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Tracking the bones  
BY:  Maddog

If you are one of those people who has developed an interest in the practice of dice influencing, let me ask you a question; “Why are you interested in developing a dice influencing skill?” If you are like me then your answer is probably along the lines of “I’d like to develop a skill at the craps table that takes me beyond the occasional ‘lucky’ win, to a position where I will win more often then lose, and on a more consistent basis”.  
Ok, sure, who wouldn’t want to get that kind of an edge over a casino game? What then what does it take to become a proficient DI who can achieve such a goal? The root answer is Practice, Practice and more Practice. Let us assume for a minute that you accept the argument that tossing the dice is a physical activity, and like any physical skill, it will indeed take practice to perfect or at least achieve some level of proficiency.  
Based on this assumption, let me ask another question; “How will you know if your practice is paying off and you are demonstrating any degree of influence (skill) over the toss?”  
To my way of thinking there are two ways to judge our performance. The first approach; look in our chip rack. If our rack consistently contains more chips when we finish our game then what we put in there to begin our game, then that is a pretty decent measure of our ability (note that the word “consistently” is key in that sentence). Of course the big drawback to using this approach for measuring our skill is that it tends to cost us a bundle when we look at our rack and consistently find it contains less chips then when we started.  
The second (and much less costly) approach to validating dice tossing skills is to record practice results and analyze those results to determine if we are indeed exerting influence over the cubes. Having recorded results has the added benefit of providing a ‘test-bed’ for benchmarking changes to our technique, provide a proving ground for analyzing betting strategies, and for finding various ways of maximizing the return on our specific pattern of influence.  
There are three primary objectives, or reasons, for “Tracking the Bones”  
1) Validate your ability to influence the dice.  
2) Track progress of your ability over time.  
3) Understand your Pattern of Influence to determine how to maximize results.  
There are many ways available to track your practice results. One simple approach is to write down the number rolled each time you toss. When you are done, add up how many times each number rolled and compare this with the standard dice roll distribution charts (you know, 6 sevens in 36 rolls, 5 eights and 5 sixes in 36 rolls, etc.) If you find you are consistently (there is that word again) getting more 8’s and 5’s then expected, then that is good news.  
I can guarantee that the more you toss and track, the more detailed and specific information about your toss results you will wish to know. I know because I did this very thing. Starting with a simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, I started tracking my dice results, and then tracking various percentages, and then tracking on-axis vs. off-axis results, and so on. The culmination of these various additions and enhancements over the course of my DI journey resulted in a little software tool. It is a tool that I use almost daily to track the bones in my practice sessions and that I ingeniously (tongue in cheek) dubbed “BoneTracker™”.  
BoneTracker is a tool that (A) simplifies the process of tracking practice sessions, (B) provides a multitude of statistics that relate to dice roll outcomes, and (C) performs a nifty little trick that I call Set Transposition that maps the results of the dice set your tossing, to any other dice set you wish, and consequently showing you what your results “would-have-been” if you had been tossing that alternate set.  
Simplified Tracking  
When I first started recording my rolls using a paper and pencil and then re-keying the information into the computer for analysis, I felt that there had to be a better way. In response I modified the spreadsheet several times, each time simplifying the data entry process with each revision. The current version includes a pop-up screen that provides for one-click entry of practice roll results. When I practice, I set up the laptop on my pitching station where each time I toss a practice throw I can click in the toss result. Toss, see result, click. Toss, see result, click. Toss, see result, click. Continuing on in this way until I end the practice session. Tracking the rolls directly into BoneTracker as the practice session proceeds provides for immediate feedback on the practice results.  
Roll Statistics  
What is my Sevens-to-Rolls-Ratio? How many sixes and eights did I roll compared to the statistical norm? How often do I keep both dice on-axis? How often do I keep at least one-die on axis? Which die do I keep on-axis the most? When the right-die tips off-axis, what number do I roll most often? These are the kinds of questions that a DI asks. The answers to these questions facilitate what to work on in terms of toss skills, and what to take advantage of in terms of betting skills. These are some of the statistics that are tracked by the BoneTracker.  
The transpositions tool helps you turbo-charge your practice session results. The idea here is that once we know what the starting dice set is, and what the end result is, then we can map any alternate dice set over the top of the initial starting dice set and see what the results would have been. Clear as mud? In other words, it is like practicing many dice sets at once, all in a single toss. The advantage of this is that it takes your own rolls, your own personal pattern of influence, and helps recommend the dice set that allows you to take full advantage of your edge for any given betting strategy.  
How does BoneTracker help us with the three objectives of Validating, Tracking, and Understanding? By tracking practice rolls and comparing the results against the statistical expectation of random roll outcomes (leave off for now the issues of sufficient sample size and expected variance from statistical norm), we are able to identify the amount and validity of a “Pattern of Influence”. This practice, tracking and analysis can be done and perfected at home, instead of the in the trenches of the “School-of-hard-knocks” (in the casino). Using this information a DI begins to direct their practice activities and build the confidence and understanding needed to make use of their new found (or newly validated) skills.  
Until next time, keep your toss straight and your rack full.  
By Maddog © Mar. 2006
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