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The Grip

by Jerry "Stickman"

Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in craps, blackjack, video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps and Golden Touch Blackjack. His current book, " Specific Slots Machines That Give the Players the Edge!" provides mathematically proven advantages over the house on some slots and it is available in our store. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at

Note: Complete information on Dice Control along with scores of pictures illustrating all aspects of it is available in the book Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution. In addition, The Golden Touch Dice Control DVD is a two-disc set showing the best dice controllers throwing the dice so you can see for yourself how it is done. Over 200 unedited throws of the dice are captured from all angles. For more information on classes in dice control visit or call 1-800-944-0406.

Gaining an edge at the craps table is possible. It is not easy. It requires lots of practice. However, the edge than can be achieved is much higher than any blackjack card counting method.

There are several components to dice control and all of them must be mastered to obtain an edge at the craps table. The Dice Control 101 series will cover them all. In this installment various dice sets will be covered.

To review from the last installment on Dice Sets: The hardway set is the "meat-and-potatoes" set. It offers the best protection against the 7. The advantage gained by using the hardway set is reducing the appearance of the 7. It does not favor any number. Once a dice controller proves he can keep the dice on axis, he may want to use a set that favors certain numbers at the expense of seeing a few more 7’s.

The 3-V set has all 6’s and 8’s showing on the non-axis faces. The 3-V is a great set because it favors the 6 and 8 – two numbers that have among the lowest house edge in craps.

One other set that has a place if the house rules fit is the 2-V set. This set favors the 4 and 10 and can be used by a skilled dice controller if he can buy the 4 and 10 and only pay the vig on a win. If this is not the case, the savvy dice controller will opt for the 3-V or hardway sets.

During the come-out cycle the All 7’s can be used to determine if the dice are being kept on axis – plus possibly make a little money by throwing some come-out 7’s. While there are benefits to using the All-7’s set on come-out, it may be wise to stay with the same set at all times in order to maximize consistency by throwing without thinking.


Random shooters don’t worry about how they grip the dice. They just pick them up, shake them in their hands, and fling them down the table hoping the result will be favorable. This is fine for the random player, but for a dice controller, the grip is the most critical aspect of the entire setting and delivery process.

The Grip is Critical

The objective of the controlled thrower’s grip is to have both dice leave the hand together, travelling side-by-side in prefect mirror image fashion – almost as if the two dice were one. We don’t want one die lagging, one die higher than the other, or one die spinning fast than the other. We want them both spinning together in exactly the same way, along only one axis. The grip is the key to getting the dice to leave your hands together.

Ninety-five percent of the problems you will encounter with a controlled throw will be caused by the grip on the dice. The controlled throw starts with the grip, and to have a chance at a great throw it must be perfect. Once the dice are released, you will no longer have any control on the dice whatsoever. They are travelling on their own, so the more perfect the grip is, the more perfect the release will be and the better chance you have for a good result (i.e., switching the house edge from the casino’s favor into your favor!). Any little deviation in finger placement on the dice will alter the flight of the dice from perfect, and alter the results so they become more closer to random (which is what you don’t want to happen).

There are only three grips that are recommended as they offer the best control over the dice. They are the three-finger front, the two-finger front and the one-finger front grips. These grips will be discussed later in this article. The three finger front grip offers the most control and greatest consistency.

The Grip Must Be Soft

Gripping the dice too tightly will restrict the free movement of the dice during the release. The dice should be gripped so softly that they easily slip from the hand as the arm swings forward. They should come out of your hand on their own – you should not have to open your hand to release the dice. Hold the dice as softly as possible but with just enough force so they do not drop from your hand.

While practice will make the grip seem natural, if you still feel uncomfortable about your grip, put the dice down and re-grip them. If you are shooting in a casino and the dice don’t feel quite right, put them down and change one of your bets on the table (or add a dollar to your odds for the crew), and re-grip the dice. That way it will appear as if changing the bet was the reason you stopped. It is better to put the dice down if they do not feel right – it is amazing the number of times the devil shows when you fail to correct a grip.

Which Grip is Right for You?

The grip that works best for you is determined by several factors. Finger size, body type and performance of the dice in the air will all help determine the best grip for you. Some grips are better than others in terms of the physics of dice control and you should make every effort to use these premier grips, but if the grip is too uncomfortable for you, it is better to change the grip. No two shooters are exactly alike just as no two baseball batters are exactly alike, so ultimately the grip you choose will be become the premier grip for you.

There are times when someone cannot use certain grips because of some physical trait – such as very large fingers. This is okay because if the grip is not comfortable, you will not throw well.

For women, fingernail length might be a factor in determining which grip is the best for them. If you have long fingernails, you may have to use the pads of the fingers rather than the tips of the fingers.

Those with big fingers might not be able to keep their fingers straight across the front of the dice without the fingers overlapping the sides of the dice. If this is the case you may have to consider the two-finger front grip.

Finger Tips or Pads?

The perfect grip will have the following characteristics:

  • Very little finger contact with the dice
  • Very little force required for the dice to leave the hand
  • Dice feel comfortable in the hand
  • Both dice remain perfectly still in the hand during pick-up and swing
  • The dice are perfectly together – there is no splitting or splaying of the dice
  • The dice are perfectly aligned in the hand. They appear to be one "stick" of dice
  • The force used to hold the dice is minimal
  • Minimal drag as the dice leave your hand (caused by very little finger contact)
  • The finger tips form a cylinder which acts as a fulcrum for the dice to rotate from during the release
  • Allows the dice to stay together as they travel through the air
  • The dice travel through the air in a line straight down the table

Generally, using the tips of your fingers causes the least finger contact with the dice – unless the pads of your fingers are on the upper edge of the dice. Using the finger tips is preferable unless you are able to hold the dice with your pads on the upper edge of the dice.

