed a betting strategy around it. It revolved around playing in casinos that offered at least 10X odds. His play looked like this:
Initial bet: $25 Pass Line – $50 – $100 Free Odds (initially)
$260 or $270 Across
Gunny’s play was simple. After the point was established he set the dice and tossed for eight decisions. The majority of the time he collected on all eight of those decisions. Then he would take his Place and Buy bets down and increase his Free Odds bet to $250 and focus on bringing back the point. I seldom saw him fail.
I lost track of Gunny through the years. He played professionally in Vegas for several years, but I heard his health finally gave out on him. He was in poor health even when I was playing with him – a combination of a poor ticker and a life of hard living. I suspect he’s moved on to that craps game we all aspire to reach some day – but none of us are in a hurry to get to. I imagine he’s standing there now – straight out, where he liked to shoot from – trying to get the cocktail server to feel his Flubber finger. Or maybe he’s just flipping somebody off.