Frank Scoblete reveals his secrets and takes you step-by-step through his dice control techniques: sets, stance, grip, throw, arc, backspin, landing, proper betting, and the 5-Count. Additionally, Frank exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly betrayals he experienced in 25 years playing with the world’s greatest dice controllers. Join the legendary Captain, the father of dice control. Marvel at the greatest dice controller of all time, the woman known as “The Arm” in the roaring days of Atlantic City! Meet today’s dice control stars: the Dominator, Jerry “Stickman,” Chris “Sharpshooter” Pawlicki, Howard “Rock ’n’ Roller,” Bill “Ace-10” Burton, Bob “Mr. Finesse,” John “Skinny,” Nick@Night, Billy “the Kid,” Daryl “No Field Five,” Arman “Pit Boss,” Mark “Dice Pilot,” Randy “Randman,” and Tim “Timmer.” Learn about PARR, the first dice control class created by controversial author Jerry Patterson. Enter the famous Golden Touch dice control school. Meet the great dice control teams: the Captain’s Crew, the Lee Brothers, the Five Horsemen, and the tag teams of Marilyn “the Goddess” and Charlie “Sandtrap;” Heavenly Kitten and Star Shine; Pat “Dr. Crapology” and Janis “Alligator Rose.” Meet the crooks, the cheats, the scoundrels, and the screw-ups of the dice-control world. Join Frank on his adventures inside the exclusive world of elite dice controllers.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I Am a Dice Controller
Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps
By Frank Scoblete
Triumph BooksCopyright © 2015 Frank Scoblete
All rights reserved.
Dice Control: The New Frontier
I met my future wife, the Beautiful AP, when I was part owner of The Other Vic Theatre Company on Long Island in New York. Responding to an ad I had placed, AP applied for the job of stage manager. I have to be truthful — I loved her at first sight. She got the job.
She was a good stage manager and a good actress too. After she did several shows with us, she auditioned for the role of depressed chorus girl Fran Walker in the play The Only Game in Town by Frank D. Gilroy. I was the lead, Joe Grady, a degenerate craps player with a good heart. It was a powerful, funny, intense play about lives first lost and then found and the life-changing power of love. It also showed the degenerative power of a gambling addiction. I guess another title of the play could have been Losers in Love!
I faced a big problem, though. I had no idea what I was talking about when it came to casino gambling. I'd have these really dramatic monologues about casino play, my good and bad streaks, and I wasn't sure what the words I uttered meant. The final monologue of the show, an uplifting David and Goliath story of one incredible night at the craps tables, had me emoting like crazy about ... what? I had no idea what the words meant.
This was in the mid-1980s. I had never been in a casino, nor had AP. We decided we'd better take a trip to Atlantic City to learn what casino gambling and craps were all about.
We went to the Claridge because I had a personal interest in the historic hotel. In November 1946 I was conceived there. The Claridge was built in 1930 and became known as "the Skyscraper by the Sea." The Claridge had an old-world charm. It also had the Captain and his high-rolling Crew.
Unquestionably the Captain had the most profound effect on my gambling life. Without his ideas and mentoring, I never would have become an advantage player or a successful writer of gambling articles and books.
We met the Captain at the Claridge. What the great Paul Keen was for me in blackjack (see my book I Am a Card Counter), the Captain was even more for me in craps. He was the master, the conductor, the genius of the game, and I learned more from him about craps and casino gambling than I ever learned from any book.
It just so happened that during that period of time, the Captain and his Crew of 22 high rollers called the Claridge their home. So in a sense I was conceived in the Captain's Atlantic City home — the very hotel that would launch my casino playing and writing career. My late father-in-law, Don Paone, would call that "divine providence."
The Beautiful AP and I walked through the casino. I noted some interesting facts about blackjack, and then we headed over to the craps tables. I observed what was going on and was totally confused by the multitude of bets a craps player could make. Chips were flying all over the place.
