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by Joe "Reload" Freda

Joe Freda has been an avid gambler and writer for the past two decades, covering casino and sports wagering. His efforts include several years of articles at Sportsbook Review and Don Best Sports, while enjoying trips for blackjack, craps, and poker throughout North America and the Caribbean. Freda can be reached at or through Twitter (@ReloadSports).


After some tough times in the blackjack circles during 2015, I found myself chasing my losses with other games like baccarat, pai gow poker, and craps. Out of these choices, craps has the lowest house edge as long as the basic pass line and come bets with odds are leveraged.

Although you can seek out casinos that cut their advantage even lower by offering five- and 10-times odds (some even higher), Lady Luck is still needed to have the ‘bones' fall your way. Dice control is an added dimension beyond this because learning how to control your throw can make your rolls less random and give you a chance at beating the casinos.

In order to learn dice control, you can read books and watch videos from some players who have had success mastering this technique. There are also courses available that include hands-on instruction: one of these is by "Golden Touch Craps."

I recently had the chance to attend a full weekend with the "GTC" crew, taking the primer course this past March in Atlantic City. My experience left me much improved as a craps player, while building lasting relationships with my fellow students and instructors. The effort is far from a "get rich quick" type of scheme; however, investing your time will result in greater excitement and more potential profits when you "roll dem bones."

Day 1: The Open House

Arriving at the "secret location" for the GTC class, I met Dom LoRiggio (better known as the "Dominator"), who checked me in. Dom has been featured in a biography of his success on the History Channel, while being considered the eighth best gambler of all time. More than 2000 students have learned Dom's "Golden Touch" dice throw.

Next, I was introduced to my mentor Janis "Alligator Rose" and other members of my student team, the "Good Time Rollers." Several other instructors were also present, setting up a variety of practice dice-throwing stations while observing the students' dice throws.

I began learning some basics of dice control, such as the proper way to grip the dice (e.g., holding the dice with three fingers in front of them and the thumb behind), while also leveraging the "Hardway Set" (with the pips 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5 visible as the 6-1 make up the axes). Gripping and setting the dice are the true fundamentals of dice control, which I had previously read about, but having instructors show me and then watch how I set and gripped the dice helped me get this technique down pat.

All the students took some practice throws, flowing into a stance at the table and trying to keep our shoulders straight. I found that instructors vary in what they look at, noticing different improvements that each student can make in mastering the technique of setting, gripping and throwing the dice. Even if you grow attached to a particular instructor's style, making the rounds to the other instructors is still beneficial.

The "Open House" is considered "optional" in the weekend class but I would have been a lot more lost had I not attended. My "fever" with the dice was flowing just from those hours of instruction with hands-on practice, and I was already looking forward to playing craps that night.

Unfortunately, my first evening at the tables was a losing effort as I documented in last month's edition of Blackjack Insider. This was not unexpected as mastering the physical technique of dice control requires quite a lot of practice. However, I did feel more confident than before I attended the "Open House"; furthermore, I was also able to profit from spotting another skilled shooter at my table and betting on his throws (he turned out to be one of GTC's advanced students). Although I was still a rookie, it is true that a genius does not need to have all the answers - you can sometimes find them in someone else's throw!

Day 2: Building the Foundation

At the start of the second day of the course, students introduced themselves (students and instructors coming from far and wide). Dom started off challenging everyone to the old "birthday game," betting all of us that at least two individuals in the room would have the same one. The "Dominator" outwitted us and collected a hefty sum which would later be given to the winner of the GTC "No Sevens Contest," along with a nice plaque.

Our morning lecture reinforced the physical elements of dice control, while also making interesting analogies. One reference was made to "The Last Samurai," visioning us to win our battle before you fight it. Additionally, we were encouraged to be like baseball- great Ted Williams (hitting over .400), and not needing to prove ourselves as so-called "switch hitters." Using the basics of the "Hardway Set" will still protect against the dreaded "devil" (a seven being rolled), and it was apparent that learning other sets or stances were not needed as badges of honor.

As Dom put it to us in when battling the casinos, we needed to "throw the math back at them." Everything from your grip, position, mindset, toss, and betting mattered in overcoming even the smallest of house edges. Other instructors, like Billy "The Kid," shared stories of using practice rigs in his van, as well as throwing dice to his buddy Daryl "No Field Five" in the parking lot, before entering the casino to play craps. (The analogy is warming up in baseball before you hit the field.)

We spent the afternoon making rounds to different instructors, with each helping to fine tune our physical elements. My biggest gap through the whole weekend was trying to keep my shoulders straight as they would tense up regularly. The turn needed from throwing the dice (near the casino stickperson) takes its toll on the body, and the next day my back began bothering me.

Dom also took time to give out some of his "March Madness" picks with us, with the "Dominator" enjoying his share of success in the sports betting world. While I caught up on rest that night instead of catching hoops, the world of advantage play never sleeps!

Day 3: Putting it all together

Our final day had further classroom lecture combined with more rounds at the practice stations. Arman "Pit Boss" lectured us on the layout of the craps table, and was a class act in going over all the roles that various casino employees play. The GTC course clearly made no assumptions about any of the student's experience, with everyone being able, and encouraged, to ask questions.

We also became more familiar with the "Five-Count" method of wagering, which helps reduce your "action" (i.e., bets) on random rollers, while collecting on come bets. Our groups took turns tossing the dice at a full craps table, laying the chips down, and trying to cash out ahead, using the "Five Count" technique.

The student teams then had a playoff between them, rolling only "box numbers" to see who would represent them in the "No Sevens Contest" finale. I managed to string together three in a row, which was good enough to make the coveted "Elite Eight."

Our "No Sevens Contest" then showcased several students on some long rolls with the dice. Joe "D." from the "Chicago Bone Crushers" team came out the winner with 17 straight tosses before a seven appeared. Given the average random roller lands the "devil" in 1-of-6 throws, this is quite a feat!

(Note: Here is something I never knew before. BJI Editor Henry Tamburin attended the GTC course several years ago and won the "No Sevens" contest with 35 throws before sevening out. He has a plaque hanging in his office that he received for winning the contest)

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed my "GTC" experience, and would recommend try giving dice control a chance to hold your own with the casinos in craps. Although I have had success with card counting at blackjack, my feelings can become restless when lengthy spans of cards have no real advantage to them. Getting the dice in your hand can give you a jolt like no other; however, practicing your dice control in your spare time is essential for success.

If you decide to take "Golden Touch Craps," I advise treating it as a serious business trip. The distractions of Atlantic City, and late nights in the casino, nearly buried me from the start. It was fun meeting a few ladies in town for a big Mary Kay Cosmetics convention (all were "hard 10's!"), but staying focused was a challenge. Tip: Getting a manicure before arriving for the GTC class will also pay off as your fingers will be in everyone's spotlight the entire weekend.

Our lunches each day also deserve an honorable mention. We enjoyed some great food together and shared lots of stories that we learned from. The camaraderie was just as meaningful as the instruction; reminding me of how networking during my M.B.A. years ago was just as valuable as the degree itself.

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