Back about ten years ago we had a flashing banner at the top of the Axis Power Craps forum that read “Winning is at the Tips of your Fingers.” It’s absolutely true. But to win with those magic fingers, you have to take care of them.
Years ago I passed a tip along to the late, great Yoelevenman. For those of you who didn’t know Mike, in addition to being a great crapshooter he was a veteran cabinetmaker. As such, he had a laborer’s hands – rough and calloused from a lifetime of hard work, with fingers often encrusted in varnish. My suggestion to Mike – go out to the wood shop, find a piece of fine emery cloth and buff the tips of your fingers before tossing the dice.
Safe crackers have known this for years. By smoothing out those fingertips and removing a bit of dead skin your sense of touch improves. Suddenly you can “feel” the dice better. Mike tried it out, and son-of-a-gun if it didn’t work.
Precision shooters also have to keep their fingers dry during long hands. If your fingers get damp or sticky the dice may stick or drag when coming out of your grip, resulting in a “fatal pitch.” Here are a couple of tips to help out.
1. Apply a VERY light spray of anti-perspirant to your fingers before heading down to the casino. I suggest sticking with the powder type spray-on rather than the roll on or stick.
2. Refrain from picking up your beverage container with your shooting hand. Glasses pick up condensation and are sometimes sticky on the outside. Use your non-shooting hand.
3. Avoid placing bets or picking up chips with your shooting hand. Casino cheques are almost always sticky with body oil, etc. Handle them with your non-shooting hand.
4. Apply a small amount of talc to your fingertips before each hand. There are several ways to get the talc to the table with you. If you wear faded jeans you can simply rub a generous amount of talc into the fabric on your shooting hand side. Simply rub your hand on your pants leg to pick up a bit of powder. Some players put a small amount of powder into their pants pocket for the same reason. Any of these will work when handled discretely.
5. Carry a piece of blackboard or sidewalk chalk in your pocket. Simply take it out and roll it between your fingers to dry them and pick up a little chalk dust – which works just as well as talc to keep the dice from sticking.
6. Last of all, if you’ve forgotten to do all of the above you can always look for an ashtray under the rail and dust your fingertips with cigarette ashes. No, it’s not my favorite thing to do – but in a pinch it will work.
Most important of all – don’t forget to wash your hands frequently while in the casino. Leaving the table to make a washroom run when the dice make the turn and start your way is a good way to prolong “table time” without betting on the chicken feeders. And that is always a good thing.