"Give me a yo!"
"How about snake eyes?"
"Hard 8, my man."
The dealers were moving like lightning — taking chips and putting them on various numbers and symbols, paying off winners, taking from losers. It was mind-boggling, and then mind-numbing, and I wondered how people could play what appeared to be the most confusing game I had ever seen. Even the layout looked like some space aliens had designed it.
The Captain was about 65 years old then, and he could see that I was totally confused. He also heard me say to the Beautiful AP, "I'll never learn this game. It's insane."
"Yes, you will," he said. "Most of the bets you are hearing players yelling, you can ignore. They are bad bets; I call them Crazy Crapper bets, and they should never be made. They sound good, but they stink. What you are hearing is a symphony in chaos."
That sold me: "a symphony in chaos." The Captain could have been a writer if he so desired.
The way the Captain played the game was anything but chaotic. Eschewing all the bets he called Crazy Crapper Bets — such as the Horn, the Whirl, the craps numbers, the Hardways, the Field, and others — the Captain instead focused on the Pass, Don't Pass, Come, and Don't Come.
"It isn't enough just to bet these bets, you must have some rhythm with the dice," he said. "Every bet has a casino edge on it, and to win you must overcome that edge. There is no other method to beat the casino at craps than good bets and rhythmic rolling."
The Captain firmly believed in this "rhythmic rolling" idea, the ability of some players to change the probabilities of the game based on the way they handled the dice. Today, we call such shooters dice controllers or dice influencers. He was convinced that if you made the right bets and threw the dice in a rhythmic way, the game could be beaten. In fact, he knew the game could be beaten because he had been doing just that — in a big way — for more than a decade.
Dice control critics want to know why there aren't dice controllers making millions playing the game. The critics present their arguments in a sarcastic way, not to win over those who are on the fence but merely to amuse those who already agree with them. The Captain made millions, as did Jimmy P. and several others that I know. The Captain was also a great teacher; he taught me everything I needed to know about advantage play.
Certainly, casinos try to protect themselves against dice manipulation by putting rubber pyramids against the back wall where the dice must hit. These pyramids supposedly randomize each and every throw. But for a good rhythmic roller, the pyramids just reduce the control; they do not fully randomize the results of most rolls.
"The pyramids are a nuisance, nothing more," the Captain said. "You can have some control even with them there. Your edge goes down when the dice hit them, but you can still have an edge. The casinos probably have no idea that their pyramids are not fully protecting them against rhythmic rollers."
The Captain also believed that many rhythmic rollers were not aware that they were changing the nature of the contest from one of randomness (which favored the casinos) to one of control (which favored the players). "If you take a look at rhythmic rollers, there are certain things that they all show. They carefully set the dice the same way each time. They aim. They take care with the speed of the dice, with the slowest speed being the best. If you throw the dice in a slow way, when those dice hit the back wall they will not scoot all over the layout as a regular dice thrower's will. They will tend to settle down in basically the same relationship with each other. It doesn't happen on every throw — many throws are random — but this happens with enough throws that some control is created. That control gives the player the edge if the player bets right."
Some rhythmic rollers in those days often said that they had great success at craps when they threw, never realizing that their "luck" was self-made because they were exerting some control over the outcome. In short, true skill could beat the game of craps. The Captain thought such rollers had helped him win since Atlantic City's Resorts Casino first opened its doors in 1978.
From my more than a quarter century of personal experience at the craps tables, I can see that everything the Captain said about rhythmic rolling was correct. In those heady days of Atlantic City's childhood, the Captain did the supposedly impossible — he won a lot more than $1 million. Naturally those wins did not come in one night, one month, or even one year. Having an advantage at craps does not mean you will win every time you play. Much like in blackjack, the edge a player has is small but it is an edge, and the longer you play, the better chance you will be ahead.
The Captain was well ahead when I met him that first night at the Claridge. He was well ahead of the casinos until the very day he died on February 10, 2010, during a huge snowstorm in New York City, where he lived. There is a myth that when great men are born or die, nature goes into turmoil — wild swings occur in weather, moving stars appear in the sky, and the dead walk the Earth. The Captain was a great man, and nature seemed to reflect his death during that great snowstorm.
When he was alive, the Captain had two strong factors in his favor: he was an excellent dice controller with a beautiful backspin and landing, and a truly soft throw, and perhaps even more important, he had his not-so-secret weapon, a woman everyone in his Crew called "the Arm." The Arm's roll was not a "slide" or "carpet roll," meaning a roll that stayed on the felt all the way down to the back wall. She had a unique lob of a toss, the dice going into the air without any spin, as if they were stuck in time and space, landing softly, and then skidding to the back wall, where they died. Indeed, despite the fact that I have seen some of the best of the modern dice controllers, no one has matched the Arm.
Still, who was this Captain, this greatest of all craps geniuses, the teacher who taught me everything and has influenced hundreds of thousands of craps players for more than a quarter of a century?
The Captain was born in 1922 in Brooklyn. His immigrant father was a fruit store owner whose common-law wife was a descendant of some of the earliest Americans. When his father and mother decided to officially get married in 1953, his mother was quite nervous and said, "I'm worried I might be rushing into this." At that time their five children were grown with families of their own. The Captain's life was a mixture of skill, chance, good fortune, and often the inability to see that others took advantage of his generous spirit and willingness to forgive transgressions against him.
He was a newspaper delivery boy in the 1930s and later volunteered for the Army Air Corps during World War II, during which he saw combat in the Philippines. During this combat period, his plane was shot down and he spent more than 10 days behind enemy lines, catching malaria, losing 33 pounds, hallucinating wildly, and carrying a dead companion around (he thought the guy was alive) before being rescued. He saw the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, sitting secure on the runway as the officers and airmen ate their meal before taking off on a mission that would see the first use of an atomic weapon.
It was during that time period that the Captain learned to play craps and started tinkering with controlling those cubes. The craps game the soldiers played was different from the casino game as it exists today, but the idea was basically the same: make your numbers; avoid the 7. The players booked their own games; there was no house. The Captain banked quite a high percentage of those games.
During the 1950s and 1960s, the Captain tried his hand at various businesses; some succeeded and some failed. He became the neighborhood go-to guy if you wanted a no-interest "loan" that you could skip out on without fear of having your head bashed in as would happen with a loan shark. That was the Captain. If you needed money, he would give it to you and tell you to pay it back when you could. Many of the people who soaked him never paid him a dime.
But one such act of generosity set the Captain on the course of earning enough money to establish himself in the bigger business circles in Brooklyn.
During the 1950s the Captain ran a television store, one of the first stores of its type in the neighborhood. He sold Admiral TVs, and he kept a television in the window so people walking by could see this new marvel of entertainment technology.
A young man named Johansen would get off the subway near the Captain's store. He'd watch the television in the window. Finally the Captain talked to the young man and told him to pick out whichever set he wanted and pay the Captain when he could.
In the mid-1960s, competition in the television field became intense as department stores started to carry TV sets as well — sets they could price much lower than an independent store such as the Captain's. The Captain then partnered up with a "good friend" in convenience stores spread throughout Manhattan. The friend turned out to be a crook and bankrupted the stores. He borrowed money from loan sharks and one day just vanished as the loan sharks were closing in on him ... and by association the Captain.
The Captain had no idea what was going on, but he did manage to pay back everything his vanished partner and "friend" had borrowed. But his career selling televisions and sundries was over.
"It was horrible, that betrayal by a friend I trusted," the Captain said. But the Captain paid the money his partner had borrowed from the mob. Some friends are only friends in name, not in deed — a sad fact of life. The Captain never saw that "friend" again.
