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 Dr. Heller’s thirdJerry 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 of a series which 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.
It’s time to put all the pieces into one complete picture. For those of you who like to first give something a fast read, you may need to read this manual again. Make sure you understand the principals before you begin practicing Level Three: The Power Zone. When you have mastered your Level One and Level Two Modules, you will be able to enter The Power Zone almost at will.
At this juncture, you should be able to create your Calm Conditioning and Power Image with your eyes open or closed. Also, you should find yourself able to achieve Calm Conditioning and your Power Image quickly and easily. If not, go back and practice any aspects with which you are still having problems.
You will now add The PARR method to your practice sessions. It’s important to your success within casinos that you recreate the casino environment where you practice. What I will be suggesting may conflict with what you have learned about conducting home practice sessions. Please believe me, creating RWC is important to your success when you are playing for real money in real casinos.
Let me give you some history to help you understand my reasons for such a radical departure from what you may have learned in the past. First, understand that Muscle Memory is a tricky concept. Your muscles don’t care if what you memorize is good for you or ruins you. It’s all the same to muscle memory.
As an example, let’s say you decided to hit hundreds of tennis balls into the net. You would develop a very successful set of muscle memories. However, what you would have become very good at is hitting the ball into the net! You would be lousy at keeping the ball in play. Your Muscle Memory doesn’t care if you succeed or fail!
Years ago, at Jerry’s suggestion, I took a young Target player under my wing whom I will call John. He was having lots of problems winning in the casinos. John practiced faithfully at home and really knew the Target material quite well. In spite of his knowledge and hours of practice, he nearly always had losing trips when he traveled to Vegas. John was discouraged and convinced that something was very wrong with him.
Before we entered a casino, I grilled him about Target, his background and general blackjack experience. He passed with flying colors. We adjourned to the back casino at Caesar’s Palace. Within several minutes, we found a Target table that looked promising. After we verified that it was a player favorable game, I had him enter the game at the seat next to third base.
It was here that his problems became apparent. John began to make many mistakes in judgment and playing decisions. He looked confused and acted anxious.
After a few minutes, I suggested that he leave the table. I took him to the lounge overlooking the casino and asked him to tell me what he thought was happening to him.
John said that he got so nervous that he couldn’t think. He was sure it was because things were happening too fast for him to keep up with them. I asked him about how he structured his home practice sessions. His answer revealed why he was having so many problems in the casinos. Here is an edited version of what he said:
“I ask my wife to make sure that I won’t be disturbed for at least a half hour and I disconnect the phone. I set up the table and put out chips for the other player positions. When I deal out the cards, I take time to study them. I think about the bias and concentrate on all the Target factors.”
“At the end of each round, I write a brief recap of the hand and my estimation about whether the round was dealer favorable or player favorable and which seat(s) seemed to be in the best zones. I add any comments I think will be helpful to me.”
“If I get confused, I leave the cards face up and try to figure out if I could have played the hand differently or if I made a mistake with basic strategy. Sometimes I look at my Basic Strategy Playing Card and check that I made correct moves for all the player positions.”
I’d heard more than enough. Whatever he was practicing to achieve, it had nothing to do with any casino I had ever been in. His practice routine was creating what we shrinks know as Cognitive Dissonance. Suffice it to say, that’s not a good thing. His practice methodology was giving him an unnecessary wall to have to overcome.
Here’s what I asked him to do: “I want you to turn on a radio and a TV while you are in your practice sessions. Also, encourage your wife to come into the room from time to time. Have her interrupt you by asking questions. Designate one player position as a hunch player and another as a never break player. I want you to deal hands as if the dealer was in front of you and dealing from his (the dealer’s) left.” (This was so that John would be looking at the cards from the actual player position assumed in casinos.)
“Additionally, leave your Basic Strategy Cards in another room. If you think you need to check something out, leave the table and leave the room. That’s what you do in a casino. Deal the cards fairly fast; pick up break hands as they occur (if that’s how the casinos you play do it). When the round is over, pick up the cards quickly. In short, recreate casino conditions as closely as possible. Only when you are comfortable under those conditions will you be ready to play for real money in a real casino.”
In less than six weeks, his blackjack game had drastically altered for the better. John became a consistent winner because his practice matched RWC. When he walked into a casino, he felt at home. As he sat down at a table, his brain would immediately begin to associate to the conditions. Everything felt familiar, so he could concentrate on winning.
