So You Want to be a Craps Pro

My first piece of advice I have for wannabe Craps Pros is simple.  Don’t give up your day job.   As the Mad Professor once said, “Gambling is a tough way to make an easy living.”  Most of the pros I know would agree.  But if you insist on taking your shot at playing professionally I strongly suggest you start with a little introspection and by developing an action plan for success.  Vegas is full of players who showed up thinking they’d be professional gamblers but failed.  Guys and gals who seek out the lowest limit games.  All have the same haunted look in their eyes.  Desperate souls in search of a win sufficient to cover the next stake, buy a little gas for the old beater and maybe afford them the chance to eat out and get a burger AND fries.  Trust me, if you’re going out of your way searching for a $1 – $3 double odds game then you’re not a craps pro, regardless what you think.  You’re probably not even an advantage player.  You’re just another craps junkie who doesn’t have the sense to know when he should give it up and go home.

With that said, here are some of the things you might want to consider as you undertake this task.

1.  Understand why you play the game.  What is it about casino craps that makes you willing to spend hours at a time standing at a dice table (or sitting at a blackjack or poker table)?   Most players take up gambling for certain reasons, but eventually find they are playing for different reasons.   Entertainment, camaraderie, and the chance to win money are all given as reasons to play the game. But for the majority of craps players, it’s not really about winning or losing money.  The money is only how we keep score.  Craps is really about the emotional highs and lows you experience and learning to control them.   As you master the game you learn the ugly truth about your personal weaknesses.  Hopefully you’ll discover some inner strengths along the way and learn how to use them to become successful. What do you want from the game of craps? What do you want from yourself?   The first step is to discover your personal motives.

2.  Formulate a plan to achieve your purpose.   The first time I drove from Dallas to Las Vegas I had to have a map.  But in order to use a map it’s not enough just to know your destination.  You also have to know where you are starting from.  Without that information I might have ended up in San Diego or Salt Lake City instead of Vegas.  And even with a map, there were several routes to choose from.  Some were shorter, some longer.  Some were scenic, some more tedious.   So before I left Dallas, I formulated a plan that would get me where I was going in the easiest, most enjoyable way.   I’ve traveled that road so many times  now that I know exactly which gas stations I’m going to stop at, which restaurants I’ll dine at, and what hotels I’ll camp out at along the way.  The same should be true with your craps play.  Formulate a plan that you will enjoy executing on a daily/weekly basis.   If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it.  Develop good habits and repeat them. And remember, the mental rewards come in the process of accomplishing, not in the accomplishment itself.

3.  Measure your results along the way.  There’s an old saying in the business world:  What gets measured gets done.  When you achieve your goal, whether it is a high sevens-to-rolls ratio, a sixty-number hand in the casino, or something as simple as a modest $100 win, you can then decide if that is all you want. If you want more, you simply set another goal.  And remember, all precision shooters have sessions where they toss the dice well and still lose money, or toss the dice poorly and win big.  Which scenario do you think would provide the most enjoyment?  Thinking that only a perfect on-axis toss will bring you the most enjoyment is the route to failure. To improve your toss and play better is an ongoing process that begins with enjoying yourself, which ultimately results in improved play.

4.  Acknowledge and reward your success.  If your goal is to win a particular amount of money and you fail, acknowledge that the training you put into that effort was still successful.  You might not have hit your win objective for that day, but your efforts will lead you to another, perhaps bigger win.  Remember, you cannot control every factor at the table.  You can only put forth your best effort, which ultimately makes you a winner.

5.  Don’t let “friends” and “out of town” guests change your game plan.  You don’t have to play with every fellow forum-member that comes to town.  And if you do play with a few of them remember that you don’t have to change your betting strategy to accommodate them.  Stick with your win goals, loss limits, and overall strategy.  If it’s not working on that day – end the session and survive to play another day.

Now is the time to program your craps game for the future. Your current thoughts – the crap between your ears – will create that future. Give your brain the tools it needs to get the results you want.

Remember, in order to set good goals, you must be able to measure your success; the goals must be meaningful to you; they must be under your control, they must be positive, and they must be reachable.

Pro Gambler’s Game Plan:

1.         Set goals that you truly want to achieve.

2.         Set a reasonable date for achieving your goals

3.         Set interim “check-points” to measure progress.

4.         Make an action plan for each goal listing the steps you area going to take to achieve it.

5.         Set a pace that is comfortable so you won’t feel any stress or anxiety trying to achieve the goal.

6.         Acknowledge the smallest successes. If you take care of the small goals, the larger ones will just happen.

7.         Avoid playing with local friends and out of town guests if that is going to change your regular playing routine.  It will only cost you money.

8.         When you accomplish the goal, congratulate yourself on the success – then set a new goal.

Last of all, remember to watch your thoughts, they become words.  Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits.  Watch your habits, they become character.  And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.  There are a lot of players in Vegas who have lost their character along the way.  Don’t be one of them.