Introduction by Jerry Patterson
With the development of the PARR Zone, Dr. Heller (now deceased) left an incredible legacy to craps dice controllers.
This article is the first of three articles whichJerry Patterson is an internationally known gaming author, player, and instructor and has written five gambling books. The two most popular are 'Casino Gambling: A Winner’s Guide to Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat and Casino Poker 'and 'Blackjack: A Winner’s Handbook.' Jerry's website is www.sharpshootercraps.com will be incorporated, with acknowledgement, into the new book – Winning Dice Control Techniques: Shooting Craps from the Zone by Jerry Patterson and Sharpshooter.
What Role does the Zone play in Dice Control? The Zone’s role is just as important as the muscle memory skills of setting, gripping, picking up and throwing the dice with control. The objective of dice control is to avoid the losing 7 in the point cycle. With the Zone, you can maintain muscle memory consistency and keep on rolling the same way every time you pick up the dice. It’s this consistency that leads to the long hands with stacks of chips pushed your way on roll after roll.
To make The Power Zone® more powerful and effective, it’s important that you utilize proper visualization techniques. The latest research on brain activity shows that when a person vividly imagines an activity, the same parts of his brain will fire up that fire up when he is actually involved in the actual activity. In short, his brain is fooled into believing that what is being imagined is really happening.
However, to achieve this effect, you must use Experiential Visualization (EV). This means putting yourself in the picture! Think of some sport or activity that you enjoy. For my example, let’s say it’s golf. After you read this statement, I want you to close your eyes and imagine you are watching yourself swinging a club. See yourself at a distance of fifteen to fifty feet away. It’s almost as if you are watching someone else. Please close your eyes and visualize this image.
This time, when you close your eyes, put yourself in the picture. Feel the club in your hands. Look down past your stomach and see your feet firmly planted in the grass. Sense your body bent over a bit and your legs spread apart. Feel your arms beginning to bring the club back – then pause – then going down toward the ball. Hear the sound the club head makes as it comes in contact with the ball and feel the contact through the shaft of your club. Now close your eyes and imagine this activity in the detail I have just outlined.
Most of you will notice a distinct difference in your two experiences. With the first visualization, you probably had a sense of detachment and casual interest. With the second method, you should notice much more intensity. You might even experience some muscle movement that matches your visualization. With practice, you will be able to notice these subtle changes. Anyway, it’s the second type of visualization you will be using for your PARR Zone®. Soon you will know why it’s called Power Visualization.
Here is an experiment I want you to try. Read the instructions first. Then, close your eyes and follow the instructions. When you close your eyes, I want you to see a yellow lemon sitting on a kitchen counter or table. See it as clearly as you can – including the little dimples in the skin. If it helps, get a real lemon and hold it in your hand. Study how it looks and feels. Then, close your eyes and see it on the kitchen counter or a table.
In your mind’s eye, take a sharp knife and slowly cut the lemon in half. As you cut it, feel the juice dripping onto your fingers and smell the pungent aroma of the fresh lemon. After you have finished cutting the lemon in half, put the knife down and lift half of the lemon to your mouth. Take a bite and feel the juice in your mouth. Allow yourself to feel the tart flavor in your mouth.
OK, what did you notice? Most of you will have found that you swallowed or salivated or, perhaps, both. Some of you will have tasted the lemon or at least got a sense of bitterness in your mouth. If you need to, repeat the experiment making sure you are feeling the lemon in your hand instead of watching from across the room.
For those of you who responded by salivating and swallowing, you might ask, “What does it mean?” It means that your brain told your body to have a full physiological response to a fantasy. Salivation, swallowing and the taste of the lemon are physical responses to what you were visualizing. That’s why learning to use Power Visualization will dramatically increase your performance at the dice table and in life, too.
2. Calm Conditioning
The primary purpose of Calm Conditioning is to have the ability to call upon a sense of calm whenever you need it. Think of being calm as the preparation for everything that follows. By creating a calm state of mind, you make it easier to program your brain for success.
Begin by writing down two or three places you already associate with being calm. For example, you might choose a beautiful stream, the beach, the mountains or any other place that you associate with being calm, relaxed and unburdened. One of my favorite calm places is Maui – at sunset – watching the sky change colors.
After you have written down your choices, you need to list the characteristics of your calm place that most remind you of your calm place. I will use the beach for our working example, but you need to pick what suits you best. Following might be what you would list for the characteristics of the beach.
