Head to a casino and chances are one game stands out among the others in terms of excitement, shouting, celebrations, and general fun – the craps table. When a hot roll is going, players crowd around the action, cheering on the winners, clapping for another win, and generally having a great time as they rake in more chips with each winning roll.
Rolling those dice in some form as a gambling game dates back centuries. Players love the action as they hope to land on winning numbers and avoid “sevening out.” Good rolls can last several minutes and win players a nice stack of chips. But really good rolls can go even longer, with players at the table hitting it big on toss after toss of those dice.
Some craps rolls really stand out as some of the longest winning streaks on record at the dice table. Here’s a look at some of the biggest rolls in history.
Table of Contents
- Introduction – Simple Guide on How to Play Craps
- Atlantic City Star
- Stanley Fujitake and the California Casino
- High Roller Rolling
- Archie Karas Crushes … and Crashes
- Breaking the Bank
Introduction: Simple Guide on How to Play Craps
Those new to the game of craps may need just a bit of a lesson before checking out these massive runs at the table. The table may look intimidating with numerous options for bettors to play. However, there are only a few wagers that have the best odds and offer the player the best chance to win.
One of those is the “Pass Line.” A player making a bet on the Pass Line is betting with the shooter. For example, a roll may start out with a new shooter. A bettor may place the table minimum of $5 on the Pass Line. If the shooter rolls 2, 3, or 12 on the initial roll, known as the come-out roll, that bet is a loss. A 7 or 11 on the come-out roll is an even money win however.
If the shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, that becomes what is called the Point. Players can then make other wagers including taing “Odds” on the initial Pass Line bet. This is a multiple of that bet placed behind the Pass Line. This is one of the best bets in the casino because the player is paid the true odds of rolling that number:
- 6 to 5 on the 6 and 8
- 3 to 2 on the 5 and 9
- 2 to 1 on the 4 and 10
The shooter then continues rolling until one of things occurs: the point number is hit or the shooter rolls a 7, which means all bets on the shooter are lost. During a roll, players can also make other wagers including on the “Came Bar,” which acts the same as a “Pass Line” wager but in the middle of a roll already underway. Players can also “place” bets on any of the other possible numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10.
A player with a few numbers working can win more if the shooter keeps rolling and rolling without hitting a 7. Since there are more ways to make a 7 than any other number, six, many rolls don’t last too long. Since there are 36 possible combinations on the dice, a player has a 1/6 chance of rolling a 7. That calculates to a 16.67% of rolling a 7.
A player can expect to roll a 7 about once every 8.5 rolls. Rolls can be even shorter than that and extended rolls of the dice hitting multiple point numbers can be few and far between.
1 – Atlantic City Star
Who says a big bankroll is needed to win big at the casino. In May 2009, New Jersey’s Patricia Demauro had just a gambling bankroll of $100 when she and a friend headed to the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. The gambling grandmother headed to the craps table and couldn’t have imagined what would happen next.
Demauro rolled a massive 154 times for 25 point numbers stretched over four hours and 18 minutes. As in most of the rolls, the crowds and number of bettors at the table continued to grow. It’s reported that casino security even began to keep a watchful eye on the proceedings at the table.
Her run of luck topped a 20-year record set by Stanley Fujitake in Las Vegas (more on that roll below). Casino.org calculates the odds of such an amazing roll at 1 in 1.56 trillion. However, the exact figure won by Demauro remains a mystery. Neither she nor the casino ever divulged her winnings, but it’s safe to say it was quite a big multiple of that original hundred bucks. Some have estimated she made six figures, but the exact amount isn’t known.
No doubt the other players at the table were quite happy, as well as dealers who surely received massive donations in tips that night. When her streak finally came to an end, Borgata staff rewarded Demaruo with a well-deserved champagne toast.
2 – Stanley Fujitake and the California Casino
The California Casino in downtown Las Vegas caters to Hawaiian gamblers, even chartering flights in for those from the Aloha State. The property is owned by Boyd Gaming and even features Hawaiian decor with dealers wearing tropical shirts. Oahu native Stanley Fujitake was a regular dice player at the casino and strolled up to the craps table around midnight on May 28, 1989.
Fujitake placed $5 on the pass line and began shooting, in the process becoming a Las Vegas legend. Fujitake continued tossing the dice for the next three hours as the crowd around the table continued to grow. Dealers at the table were even amazed at what they were seeing. They struggled to keep up with bets at the tables as more players began working their way into every possible spot at the table.
