?Controlled shooters take too long to deliver the dice and that?s why the casinos get annoyed.? You hear this sentiment, or some version of it, from casino boxmen and women, pit people, dealers and even from controlled shooters themselves. Sharpshooter, author of Get the Edge at Craps: How to Control the Dice (Bonus Books, $14.95), cautions his students to ?set the dice in two seconds,? and Dominator, the man with the Golden Touch heartily agrees with that two-second estimate. So do I. And so, I figure, do the casinos. Indeed, I?ve sometimes rushed my shots because I thought I was taking too long to deliver the dice.
I?m not alone in this. Many controlled shooters fear that if they take too much time with the dice, the casinos might get really annoyed and ban them from setting their numbers as they wish. I never want such a fate to befall me or any other controlled shooter at craps.
So, the other day I was talking to the Captain, the greatest craps player of all time, and discussing this issue of ?taking too long? with the dice and he said: ?How do you know controlled shooters take longer to deliver the dice than random rollers? How long is a craps roll on average? How long does it take for a random shooter, once the dice are put in front of him, to get a decision? From point A, the pushing of the dice to the shooter, to point B, the two dice stop and the stickman calls out the number, what is the average length of time? Is there a difference between the controlled shooter and the random rollers in total time elapsed??
I had no idea. The Captain thought there might a small difference. I figured there would be a big difference. But neither of us knew for sure. In fact, neither of us could even make an educated guess at the answer.
As far as I know, no scientific study has ever been done concerning the difference between, say, careful shooters (defined as anyone who sets the dice and takes time with his or her rolls) and careless shooters (defined as those who pick up the dice, shake them, kiss them, blow on them, talk to them, promise them improbable things and then wing them down the layout where they bounce, bump and bang all over the place). So I decided to do one myself. Here?s what I found, checking my watch as I watched the shooters:
There was very little difference between careful and careless shooters from starting point A to decision point B. The average careful roller takes between five and ten seconds from the time the dice are passed to him until a decision is rendered. The average careless roller takes between four and ten seconds.
I took 10 shooters that I considered careful rollers (including such accomplished rhythmic rollers such as Dominator, Sharpshooter, Howard ?R&R? Newman, Bill Burton, Mr. Finesse, Billy the Kid, and the Captain himself) and 10 who were careless shooters, and I then tried to answer the following questions:
1. When the dice are pushed to the shooter and the stickman takes the stick away, how long does it take the dice to get into the air?
2. Once the dice leave the shooter?s hand, how long before a decision is rendered?
3. What?s the total elapsed time for the event?
Here?s what I found: There was only a two second difference between careful and careless rollers in the initial stages of the shoot. Careful rollers took two to four seconds, the actual setting of the dice, before they shot. Careless rollers just picked up the dice. Most of the careless rollers, however, shook the dice in their hands from two to three seconds, whereas the careful shooter, once the dice were gripped, shot them. So, believe it or not, the delivery stage, while slightly longer for the careful shooter, was not that much longer. The biggest difference I discovered concerned some careless shooters who never bothered to actually pick up the dice but just took them and flung them a nanosecond after they touched them. This accounted for the one second overall difference in the lower average time for careless shooters on the figures above.
However, because the careful shooters? throws were soft, when the dice arrived at the back wall, they tended to die faster than the dice of the careless shooters, whose dice, propelled by much greater force, took extra time to settle down.
If we were to take a typical roll, here?s what it looks like from both a careful and careless shooters? viewpoints and the range of times we could expect to see:
Dice are delivered by stickman:
Careful shooter sets the dice (2-4 seconds).
Careful shooter aims (1 second).
Careful shooter?s dice arc and gently land -- decision (2-3 seconds).
Time range: 5 ? 8 seconds
Dice are delivered by stickman:
Careless shooter picks up the dice (1 second).
Careless shooter rattles dice in his hand (2-4 seconds).
Careless shooter wings them down the felt ? decision (2-3 seconds).
Time range: 5 ? 8 seconds
Note that while the overall time is the same, the pattern of each event is different. Also, all the controlled shooters I watched shot from stick right or stick left, or once removed from either. The random rollers shot from everywhere. There might be a second gained or lost there, but I couldn?t factor that in.
So, based on my admittedly highly unscientific study (yes, I just used my wrist watch, and the number of people I ?clocked? were not much of a sampling), I?d say that controlled shooters don?t have to worry about ?taking too much time.? They don?t slow the games down; they just try to slow down the casino?s profits on them when they roll. And who could possibly get upset by that?
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