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HOME > STRATEGY > Strategies & Tips > Dice control versus card counting at blackjack

Dice control versus card counting at blackjack

14 November 2012

By Frank Scoblete

Most casino blackjack players know all about card counting from various (and mostly inaccurate) movies and from the boatload of books that have washed in and out of the public’s consciousness through the years. Of the approximately nine million blackjack players scratching the felt at casinos all over America and Canada, probably half have read something in magazines or online web sites such as Casino City Times or in books such as my "Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge!" Or they have seen a documentary or two on television.

The fact that so few blackjack players employ card counting has more to do with the difficulty of keeping the count and betting into that count properly than it does with a belief in whether or not it works. Just about all casino gamblers know that card counting works. And all casinos do too.

To the casinos, card counting is looked at as a severe threat. Some casinos are truly and overly paranoid about it. Even in mega-casinos where thousand-dollar players gamble their bankrolls away, a card counter coming in with average bets of $100 will be unceremoniously banned and some will even be threatened with arrest for trespassing should they ever come back to that casino. Over the years there have been many horror stories related by card counters about how they have been treated when caught.

Dice control, on the other hand, is not known by many casino gamblers, nor is it fully understood by those who have heard about it, and while craps players are becoming somewhat aware of it, most of them don’t see how it can work and/or they just don’t want to put in the time and effort to learn the proper techniques.

Learning card counting is somewhat difficult except for “Speed Count”; while learning dice control requires effort, discipline and constant practice. Like card counting, successful dice control requires proper betting. Of the two, dice control is more difficult but it is also a way to get a higher edge against the casino than a player can get with card counting.

Are the casinos as paranoid about dice control as they are about blackjack? Some are, but most aren’t. Strangely enough, the most paranoid are the casinos where the dealers, boxmen and floor people make it a point, often a strong point, to dismiss the technique to the shooter as something that “doesn’t work” and then go on to be totally obnoxious to those individuals who try to control the dice. In such cases, actions speak louder than words. If some casino honcho tells me that dice control doesn’t work, I wonder why he doesn’t tell those other players at the table who are winging the dice that their shots don’t work either? Methinks such folks protest too much.

Ascertaining whether a shooter really has the skill to beat the game of craps is not as easy as discovering if a player is a card counter. In card counting you can tell someone is actually doing this even when he is losing. The count goes up, meaning it favors the players, and everyone at the table has an edge, whether they know it or not. You can count and see this. The eye-in-the-sky guys can count and see this. Winning and losing is irrelevant in card counting. So if the casino sees a player always increasing his bet when the count is favorable and always lowering his bet when the count is unfavorable, then whether he is winning or losing doesn’t matter – he is counting cards.

But this scenario is not so in dice control. How can a casino boss know someone can actually control the dice? Just watching a shooter shoot, no matter how nice the throw looks, isn't enough. A player setting the dice and trying to look good is totally meaningless information. The dice controller must win over time at a given casino and that casino has to see strong evidence of this in their reports. How much time does it take to know a would-be dice controller is an actual dice controller? That’s the interesting question and probably unanswerable question.

All dice controllers have good sessions and bad sessions, as do all craps players; so just a few visits now and again to the same casino won’t give him away. But constant visits, many over the years, will surely ferret out those who do indeed have control. They will be long-term winners. You just can’t hide your wins from a casino.

The dice controller is more in line with an athlete in a sport such as golf and tennis. I prefer to use baseball as the analogy. I think dice controllers are 300 hitters, maybe winning three times every 10 times they get the dice, so the casinos see them lose plenty of times. How many sessions does a dice controller have to play before a casino gets a true read on him? It certainly has to be more than just a few.

The argument that a dice controller is really changing the nature of the game is an argument that can't really be proven by the casino – unless a player goes too often to the same casino. But yes, some dice controllers, perhaps through greed and overlong exposure, have been banned from the houses of Lady Luck. These bannings are nowhere near as plentiful as the bannings of blackjack players and probably never will be.

My advice to players concerning both card counting and dice control is simple: It is better to play with an edge because let’s face it – winning is the most fun!

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete
Frank  Scoblete
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best-selling gaming author in AmericaFrank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books include Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win! and Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players.

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