One, Two or Three Finger Front Grip?

There are at least a dozen different dice grips. I will only discuss three as they are the best for consistency. They are the one-finger front, the two-finger front, and the three finger front. Of these, the three-finger front is the best at promoting consistency in the throw and consequently in the results.

You should strive to use the three-finger front grip unless there is some sort of physical constraint (such as very large fingers) or it is extremely uncomfortable. Be mindful that any grip will be somewhat uncomfortable at first because it is something you are not used to. Practice the grip several hundred – or even several thousand – before you decide it is not right for you.

Let’s look at the different grips. So there is no confusion, the front of the dice mentioned below is the side that faces the "front" or target when you release the dice.

Thumb Placement

All three grips require the thumb to be evenly spaced between the back of the two dice – along the line between the dice – so each die has exactly the same amount of thumb area on it. The thumb will ideally be straight up and down between the two dice. If that doesn’t work with the way your hand is built, don’t worry. It can be placed at an angle, but there must be exactly the same amount of thumb surface on each die. That way the dice will travel adjacent to each other as they travel through the air.

With all three of the following grips, how far up or down your thumb is placed will change the number of revolutions the dice make before they hit the table – the higher up the dice, the fewer revolutions and the lower down, the more revolutions. Initially you should place your thumb about half-way down the back of the dice.

One-Finger Front Grip

The one-finger front grip is name because you use one finger – usually your middle finger on the front of the dice. It must be exactly centered between the two dice with exactly the same amount of finger on each die. It should be exactly opposite the thumb.

Some controlled shooters who cannot use the premier three-finger front grip use this grip. It is nowhere near as stable, however as it is extremely difficult to have the finger and thumb exactly centered. If they are not perfectly centered, the dice tend to split and wobble causing the dice to turn on their side and randomize the throw.

Even though the one-finger grip is only recommended as a second choice behind the three-finger front grip, it is still a very important grip. This is because the number one grip you should be trying to use (the three-finger front), uses the one-finger grip to actually hold the dice. Practice gripping the dice with your middle finger and thumb and see if you can hold the dice together without them coming apart in your fingers. Try wiggling them back and forth between your fingers. If you can do this without the dice separating, you are well on your way to the perfect dice controlling grip.

Two-Finger Front Grip

If you have very large fingers, you may find the three-finger front grip is just not for you. Your fingers may overlap the sides of the dice so far that they interfere with the smooth release of the dice. If this is the case, you may want to consider the two-finger front grip.

With this grip your middle and ring fingers are used to grip the front of the dice. Your index and pinky fingers are completely off the dice. As with all the mentioned grips, your middle finger and pinky must be evenly spaced between the two dice and perfectly level with each other relative to the dice. This means that the thumb will actually be placed on the back of the dice between the two fingers on the front of the dice. Because there is no one finger opposite the thumb, there is a great tendency for the dice to split in the front. This grip more than any other must be very soft.

Three-Finger Front Grip

The premier grip – the one that satisfies all of the characteristics mentioned above – is the three-finger front grip. It lends itself to consistency – and consistency lends itself to profits.

In the three-finger front grip your index, middle and ring fingers are on the front of the dice with your thumb on the backside of the dice. The only finger that is not being used is the pinky. In fact, do not have your pinky touch the dice at all during the grab, pick-up and delivery as it will throw off your resulting throw.

As mentioned above, the holding of the dice is actually accomplished with the middle finger and thumb. Your index and ring fingers are then gently placed beside the middle finger – exactly in line with each other – to form "wings" to complete the cylinder which acts as the fulcrum for the dice to roll off when releasing them. Although the middle finger and thumb are holding the dice, there is very little difference between the pressures of the three front fingers. Softness is the key to the perfect three-finger front grip (as well as the one- and two-finger front grips).

Your three fingers must be perfectly straight across the front of the dice with the same amount of finger on each die. You must make sure there are no splits in the dice and that the dice are perfectly straight – as if they are one "stick." Any split or offset in the dice will be magnified as the dice move through the air and that will tend to randomize the dice.

The three-finger front grip allows for the greatest consistency. It keeps the dice aligned and spinning together as they leave the hand. It is not the easiest grip to learn, but it is by far the best grip for most players. You should try to master this one first – really try. Give yourself time to learn and use it. It will be uncomfortable at first. It is not something that you are used to doing. Do not become discouraged if it takes several days, weeks, or even months to master and become comfortable with this grip

Practice, Practice, Practice

As with most endeavors in life, practice makes perfect. Nowhere is that phrase more true than in controlling the dice. Practice dice setting whenever you can. Practice gripping the dice whenever you can.

Cut a piece of cardboard or ¼ inch plywood to a size of about 12 X 15 inches. Glue or staple felt to it. You now have a smaller version of a craps table to practice on. Have it next to you while watching television or at your desk at work. Practice on it whenever you can.

Sometimes the dice will split after you pick them up. If this happens you can use your pinky and index finger to gently push them together. Grabbing the dice will become second nature after some practice.


Consistency is what dice control is all about. Having the perfect grip helps increase consistency. The best grip is the three-finger front grip, but there are a couple of others that can also work if it is impossible to use the three-finger front grip. While any grip will feel uncomfortable at first, practice, practice, and more practice will make the grip become second nature.

If the dice do not feel right in your hand after picking them up, put them down and re-grip them. Change one of your bets or add a new one if you feel uncomfortable about putting the dice down when playing in a casino. You are much better off re-gripping than having the devil show.

Practice is critical in obtaining the perfect grip so practice often. The grip is the most critical aspect of dice control, so practice as if it is!

The next installment of Dice Control 101 will look at delivering the dice to the back wall. Until then…..

All the best in all your casino and life endeavors.

Jerry "Stickman"

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