Point Shooting

During a live session at one of the craps clinics we did back in 2004, I was fortunate enough to get in on a hand tossed by a point-shooter. For those of you who may have missed out on my earlier discussions on this topic, a point shooter is a player who focuses on tossing naturals on the Come Out, and bringing back established points quickly rather than worry about tossing long hands with lots of numbers. The reasoning behind this is fairly simple. Why water down your returns by spreading your action all over the layout when you can focus on parlaying Pass Line winners and concentrating your action on what is arguably the best bet on the table – the Free Odds bet. Of course, you have to be skilled enough to bring back those winners to make it work.

Since that day in 2004 when I witnessed this phenomenon handling the dice there have been many “carnival” aspects added to the game.  The Fire Bet and the Feature Bet are a couple that come to mind.  And these have quickly become favored layouts for dice influencers.  Why?  Because suddenly they can see the benefit of being a point shooter as well.

The first step to becoming a point shooter is learning how to toss naturals on the Come Out. There are three primary dice pre-sets most point shooters use to accomplish this. As is always the case, some are stronger than others.

First is the All Sevens set with the 6-1 6-1 on the side axis. The dice show 5-2, 4-3, 2-5, and 3-4. This is a very powerful set and my preferred set for the seven. There are four combinations on this axis that add up to seven. And if the seven doesn’t roll, there’s a good chance you will establish a six or an eight as the point. There are three ways each to make the six and eight on this axis. Equally important, there are no losers on this axis since the sixes and ones are on the sides. When tossed on axis, you will never roll a craps number with this set.

The second Come Out set you might consider is the All-Sevens version of the Straight Sixes pre-set. With this set the faces are showing 6-1, 5-2, 1-6, and 2-5. The 4-3 4-3 are on the side axis. This set also contains four combinations on axis that add up to seven. But only two combinations each add up to six and eight, and there are no fives or nines on this axis. There is one way each to make the four and ten. The kicker on this set is the Horn. There is one way each to make the two and twelve on this set, and two ways each to make the ace-deuce yo.

For the “action” player, this set opens up all sorts of opportunities. One strategy might be to lay against the five or nine on the Come Out in an effort to lock up an additional win on the seven. Another might be to incorporate a three-way-craps, horn, or world bet in the mix. My advice? Stick with the simplicity of the first set we talked about and forget about the prop action.

The last potential Come Out set is the All Sevens variation of the Parallel Sixes pre-set. Like the other All Sevens sets, there are four combinations of the dice that add up to seven on axis. In this case it’s the 6-1, 4-2, 1-6, and 3-4. There is only one way each to make the six and eight on this axis. The outside numbers, the four, five, nine and ten, can each be made two ways. There are no ace-deuce yo’s on axis, however, there is one way each to make the two and twelve. This set’s only practical application is for Seven-Out attempts when you are shooting from the Don’ts and your point is six or eight. That is the only time I recommend using it.

Let’s assume you’re playing a $10 game. On the first toss you roll a seven and win $10. What do you do next? My recommendation is to follow the late Sam Grafstein’s advice and to parlay the first natural. “Stack it, don’t rack it,” is the stick call. Your second bet is $20 on the Pass Line. Now let’s assume we’re down at Perfect World Casino and you complete that parlay by tossing a second Come Out seven. What’s your next move? Lock up the $20, regress your Pass Line bet back down to $10, and begin another game with a $30 profit in the rack.

On your third toss let’s assume you establish the nine as your point. Now what? Rather than placing all of the inside numbers and diluting the power of our action, let’s follow the stickman’s lead again and bet the “play side five.” Drop $20 and tell the dealer to place the five, then take $20 odds on your point of nine. Now it’s time to snipe out some numbers.

As with the Come Out series, there are three different dice sets you can utilize to snipe out the five and nine. The Crossed Sixes, V-2, and V-3 ALL have two ways each to roll the five and nine when tossed on axis. However, only one of these arrangements can be set so that primary hits on all on-axis faces add up to five and nine. It’s the 5/9 variant of the V-3.

Take a pair of casino dice and set them in front of you. Now set the left die with the 6 facing up and the 4 facing you. Set the right die with the 3 facing up and the 5 facing you. The 2-5 6-1 will be on the lateral faces of the dice. Fives and nines will be showing on all four of the “action” faces. Any primary hit will yield a payoff.

Now let’s finish the hand. Remember, we’re playing at “Perfect World Casino,” so our shooter is going to toss a place bet winner on the five right off the bat. The dealer pays him $28 for that $20 bet and the shooter says, “Take me down on the five.” At this point he has $30 action on the layout – a Pass Line wager with $20 free odds. He’s locked up $30 from his Come Out parlay completion, so his action is completely “paid for.” Even better, he has a $28 profit in the rack. At this point, he cannot lose on this hand. He tosses a couple of more on-axis numbers, the eleven, the six, and an off-axis hard ten. It doesn’t matter. His focus is entirely on bringing back the nine. Finally, on the fifth toss after the Come Out, the nine shows 5-4. “Pass line winner – back line skinner,” is the call. The dealer pays the shooter $40 for his line bet and odds, increasing his total win for the series to $98. Then the dice return to the shooter to start the process all over again.

Point shooting is not for everyone. There’s something to be said for spreading your action across the board, locking up a couple of hits, then regressing or coming down to lock up a profit. On the other hand, for the skilled shooter concerned about catching heat as a result of long hands at the tables, sniping out points is not a bad way to go. It allows the shooter to get in and out of the casino with a minimal amount of face time with the pit, while still locking up a healthy profit. If that fits into your game plan, it is not a bad way to play.