He went to work for the airlines and decided to become a commercial real estate broker. He got his first property with his savings from his airline job and a loan. It was an empty lot in New York City. He put an advertisement in the paper showcasing the lot as a great property on which to build an office tower.
A few days after the ad appeared, the Captain got a call from an investor. The investor did not ask any questions about the property. He just wanted to know if the man selling it was the same man who used to own the television store by the subway station. The Captain said yes, and the man said — without even looking at it — that he would buy the property. The man on the phone was Johansen, who had been the young man to whom the Captain had given the television set many years before. Johansen had become a millionaire.
That sale launched the Captain on a successful career as a commercial real estate broker that he continued until his early eighties.
When Atlantic City's Resorts Hotel and Casino opened in 1978, the Captain took a trip down to the shore. That started him on his second career, that of the greatest craps player who ever lived. I'll let him tell the story of what took him from a gambler to an advantage player.
"My one great failing as a young man was playing the horses. I was a decent player, but still, during the course of my career I took a beating, as do just about all horse players. I quit cold turkey when I went into real estate, but I always had that urge to try my luck.
"I went down to Resorts and watched the [craps] games. The place was always packed with players. I didn't actually play at first. I made many trips and just watched.
"It took me a while of watching and then playing to realize that craps was a devastating game against most players. They would go up on numbers, make really bad bets, and often lose everything really quickly when a 7 showed.
"That's when I decided that I didn't want to go up on shooters right away — why take the chance? I started to wait a few rolls and finally I decided that five rolls would be sufficient before I risked my money. This idea ultimately became known as the 5-Count, and over the first half decade I tinkered with it in different ways. I figured the 5-Count eliminated maybe half the rolls." [NOTE: Mathematician Dr. Donald Catlin's study of the 5-Count showed it eliminated 57 percent of the random rolls, thereby allowing the 5-Counter to bet on just 43 percent of the random rolls.]
The Captain continued: "Simultaneously, I really studied the shooters. It didn't take me too long to see that the shooters who took care with the dice tended to have better rolls or to hit repeating numbers before sevening out. I started to look for these shooters and I started to call them 'rhythmic rollers' because I could see that they got into a kind of rhythm when they rolled.
"I also wondered why others were not noticing what I was noticing. I would look around the table, and most of the players just weren't watching closely. They were concerned with their bets for the most part. A shooter was just a shooter. Other players basically thought — if they thought at all — If the shooter has form, so what? Despite the fact that craps is a communal game with many players betting the same bets on the same shooter, it is still solitary because you are concerned with your own bets. Still it did surprise me the lack of focus other players had on the form of the shooters in the game.
"Of course, if shooters sevened out early, there was a lot of grousing on the part of the players who had lost money, but being miserable at a craps table is part of the fun for many players. I don't understand why it is fun for them, but it is.
Excerpted from I Am a Dice Controller by Frank Scoblete. Copyright © 2015 Frank Scoblete. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsPart I: The Captain,
1. Dice Control: The New Frontier,
2. The Captain, the Arm, and Jimmy P. vs. Atlantic City,
3. TropWorld: Screwing the Forest for Three Trees,
4. The Captain's 12 Precepts,
5. Satch and Me,
6. Jerry Patterson's PARR,
7. The Captain's Greatest Roll,
Part II: Gambling Strategies That Work, Gambling Strategies That Don't Work,
1. Proof Dice Control Works,
2. Proper Betting for Dice Controllers,
3. The Captain's 5-Count,
4. Bad Betting Choices,
5. The Essentials of Dice Control,
6. The 38 Steps,
Part III: Today's Dice Controllers,
1. Today's Dice Controllers,
2. The Five Horsemen,
3. Other Dice Control Teams,
4. Golden Touch Craps: The Good, the Bad, the Sad,
5. The Beginning of the End,
6. The Media, the Madness, and the Stalkers,
Part IV: Adventures,
1. The Greatest Rolls,
2. Dominator and Me,
3. Bye-Bye, Mississippi,