How To Use The Zone and Visualization To Enhance Dice Control Skills . October 2004

Free Listings

Discount Travel


In the News


How To Use The Zone And Visualization To Enhance Your Dice Control Skills by Jerry Patterson and Walt Diem and Poker--The Real Deal, Book review by Howard Schwartz (Manager of the Gambler's Book Shop in Las Vegas)

How To Use The Zone And Visualization To Enhance Your Dice Control Skills by Jerry Patterson and Walt Diem

Abbreviated and Edited from the Sharpshooter/PARR Dice Control Course Online Information Library (OIL)

Copyright © 2001-2004 by Jerry Patterson Enterprises, Inc.

All Rights Reserved

The Zone

Lesson 8 of an ongoing series on Dice Control

For me, the Zone is a space - a separate room or different direction to face. It is ALWAYS there; its existence does not depend upon me. To enter it I must simply enter it. As pertaining to craps, I enter the zone automatically as soon as I focus my sight upon my target area at the end of the table. (I face the "direction" of the zone and the zone envelops me - I am in it.) When I move my eyes off of my target after the dice have landed; I am facing in a different direction than the zone - I am back in "the normal world" and no longer in "the zone".

Because the zone always exists, I do not have to expend any energy to create it before entering; I merely have to enter. Likewise I needn't expend any energy to maintain it, as it exists as a location separate from and not dependent upon me. I must "move" something in order to pitch the dice; therefore I am not expending any more energy to enter the zone than I would be expending anyway. The zone is therefore not draining of my resources.

Dr. Heller alluded to this "aspect" when he recommended that we all develop both a verbal and physical "cue" (making a circle with the thumb and finger of the off hand) for entering our "calm spot". Departure is logically the reverse direction from entry; i.e. by removing the finger from the thumb.


Sharpshooter, Jerry, Dr. Heller and many others have all instructed us to "visualize" the dice traveling parallel to each other in flight and rotating at the same rate. This article is about using the Zone and visualization to improve your dice control skills.

The subconscious mind (right hemisphere) works with images; verbalization skills are the purview of the left hemisphere. The stronger the image, the more powerfully the unconscious mind (zone) is able to function with the physical (muscle memory).

The visual image which I use during practice is the 3 "V" dice set itself. A white "V" is a very strong visual image, much stronger than a pair of dice traveling in tandem. As I mentally pitched the dice prior to actually pitching them, I began to visualize a white Vee flying through the air, rotating head over heels, in the same way that the 3 Vee formed by the dots on the dice travel and rotate if they are in "perfect pitch".

With this image, I am able to much more easily "see" the dice rotating together and landing with the 3 V still intact and on the top!! After I had done this mental exercise a few times, I found that the white Vee was being unconsciously imposed upon the real dice as I threw them. This is a way of unconsciously "reminding" the body and muscle memory to keep the dice together and rotating at the same speed.

As I am a pilot, I instinctively know that an object the shape of a Vee traveling through the air while spinning heads over tails would make a wop-wop type of a sound, like the sound a boomerang, helicopter or ceiling fan makes. My unconscious mind automatically added this sound to my visual image of the "Flying Vee". Aural reinforcement helps to reinforce the strength of a mental image.

I began to do this at the start of the 2nd column on the Practice Sheet. While 90 tosses are not enough upon which to establish a statistically valid trend, I did notice the following changes occurring during my practice sessions:

1. The dice began to travel and rotate together much more effectively. They were also much easier to visually track while in flight.

2. The occurrence of the Hard 6's increased.

3. The number of individual 3's (on one die) resulting from my throws shot way up. The number of (single die) repeats also went way up. The number of 6's, 8's and 9's went up and 5's went down. 16 sixes, 20 eights, 18 nines and 10 fives.

4. My session SRR rose from 6.5 average with the 3 Vee to 7.5.

5. The roll incidence (dice flying off horizontally) of the left die decreased

Over all, these are rather dramatic improvements to occur in such a short space of time.

Try these visual exercises in your own practice sessions and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

For more on dice control, pick up a copy of Jerry Patterson's book – Casino Gambling: A Winner's Guide to Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat and Casino Poker.