This case study will make my points even more clear. A major league athlete was about to lose his career. He had been in a slump for two seasons and management was close to giving up on him. While there were other aspects to this case, one aspect underscores the point I’m making. It has to do with how management was having him practice.
Nearly every day he would practice hitting, fielding and throwing 100 balls. This was done while the stadium was empty and nothing could distract him. He would blast the balls and field with perfection and throw the ball with great speed and accuracy. The manager would congratulate him and give him a bunch of motivational inspiration. Then the game would start and our hero would bomb out – again.
I was able to convince him and then the manager to take a radical new approach. They were to have him practice hitting and fielding only when people were in the stands and lots of other activity was going on in the ball park. Also, teammates were to yell at him and try to insult him. This is closer to what playing in the big leagues is like.
At first, his practice performance deteriorated, but his actual game play stayed about the same – not too good. After ten days, his practice sessions began to steadily improve. His hitting rebounded as did his fielding and throwing. It was only a few days after this when he became one of the stars of his team. His teammates voted him the most improved player, and he has gone on to have an outstanding career.
Starting now, I want you to use only one pair of dice during your practice session. Also, record your throws immediately after each throw. Make sure you have at least a TV on while you practice. If you live with a spouse, significant other or a roommate, ask this person to interrupt you while you are in your practice mode. Answer their question and then go back to your practice. This will mimic what is going to happen in the casino.
If you develop Muscle Memory based on making several throws of the dice before you record your throws or if you have someone else record your throws, you are practicing something that fails to match RWC. This will make your transition to real casino conditions difficult and perhaps cause you to take much longer to arrive at The Zone.
Step One: As you begin to set the dice (as of this writing, the preferred set is The Hard Way Set), stare at the small space between the die. (For those of you who keep the die without a space, stare at the line that joins them.) Take a slow, deep breath and flash your Calm Conditioning image. While doing this, circle the thumb and index finger of your non-throwing hand, slowly exhale and silently repeat your code word, which, for this example, we will assume is Calm.
Step Two: Gently pick the dice up while maintaining your Calm Conditioning image. Focus on the feeling and sense of balance of the dice on your fingers. With practice, you will know when you have the dice properly gripped. It does take some time and practice to get the sense of balance from holding the dice.
What you are seeking is a natural feeling. The dice feel light, balanced and an extension of your fingers. If they feel awkward, out of balance or one die feels different from the other, put them back on the table! You don’t have a natural grip and that will interfere with your Controlled Throw.
When the dice feel balanced, take a second slow inhalation. Hold your breath for a few seconds and exhale slowly while again silently repeating your Calm Conditioning code word. Keep your thumb and index finger in a gentle circle.
Step Three: Before you put your hand into your throwing position, look at the target area at the end of the table. As you begin to put your hand into your throwing position, turn on your Power Image and project it to your target area.
Take another slow deep breath while you stare at your Power Image. Slowly begin to exhale while again silently repeating the word Calm (where Calm is your code word.) While exhaling, imagine the dice arcing through your Power Image and softly hitting your target area.
Step Four: Continue seeing your Power Image while you complete your Controlled Throw (Rhythm Roll). Always keep your eyes fixed on your Power Image. Do not look at the dice or at the other people at the table until the dice have stopped moving.
As soon as the dice leave your hand, resume normal breathing and let the Power Image fade away. You have been in a form of self-hypnosis. By letting the image fade, you will return to your normal state of consciousness.
When the stick man pushes the dice back to you or when you gather them up during home practice, begin the same process, starting with Step One. Repeat the entire process each time you start another throw.
By combining Calm Conditioning and Power Image together with your practice sessions, you will develop far more than Muscle Memory. You will soon be able to create The Zone on command. Each time you repeat the steps, you will be compounding the effects. Within a short time, the process will become nearly automatic. In less than four hours of practice, I found myself entering The Zone as soon as I begin to set the dice. It now happens without my thinking about it. With practice, I know this will be your experience, too.
The time has come for you to become an expert at creating The PARR Zone® for yourself. Within a short time you will be using PARR and The PARR Zone® to make the chips come to you. I want to wish you good luck, but only if you accept that good luck is the result of hard work, a plan and an attitude that says: “I will succeed.”
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