Anybody who plays casino table games very often sees some odd things happen. I've heard from players who have told me of three of a kind on two and three hands in a row at Three Card Poker, a roulette player who accidentally wandered behind the table and was escorted away, and a blackjack player in a party pit who joined in with an Elvis imitator.
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Gavin is a craps player who said he'd never seen any of the strange things others talk about. But, he said in an email, that changed recently when another player was trying to get everyone to harness the forces of the universe to get the dice to land on the desired numbers.
"There was an older guy at the table who looked like a relic from Woodstock," Gavin wrote. "Long hair and gray beard, blue jeans, sandals, tie-dyed T-shirt. When he got the dice, he told everyone, 'I need positive energy. Everybody focus on the same number.'
"We all kind of looked at each other, not at all sure about this. Next to me, someone mumbled, 'Just shoot the dice,' but one guy finally said, 'Six!' The shooter said, 'All right. Everyone tell themselves mentally, six, six, six.'"
Rooting for the player to establish six as a point isn't exactly a novel concept. After all, six and eight are the next most frequently rolled numbers after seven. They're the numbers you'd most like to see as points.
So, Gavin said, he joined in filled his head with thoughts of six.
"He shoots, and sure enough, the dice come up six," Gavin said. "Shooter asked, 'Point right away, or other numbers?' And the first guy said, 'Six!'
"This time, you could hear people saying under their breath, 'six, six, six.'"
Six again! According to Gavin, at that point you could feel that everyone was willing to give this a try, weird as it seemed.
"Someone else said, 'Eight this time,'" Gavin said. "Everyone focused on eight, but the dice came up nine. Shooter said, 'Not strong enough. Really focus.' People chanted 'Nine' but he rolled an eight."
Now everyone had nine working on the pass line, and those who followed with a come bet had eight working, too. According to Gavin, there were several of those, along with a few who won place bets on eight.
"Obviously, this wasn't going to work every time, but we humored him," Gavin said. The shooter said, 'Let's do nine. Really, really focus hard,' and whether people were focusing hard or not, he rolled a winner nine.
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"Comeout, people chanted six, and he rolled six. Then he got his eight where some had comes and places, then a winner six on his point. All the time, people chanted the number he was going for."
Nothing lasts forever, and the shooter didn't stay hot much longer.
"He only made one more point before sevening out," Gavin said.
In the grand scheme of things, this was just a shooter who made a few points, and players made a little money on his roll. That's nothing to sneeze at, but that situation plays itself out thousands of times in casinos every day.
But for Gavin and those at the table with him, it was weird, wonderful and something to share and remember for a long time to come. And it gave me one more story for my collection, leaving me grateful for Gavin's email.
"While it lasted," Gavin said, "it was kind of eerie, kind of fun and certainly different."
Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).