Poker--The Real Deal by Gordon and Five New Hoops Magazines

By Howard Schwartz

If you've been watching cable TV's Celebrity Poker Showdown, you'll recognize the name Phil Gordon. Gordon, along with Jonathan Grotenstein, have produced a unique guide for the beginning and hopeful poker player who's curious about every aspect of the game--home games, online play, card rooms and tournaments. The book, titled Poker: The Real Deal (284 pages, hardbound, $19.95), couldn't have come along at a better--as poker's popularity, live and on television, with the World Poker Tour and other tournaments attracting thousands of new players monthly, has yet to peak.

There are 12 chapters to this effort, beginning with a brief history of the game; the basics of Texas Hold 'em including what to look for in starting hands and why; percentages and probabilities and then into the home game. Here you'll get some tips on how to set up a game including who to invite; why chips are better than money; how much to play for; the one-hour rule.

Sprinkled throughout the book are excerpts from well-accepted books and classics, lending an interesting balance, with saying, advice, suggestions and a sort of flowing question-answer format, making for a well-balanced, easy-reading pattern.

The section keyed to online poker and what to expect from live cardroom action are excellent, since they are aimed at the nervous, anxious player. The material should help in its confidence-building approach. For some, the terms "capped pots" or "kill pots" and "straddle bets" could be confusing. The explanations are followed by some psychological ploys you might think of introducing yourself, like feigning drunkenness; being annoying; or helping others at the table to "go on tilt."

There are plenty of tidbits of value in this work. Many wonder what "middle-limit" play actually is and others may make the mistake of overvaluing the ace. Exactly what is "table texture"?

It's the ability to evaluate the cards on the table. Then there's the art of bluffing and the art of "tells" and that means avoiding giving yours away and developing a way of memorizing those of your opponents.

There's a discussion of table limits, bankroll, projecting an image, controlling the size of the pot and the all-important big money days all players dream about--the often pressure-packed, energy-sapping tournaments.

There are eight pages of poker term--jargon you might be unfamiliar with--if you're going to play, you've got to learn the language.

Overall this is a fine, introductory book covering much territory from a man who knows the games and the players.

For those who can't wait for basketball, here's a quick look at five new magazines that have just arrived:

Street & Smith's Pro Basketball ($6.99, 148 pages) has predictions, analysis, schedules (month by month and day by day for each team from November to April), rosters, last year's statistics, the 2004-05 TV schedule for pro games; where to call for tickets and their price range.

Sporting News Pro Basketball ($6.98, 120 pages) has predictions, analysis, schedule (month by month and day by day, last year's statistics, media information including the team web site, rosters plus a small section for fantasy leaguers.

Athlon Sports Pro Basketball ($5.99, 168 pages) has predictions, analysis, with schedules in a full page wide format showing you the entire season from left to right in chronological order. Rosters and last year's statistics, plus small fantasy section included.

Lindy's Pro Basketball ($6.99, 144 pages) has predictions, analysis, schedules (day by day for the entire NBA beginning with season openers Nov. 2 when there are three games). Rosters, last year's statistics included with small fantasy league section.

Athlon Sports College Basketball ($5.99, 192 pages) contains eight pages of schedules (all subject to change of course, because as they went to press several conferences had yet to even finalize their league schedules). The magazine lists a website for updates of schedules. Schedules are listed by conference, then teams within conferences. Predictions, rosters, fresh faces with last year's statistics along with projections on the All-America teams and who'll be in both the NCAA March Madness and NIT tourneys. Contains top 25 colleges in recruiting, top 100 freshmen, top high school seniors and juniors. Lists new coaches and who they replaced at what school; players to watch and coaches who are on the hot seat. Small section on key players who have transferred from one school to another.

(The books mentioned here are available from Gambler's Book Shop, 630 South 11th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101. Call l-800-522-1777 from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday Pacific time to order, using only MasterCard, VISA or Discover card (no Amex accepted). You may order through the store web site at and view the store's 1,000 books, videos and computer software. You may also call or write and ask for the free 80-page catalog to be sent to you. The store, founded in 1964 by John and Edna Luckman, is located about two miles from Downtown Las Vegas, and the same distance from where the Strip begins, a block west of Maryland Parkway, just off Charleston Boulevard.)