Guido Metzger was working in the casino that night and later became director of casino operations for Boyd Gaming’s downtown properties. He described some of what went down that night in a 2014 issue of the Boyd Buzz company newsletter.
“They had trouble keeping up with the chip payouts that night,” Metzger said. “My table was empty. But there were at least 30 to 40 people trying to place bets at his table. They couldn’t get fills to the table fast enough and had to start issuing scrip [casino credit] because not enough people were going to the cage and cashing in their chips.”
When this hot roll came to an end, Fujitake had rolled the dice 118 times for 18 pass line winners. After starting his betting at the table minimum, he had eventually increased his bet to the table maximum of $1,000 when his run finally came to an end. He took home about $30,000 that night while others scored even bigger. The California paid out about $750,000 in total to players at the table.
Fujitake was dubbed “The Golden Arm” by the casino and his amazing roll is memorialized inside a glass trophy case. The shooter’s hand was cast in bronze holding those winning dice. Small golden plaques now display the names of players who become members of the Golden Arm Club for rolling an hour or more. The club adds an average of one player per month.
3 – High Roller Rolling
Sometimes big bettors can win truly massive sums of money and that was the case in June 2011 when a man walked into the Tropicana in Atlantic City to play some high stakes craps. The property was known to allow nosebleed level gambling and that’s just what happened at the dice table.
The well-heeled dice player bet $100,000 per toss and after about six hours walked away with about $5.3 million. Despite the massive loss, the property made no changes to its policy of accepting supersized wagers.
“That’s just how it goes sometimes; if you bet more, you can win more,” Tropicana CEO Tony Rodio told ABC News at the time. “We have a strategy of offering the most aggressive and highest table games limits in the Atlantic City market and we’re not going to change that. If someone wants to take the shot, we’ll take the action.”
After the massive win. the casino asked the player back for another round of high stakes gambling. Whether he returned isn’t known, but staff certainly benefited from his massive run at the dice table. The player left a dealer tip of $150,000 before hitting the exit doors.
4 – Archie Karas Crushes … and Crashes
“The Run” by professional gambler Archie Karas remains a Las Vegas legend. A regular poker player in the Los Angeles area, the Greek-American claimed to have won millions at times while going broke at other times. In 1992, he’d been on a major losing streak at the L.A. poker tables. Down to his last $50, Karas decided to drive to Las Vegas to see if his luck might turn around.
His run at the poker tables turned out well as he parlayed his $50 into a $10,000 loan, and then went on a massive run to get that total up to $17 million playing poker and billiards. Karas was always willing to wager huge amounts and raise the stakes as needed.
After his high stakes poker action dried up, Laraas turned to the craps table at Binion’s Horseshoe, which was known to take the largest bets in Las Vegas. The property, however, limited Karas to $100,000 a roll on the Pass Line and $300,000 on the Come Bar. However, Karas wasn’t allowed to make any odds bets.
Despite that, he continued to shine at the tables. Legend has it, as his gambling run continued Karas was winning millions at the craps table and traveled with much of that in his car in cash, carrying a gun to defend himself and his winnings. By the end of his winning streak, Karas had scored $40 million. The winnings wouldn’t last however.
The Run came to an end in 1995 as he lost $11 million at craps, a few more million at poker, and then $17 million at the baccarat tables. After a break in Greece, Karas headed back to the tables with his last $12 million. He again headed to the Horseshoe to play craps and baccarat at $300,000 per wager. This time, Karas felt what most gamblers eventually encounter at a casino – the house edge. Soon all his winnings were gone, an unprecedented gambling rise and fall.
“You’ve got to understand something,” Karas told Cigar Aficionado magazine. “Money means nothing to me. I don’t value it. I’ve had all the material things I could ever want. Everything. The things I want, money can’t buy: health, freedom, love, happiness. I don’t care about money, so I have no fear. I don’t care if I lose it.”
5 – Breaking the Bank
In his classic book Scarne’s Complete Guide to Gambling, John Scarne details one of the largest craps rolls and wins he’d ever seen. The run of fortune came at the 86 Club in Miami in 1947 and is remembered as the “Unfinished Hand.” The table maximum was $1,000 and several high rollers were playing big at the table one night.
He described the group as including several “racketeers” and at 2 a.m. a car dealer from Detroit began shooting the dice. He threw for an hour and half in this underground casino before something truly strange occurred.
“… Charley Thomas and Jack Fidlander, the casino owners, walked over to the dice tables and announced, ‘Gentlemen, that’s all for tonight. The bank is broke.” The operators lost a total of $300,000 in that 90 minutes, almost $3.8 million in today’s dollars.