The next step is simple. Find a comfortable place where you will not be disturbed for ten to fifteen minutes. This could be a favorite chair or any other quiet place. Begin by taking in a slow deep breath through your nose, while silently counting to four. Then, hold your breath for another count of four, and then exhale through your mouth for another count of four. The last step is to not breathe for another count of four.
Repeat the same process only, this time, with your eyes closed. After completing the second set of four count breaths, add your Power Visualization using one of your calm places. (Again, I will use the beach as the working example.) Remember, you must put yourself in the picture and this will take practice.
You might begin by hearing the sound of the ocean and the sound of the birds overhead. Now, feel the sand under your body (assuming you are recumbent on the beach). Looking out, see the blue sky and the fluffy, white clouds. Look at the diamond-like sparkles on the crest of each wave. Feel the warm air – relaxing you completely while you smell the salt air.
Continue experiencing each aspect of the beach, even if it means repeating each aspect several times. Also, continue to breathe slowly and deeply. You will find yourself becoming more relaxed as the minutes tick by. When you feel calm and have a very clear image of being on the beach, create a code word for your special place. Mine is simple: I use the words Maui and Calm. Your code word could be anything, including the word Calm itself.
What if your mind jumps around so that you have trouble concentrating? Here is a powerful trick that will help you break this habit. Hum! That right – hum. The moment you find yourself mentally wandering or obsessing about something, begin to hum. You could hum Mary Had a Little Lamb, Anchors Away, The Marine Corps Hymn or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. It doesn’t matter what you choose to hum as long as it is simple and you know the tune.
As soon as you have hummed for a few seconds, your mind will be ready to reset. Go back to your Power Visualization and keep focused as long as you can. If your mind starts to wander, hum again. After a few days’ practice, you will notice your ability to stay with your Power Visualization is increasing while your mind jumble is decreasing. This will help you in many areas of your life.
Either way, once you feel yourself becoming calm and relaxed, circle the thumb and index finger of your non (dice) throwing hand while you silently think your code word. Make sure that you repeat this procedure two or three times each practice session. You are creating what is called a Post Hypnotic Cue or Anchor. Within a short time, just circling your thumb and index finger, breathing slowly, while saying the code word, will produce a calm state of mind and body.
For the first few weeks it’s important that you practice the process three times each day. Each practice session should last about five minutes. After you begin to feel more comfortable with Calm Conditioning, begin to practice it in Real World Conditions such as while you are in traffic, at work or during any stressful situation.
Keep in mind, it’s easier to change your mind about jumping off a mountain before you jump than when you’re halfway down! This means that the sooner you recognize you are becoming stressed, the easier it is for you to switch to your calm state. If you wait until you are blown out of the water, it will be much more difficult to get into a state of calmness.
Also, remember the four count breathing method. It not only enhances the effects of your calm conditioning, it’s a natural aid to shooting controlled dice. I will cover this in more detail later in this training manual.
Please avoid falling into the trap best described by Paul Watzlawick, Ph.D. He said, “There’s no such thing as piano playing. I know because I myself tried it once and nothing good came of it.”
1) List two or three places that you associate with these places.
a) Write out the characteristics you associate with these places.
b) It doesn’t matter if these are places you have visited or merely imagined visiting.
2) Find a comfortable place where you will be undisturbed for ten to fifteen minutes.
a) It’s not a good idea to practice in bed, just prior to going to sleep unless going to sleep is your goal.
3) Begin with the Four Count – Four Breath Method and your eyes open.
4) Add in your Power Visualization using one of your calm images.
b) Repeat the key characteristics as if they are actually happening: “I hear the sound of the waves crashing down and feel the warm sea breeze across my body. I see the sparkle of the sun bouncing off the waves, etc.”
5) As you find yourself relaxing and becoming calm, circle the thumb and index finger of your non (dice) throwing hand and silently repeat to yourself your code word (Calm or a name you give to your calm place).
6) Practice the complete procedure three to five times a day until it begins to occur easily and you become more comfortable with the process.
a) Begin to practice Calm Conditioning in real world situations.
7) Optional: If your mind tends to jump around, practice The Hum as I explained above.
a) Also, practice Calm Conditioning as soon as you begin to feel stressful or anxious. Don’t wait until your system is on fire to take action. The sooner you act, the better your results.
Go here for the next in this series: The Zone – Level 2 Training Program
For more information on the Zone and on the Sharpshooter/PARR Dice Control Course, go to Sharpshootercraps.com
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