Last Update: Aug 18, 2009
One of the most frequently asked questions I get, and certainly the most frequent about craps, is whether dice setting is for real. Publicly until now I said I never saw enough evidence either way and had no position. Privately I was more skeptical. However in May 2004 Stanford Wong, whom I have enormous respect for, attended a 4-day seminar on dice setting and as a result reversed his position and gave what I think could be said is an endorsement. Shortly afterward I saw him at a social function and asked him about it. He obviously did believe that some people can influence the dice but that is was very difficult and something few have mastered.
Beau Parker Experiment
Wong's comments inspired me to take dice setting more seriously. I had previously been in communication with Frank Scoblete and Larry Edell on the subject, suggesting that I be allowed to observe some top dice setters for myself. Both were agreeable but due to scheduling problems nothing ever came of it. Until recently I also lived within about one mile of dice coach Beau Parker so there was no good reason to keep avoiding the experiment. So after playing phone tag we finally met on July 22 with three other dice setters at the Bellagio.
Before starting Beau explained that dice setters are not able to control every single throw but only influence the dice towards certain numbers. At a 3-4-5x odds table the house edge is only 0.374% so it only takes a slight influence of the dice to overcome that house advantage. However a slight influence could take thousands of rolls to become obvious over the normal randomness of the game. So we both agreed one session was unlikely to prove anything.
As I emphasize on the topic of Internet casino cheating the proper way to make a case for a non-random game is to set up a hypothesis first, then gather data, and then statistically test the data for how well it fits the hypothesis. So I asked Beau what I should be testing for. He said on the come out roll that I should test for winning rolls of 7 and 11, and on all other rolls to test for rolling anything except a 7. Following are the specific results. Each come out roll begins a line.
The next table summarizes the results. The sample size is too small to perform any robust tests. However just an eyeball test shows the results are thus far close to expectations in a random game. So clearly more testing needs to be done, and is planned for.
For more information on dice setting or professional lessons please visit Beau Parker'sdicecoach.com.
Stanford Wong Experiment
In August 2004 debate was raging at Stanford Wong's site bj21.com about dice setting. The discussion could be found under the member's only Green Chip section on craps. A professional gambler there challenged Wong to a bet. The terms of the bet were whether precision shooters could roll fewer than 79.5 sevens in 500 rolls of the dice. The expected number in a random game would be 83.33. The probability of rolling 79 or fewer sevens in 500 random rolls is 32.66%.
I was asked to be a monitor for the event, but was out of the country at the time. However I did make an $1800 bet on the over with a well known gambling writer. The dates and locations of the event were kept very quiet, and were not being made available to the public. The shooters were Wong himself and someone known only as "Little Joe." According to Wong, the experiment went well and not one roll was called dead nor disputed by the two sides of the bet present at the event. The following table shows the results by shooter.
Congratulations to Wong on winning with five sevens to spare. The probability of rolling 74 or fewer sevens in 500 random rolls is 14.41%.
Reason #3 why the Wizard likes Bovada:
In my opinion many online casinos are too stingy when setting the odds on their games. They think they will make more money that way but I believe they are misguided, because when players lose too quickly it’s not fun, and those players might not come back.
Bovada is one of the few casinos that understands this. They offer generous odds to let you play longer and get you a better chance of winning. Among their generous offerings are Full-Pay Jacks or Better returning 99.54%, five other video poker games paying over 99%, single-zero roulette, and my favorite, Double Jackpot Poker, returning 99.63%!
Kudos to Bovada for not being afraid to give their players a good gamble.