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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask the Slot Expert: Frank Scoblete, charlatan?

20 July 2016

Comment: You, Mr. Robison, are a smart man capable of rational thought and have an exceptional ability to explain all the ins and outs of slot machines and how they work. You explain that there is absolutely no way to manipulate a slot machine to influence the outcome of a spin. However (Isn’t there always a however or a but?) I firmly believe that you are simply incorrect in one of the comments that you make once in a while.

It’s about craps, not slots, but you do mention it when you describe the possible ways to influence the outcome in some table games. You state that it is possible to change the outcome in craps IF you are a dice controller. Mr. Scoblete (The Charlatan) says (and sells for profit) the theory that by taking his course and practicing, practicing, practicing throwing the dice a certain way, you can influence the outcome of the numbers that are rolled.

Such hogwash.

Your penchant for detail and analysis should bring you to the conclusion that it just isn’t going to happen. Here’s what Mr. Scoblete says: when you throw the dice, grip them a certain way, make them hit the surface of the table a certain way, make them hit the backboard of the crap table where the pyramid–like structures that come to a point are, and the dice will fall back on the surface of the table with a far larger percentage of CERTAIN numbers than usual.

The dice hitting that point on the backboard exactly the same on each and every throw to produce certain numbers is just not going to happen. I firmly believe that no one, and that includes illusionists, scientists, mathematicians or whatever profession you may choose to name, can make it happen by taking his course, learning what to do, and practicing how to do it.

I corresponded with Mr. Scoblete a few years ago and he answered me and of course told me I was wrong. The proof is in the pudding. If his scheme was sooooooooo good, he would not have to offer the course for profit and he could make all the money he wanted at the craps table by using his own system.

I guess I’m asking you not to state that dice controllers can influence the outcome on the craps table in your columns. The difference between you two is that you tell your readers exactly how slot machines work and that the outcome cannot be influenced in any way. The Charlatan tells his readers that he can show them how to influence the outcome at the craps table –- for a fee of course.

Thank you for listening.

Response: First, full disclosure: I am founding member of Golden Touch Craps. And it's well known that Frank and I have worked on a number of projects together.

I may have some of the details wrong, but I believe I have the main points correct.

Frank has been writing about advantage play craps for nearly three decades now. He and his wife, Alene, wanted to research gambling for a play they were appearing in (or producing). On one of their research trips to Atlantic City, they met the Captain and his crew.

The Captain and some his crew members were able to make a long-term profit playing craps by using a technique they called rhythmic rolling. Instead of being chicken feeders — rolling the dice around in their hands and thoughtlessly tossing them down to the other end of the table — they took care with their rolls. They set the dice a certain way. They held the dice a certain way. They tossed the dice a certain way. They aimed for the same point each roll.

Frank's association with The Captain lead to a number of books: Beat the Craps out of the Casinos, The Captain's Craps Revolution, The Craps Underground -- to name a few.

I remember discussing dice control with Frank. I said that a dice throw is just an exercise in ballistics. If we knew all the variables involved in the throw — the orientation of the dice, how they are held, how high off the table they're tossed, how forcefully they're thrown, where they're thrown — we could calculate what faces would appear when the dice stopped.

Isn't this similar to what's done with supercomputers today to predict weather? I'm old enough to remember when a weather forecast was for three days. That was how far in advance they could reasonably accurately predict the weather with the technology available.

As more and more variables influencing weather were identified and more and more processing power became available, the forecasts increased to five days, seven days, and now 10 days.

If we know the variables involved in the throw and we can get values for the variables, we can solve the equation.

Now, what if we took some of the variables in a dice throw and made them constants? What if we set the dice the same way every time. We held the dice the same way every time. We threw the dice the same way every time.

I really shouldn't be so definitive in those statements. Dice controllers try to turn variables into constants but, being human, it's difficult for them to be 100% accurate 100% of the time.

Fortunately, it doesn't take perfection to turn the tables. Dice controllers still generate a frequency histogram with their throws, but it looks a little different from the pyramid of craps.

The statistic dice controllers like to brag about is their sevens-to-rolls ratio (SRR) or the average number of rolls between sevens. (I think this should really be called the rolls-to-sevens ratio, but SRR is the accepted terminology.) Chicken feeders' throws generate the pyramid of craps and their SRR is 6. There are 36 possible outcomes and six of them are seven.

Dice controllers try to increase their SRRs. Dr. Don Catlin has done some analysis of increasing the SRR. He found that if you could increase your SRR to 7, you have an 8.333% advantage over the house when buying the 6 or 8.

You said no one can do it. Every Golden Touch instructor must demonstrate proficiency with the techniques before they can teach. Don Catlin took the course and is a believer. So is Stanford Wong.

The proof is in the pudding. Read the books and articles by Frank and others about long, profitable rolls by dice controllers. I know Frank doesn't lie and I have personally witnessed some of his profitable rolls.

Frank did make all the money he wanted with dice control So much so, in fact, that he has been banned from playing craps in some casinos.

So why does Frank sell the information? Because he is a teacher, both by nature and by past profession. He wants to share his knowledge with others. And, like any teacher, nothing makes him happier than to see his students master the material. That's why he's written so many instructional books. That's why he helped develop the Golden Touch Craps courses.

Don't confuse dice control with sleight-of-hand. Dice control is not calling out a number and then throwing it. Leave that to Penn and Teller. Dice control is only a set of techniques a shooter can use to try make certain numbers appear more (or less) frequently than the pyramid of craps dictates.

Athletes train to try to swing a golf club or swing a bat or throw a bowling ball in particular ways to get the results they want. They're just turning variables into constants. Why not dice shooters?

I'll end with a quote from Rhythmic Rolling and the Gambler's Jamboree by Don Catlin on this site.

Controlled shooting is a reality; I've seen it with my own eyes. If you are willing to put in the time and effort you too can be a controlled shooter.

Thanks for the kind words about my abilities and thanks for listening to what I've learned and seen about dice control.


John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots