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Dice Setting - How to Practice Shooting Craps

Learn Dice Control

When practicing, the most important thing you want to accomplish is to figure out what the dice are doing from the moment they leave your hand until the instant they strike the target. Any flaw in your technique will become magnified as the dice are in flight. Fortunately, you will be able to figure out what went wrong by observing what the dice do when they touch down. Then, it's simply a matter of fixing the problem.


The pyramids on the back wall of a craps table and the felt surface are meant to produce random dice rolls. They also make it harder for the shooter to tell what his or her dice were doing while in flight. When practicing, it is best to eliminate these elements to better understand what your dice are doing.

To accomplish this, many pros recommend throwing the dice 8 to 10 feet onto a bed. This should cut down somewhat on the randomizing elements and allow you to see what you're doing wrong (and doing right).

Aspiring precision shooters with a large bankroll may want to invest in a full-size craps table to practice on. But for the rest of us without thousands of dollars to throw away, you can easily improvise a throwing station and landing zone for next to nothing.

For a throwing station, try using a chair with its back towards you. Reaching over the chair to pick up the dice will simulate reaching over the craps table and will force you to keep your hand away from your body. A large box placed on the seat of the chair makes an excellent substitute from which to throw the dice. The playing surface of an actual craps table is about 28 inches off the ground, so try to simulate this if you can. The closer you can mimic real casino conditions, the more efficient your practice sessions will be. In a pinch, you can also use a table, desk, or any piece of furniture which might be handy.

You also need to improvise a landing zone for the dice. A bed is the surface which many pros recommend for practice sessions. You can also experiment with different coverings for the landing zone. In his book Wong on Dice, respected author Stanford Wong suggests that a shooter use a plush carpet remnant to allow the dice to roll true and stop quickly.

Throwing on a long, soft surface will allow you to better understand what the dice are doing while they are in the air. If you throw onto a hard surface, the dice will bounce around and make it much harder for you to form an opinion. It should also be noted that landing dice on a table or any other piece of furniture will tend to make small chips and craters on their surface. Keep this in mind before practicing on any valuable household item.

Tossing the dice on a bed is an excellent way to gauge your abilities. Even a minor adjustment to your grip will yield vastly different results. When doing so, it is suggested that you use the hardways set. This set has the 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, and 5-5 on all the rotating faces. This set is suggested for bed tosses because it makes it much easier to analyze the results of the toss.

Make sure to give your dice ample backspin when tossing them. While you won't need it when tossing onto a bed, you will need it in the casino. Practice sessions offer an excellent opportunity to develop good throwing habits.

If the dice tend to hit one another, it's likely that your thumb is staying in contact with the dice for too long. The remedy for this is to toss the dice faster and make sure that they leave contact with your thumb before the rest of your fingers.

Also, try not to worry about throwing 7s during bed tosses.. It is certainly likely that more of these will come up during practice sessions, but keep in mind that this should not translate to the casino. Continue to work on your technique and don't worry about the 7s.

A bed is a very forgiving surface, which should allow you to stop the dice on axis with a great deal of consistency. In other words, using the hardways set on a bed, you should almost never toss a die that lands on a 1 or 6 (unless, of course, they hit an object while in flight). If, however, you find that you are frequently tossing 1s and 6s, then you need to work on grip, alignment, and delivery. When you can stop on axis almost every time, you are then ready to move to the next step of practice.

Next, you want to practice throwing the dice so that they only rotate around the left-right axis. To do so, you need to throw the dice so that axes of rotation stays horizontal from the time the die leaves your hand until the moment it lands on the table. This is a very difficult thing to do, and it might take you literally months of practice to get this right. But if you want to be a precision shooter, it is a facet of the game which must be mastered.

If you find that you are having a hard time following the flight of both dice, try concentrating on only 1 die. You still need to throw both the dice, but try only watching the left die on some throws and only the right die on other throws.

You may also want to pay careful attention to how the dice bounce. To do so, you don't even need to set the dice or be concerned with what numbers come up. The only thing you need to worry about is which direction the dice roll when they hit the table. Dice that hit on a right corner will bounce and roll to the left. Dice that hit on a left corner will bounce and roll to the right. You want both dice to bounce straight ahead after they touch down. Watch this carefully and make adjustments based on your findings.

Another way to test if you have control over rotation is to glue 2 dice together with the faces aligned. Toss the double-die and watch the results. If you have the necessary control, then the die will only rotate about its left-right axis. If the die flips and flops upon landing, then you need to work more on your alignment and release.

Since some craps tables are different lengths, it is also a good idea to make practice throws of various distances. This will help you better prepare for the different playing conditions which you might encounter from one casino to the other.

In a real game of craps, you may find that chips will be laying near the area where you plan to throw the dice. In these cases, it is very important to be accurate, because hitting the chips will result in a completely random result. Practice throwing the dice between stacks of chips or other such obstacles. With sufficient practice, you can greatly increase the accuracy of your throws.

Tossing dice all day in a casino can sometimes be a tiring experience, especially when a lot of money is on the line. If you expect to be throwing in a casino when tired, then you should practice throwing at home while you are tired. If you plan to drink at the casino, you might also experiment a bit in the privacy of your own home. You may quickly find that it's best not to consume alcohol and try to throw dice at the same time.

Practice makes perfect, and these methods will enable you to become better at the various elements of dice control. Set some time aside each week to work on the various steps mentioned above. Take things slow and work on only a few things at a time. When you feel that you have mastered these elements, move on to a few more. It may take several months of practice, but the more you practice the more that you will notice your overall game begin to improve.

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