Craps - Dice Setting

Dice Setting
Dice Setting Styles. Photo Courtesy (Nevada Casino History)

Is it possible to pre-set the dice on a craps game to improve your odds? A number of authors and gamblers think so. Empirical data substantiated by experimentation and observation seems to be on the side of the believers, but the collective data is not nearly as strong as the scientific data proving that Basic Strategy is a viable option to improve your blackjack experience.

In blackjack, the actual odds of winning using Basic Strategy can be proven mathematically.

When you throw two six-sided dice a specific way to try and influence the outcome, only trial and observation can be used to substantiate any possible change in odds.

Sometimes, just rolling the dice is hard for craps beginners. There are several ways to toss the dice: forward and across your body with the palm up, underhanded with the palm down, and backhanded, such as with your right hand towards your right side. Much depends on where you stand on at the table. Players who believe in Dice Setting are more likely to toss the dice underhanded, holding them with just a few fingers.

The Idea Behind Dice Setting

Dice Setting is sometimes called axis shooting, or throwing on the axis, because that's what the whole idea behind gaining an edge comes down to. Imagine a pair of dice with a hole drilled through the middle as they are pushed together (like a paper towel roller). In the photo above, take a look at the green dice with the red spots.

This is a "seven's set, something used to improve the odds of throwing a seven. You might set this on the comeout roll from the pass line, or after a point is established on the don't pass line, depending on when you wanted that seven to come up.

Now imagine you take the dice in your right hand, thumb against the "2" side and 4th finder against the side of the "6" (which is a "five" you can't see in the photo).

Your index and middle finger are lightly against he front of the dice (which you also can't see) on the other side of the "3" and "4". This allows you the ability to swing your arm and wrist in a backhanded manner towards the far end of the table. When done correctly, the dice will stay together most of the way down the table, spinning backwards on that imaginary axis and landing just a few inches from the end of the table.Some dice setters try and toss the dice so they don't spin at all, simply staying together all the way down the table. That's good too.

The dealers will instruct you to "make the dice hit the end of the table," but if you are close, they'll be fine with your throw most of the time. Usually at least one die will bounce and hit the back-end. Fine. Now what happened? Probably, the dice bounced around and landed on fairly random numbers, but what if you keep those puppies on an axis and they totaled. Then the number would be 7. If they each bounced one hop to the right and left, the number would also be 7.

What The Odds Say

Currently, the house has an advantage on every wager at the craps game with the exception of the odds bet that can only be placed after a point is established (pass line and don't pass line odds).

However, suppose you used the "seven's set" on each comeout roll and used another set after establishing a point and didn't splurge on any other expensive bets around the horn.

The pink dice in the photo above show an "inside set". This is ideal to do two things: not throw a "7" and also to throw those inside points of 5, 6, 8 and 9. If you play only the pass line and take standard 3-4-5 odds (3x your pass line bet on 4 and 10, 4x your bet on 5 and 9, 5x your bet on 6 and 8), the house edge is a tiny .374% against. Now suppose you could influence just one roll extra to be a seven when you wanted, or to be a 5, 6, 8, or 9 when you wanted out of 100. You would be a winner! Is it possible? Only trial and error can tell.