Part how-to-play-Craps guide, part how-to-hold-the-dice guide, and part how-many-more-anecdotes-have-you-got, Frank Scoblete’s ‘I Am A Dice Controller’ nevertheless takes us down a path well-trodden by the likes of his semi-autobiographical ‘I Am A Card Counter’.
If you’re looking for an edge on the house then Frank Scoblete is your go-to man. An author with a mine of information on every casino game imaginable racked up over a misspent lifetime, perhaps, but Scoblete is unrivalled in telling it how it is from the mouth of a true American gambler.
Dice Controller is the latest how-to guide in his arsenal aimed at turning you into a ‘Rhythmic Roller’ and a Jedi Master at Craps.
Scoblete claims to be able to train you into beating the house time and again. The author’s own teacher is a man mysteriously called ‘The Captain’ whom he met in The Claridge, Atlantic City, mid-1980s. The Captain was clearly a craps player of some talent and success – he held the world record for some time for rolling 147 times before seven-ing out. Scoblete’s respect for him runs deep as a great deal of this book is devoted to The Cap and his philosophies in dice control.
The techniques, however, do little to relieve my scepticism on the idea that you can control the dice and beat the house at a game so obviously related to luck.
There’s a handy section mid-book, full of useful illustrations with each technique carefully detailed, as you’d expect in any good manual. But the techniques described relate to how you stand, how you hold your dice in your fingers, your grip the tilt of your throw, your arc and backspin etc. To the untrained craps eye, it all sounds a bit spurious and – shall we say – unscientific.
If you’re looking for tips on betting and bankroll management, then they’re here too. “Never bet more than you’re prepared to lose, because worry makes a bad player,” but we all kind of knew that when we got into gambling.
If you’ve come across Scoblete before you’ll recognise his personal style, heavily anecdotal, essentially autobiographical, with some key strategy thrown in. It’s a formula that works for him and he hasn’t deviated from that here.
Like ‘I Am A Card Counter’ it’s fascinating, eyebrow-raising, and too long in places. The need for an editor is evident here, and the really interesting chapters are stuck too far back in the book.
In ‘Dice Controller’s’ case, it’s a chapter on the dice-controlling teams that populated Vegas and Atlantic City casinos for years. Characters with Hollywood nicknames like ‘the Kid’, ‘Rock n Roller’, ‘Section Eight’, and (our favourite) Dr. Crapology. I didn’t even know there were dice control teams. It seems that the infamous MIT blackjack teams of the 1980s and 1990s were not alone in attempting to bring down the house.
And though I’m still not convinced that dice control is possible, let alone so readily achievable as Scoblete makes out, the book makes you want to give it a damn good try.
But, who knows, maybe I just need to put it into practice and hit the casinos tonight. Let Luck be my Lady tonight!