Who’s the Best Craps Player in the World?

by Jeff Harris
on April 27, 2018

Craps isn’t like blackjack, poker, or sports betting, where there are clearly defined skill elements that separate good and bad players. Instead, craps is widely considered a game that deals with dice probabilities and luck.

This makes it difficult to determine the best craps player in the world.

Figuring out the world’s top craps player largely depends upon if you believe in an advantage play technique called controlled shooting (a.k.a. dice control).

Let’s discuss the merits of dice control along with those who are considered to be the world’s best players. We’ll also cover three amateur players who’ve set records and crush casinos.

How Do You Determine a Great Craps Player?

Craps strategy revolves around making the right bets. Moreover, there’s nothing separating players beyond who makes wagers with the lowest house edge.

This means that you could walk into a casino and identify the top players based on who’s making pass line bets and backing them with odds.

But there exists a dice control community who believes that you can influence dice roll probabilities.

These controlled shooters claim that one can change the outcome by holding the dice in a specific manner and practicing one’s toss. This concept is steeped in the logic of sports like bowling or pool, where one can improve their technique and results over time.

To believe in dice control, you also have to believe that it’s possible to influence probabilities when throwing dice off a rubberized, diamond patterned wall. And if you think that controlled shooting is real, then this is definitely a way to determine the world’s best craps player.

Is Controlled Shooting Real?

The biggest problem with controlled shooting is that it’s not easily measured like blackjack card counting or poker. These games offer tangible evidence showing that skilled card counters and poker players make long term profits.

Dice control is different, though, because the jury is out on whether this technique is even real. Furthermore, land based casinos don’t monitor controlled shooters like they do card counters.

Controlled shooters don’t claim to be able to influence results on every roll. But they do purport that dice probabilities can be manipulated through this practice.

A pair of dice offers 36 combinations, including six different ways to make a 7. A dice control expert’s goal is to beat the odds and give themselves a long-term advantage.

Here’s an example:

  • The average player rolls a 7 on six out of 36 tosses (6:1 ratio).
  • If you’re skilled enough to throw five 7s, then your ratio is 6:25:1.
  • This is more than enough to beat the house edge on bets that involve avoiding 7s.

Controlled shooting begins with setting the dice, or holding them in a specific manner. There are numerous ways to set the dice.

One of the most popular ways is the 3 V shape, where one holds the dice so that the threes form of a “V.” This conceals the 7s while showing other probabilities like a six (5 & 1), hard six (3 & 3), eight (6 & 2), and hard eight (4 & 4).

Once you’re comfortable with your set, you should begin practicing your roll. The goal is to develop a toss that keeps the dice tight and hits the back wall with minimal force.

If you can do this, then you’ll have a much better shot at throwing the dice with consistency and producing desired results. Many dice control advocates rig a homemade craps table so that they can practice away from the casino.

Of course, whether you go to this much effort depends upon if you truly believe in controlled shooting. And it’s very hard to prove that dice control actually works.

Dominic LoRiggio may be the World’s Best Craps Player

Much of what goes into determining the top craps player depends on if you believe in dice control. I’ll suspend disbelief while discussing some of the world’s most notable craps players.

Dominic “The Dominator” LoRiggio is often given credit for being the top controlled shooter.

LoRiggio has authored several books, including Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution! – Win at Craps Using a Controlled Throw, and is a renowned expert on dice control.

LoRiggio’s gambling career began in the late 1980s as a card counter. He eventually became interested in craps after reading multiple books by Frank Scoblete.

He started practicing controlled shooting in the late 90s. LoRiggio says that it took approximately six months of practice before he became really good.

He met Scoblete on the Las Vegas craps tables and the pair began playing together. LoRiggio recalled how they each rolled for half an hour straight during their first session together.

LoRiggio preaches practice regarding controlled shooting. And he avidly suggests that you can influence results, even with casinos requiring that your dice tosses hit the back wall.

Most of the tales involving LoRiggio’s success come from himself, Scoblete, and other controlled shooting experts.

The Dominator says that he once had 56 straight rolls before the first 7 came up. LoRiggio also says that he had one session where he rolled 30, 33, and 38 consecutive times back to back to back.

Thanks to his reputation as a craps master, LoRiggio was once featured in a History Channel special along with Scoblete.

LoRiggio says that the show made it wrongly seem like he was part of a dice control team. But he also praises them for doing an accurate job on portraying his strategy and how he acts in the casino.

Today, LoRiggio teaches Golden Arm Touch seminars with Scoblete to make a living. He also remains a staunch supporter of controlled shooting.

Other Notable Craps Players

Frank Scoblete

As mentioned above, Scoblete is another famed craps player and dice control expert. Scoblete lays claim to an 89-roll streak without a 7 being rolled.

While Scoblete is a respected craps player, he’s even better known as an author.

Some of his books include Beat the Craps out of the Casinos, Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution, and Beat the One-Armed Bandits.

Scoblete often speaks of a mysterious craps legend named the “Captain”.

He claims that the Captain is the greatest craps player he’s ever seen. Scoblete references a time when the Captain tossed the dice 147 consecutive times before seven-ing out.

Richard Favela

Richard Favela was featured in a 2017 LA Times piece about controlled shooting.

Favela has earned the Golden Arm award four times in his career. Anybody who’s rolled for one hour or more is eligible for this honor.

“If you place the dice a certain way, the odds of throwing a seven are less,” says Favela.

“You see a lot of people just throwing the dice any which way and there’s just hoping on luck. But when you try and control the dice, it works.”

Favela also claims that he “never lost” within the first eight years that he started playing at the California Casino & Hotel.

Garton Mau

Garton Mau was introduced in the LA Times article as a 4-time Golden Arm champion.

He proved his skills to the media by producing 72 consecutive rolls without seven-ing out. His run that night lasted nearly an hour.

The multi winner of California Casino’s Golden Arm tournament continues to play around the Vegas area.

Three Amateurs Who Crushed Craps

Patricia Demauro

Many craps controlled shooters brag about their long-lasting rolls. But the longest streak in history belongs to a complete amateur named Patricia Demauro.

According to Time, at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino& Spa on May 23, 2009. She lasted for 4 hours and 18 minutes, breaking the world record for both the most consecutive rolls and the longest time rolling.

Stanford University statistics Professor Thomas Cover says that the odds of this happening are a one in 1.56 trillion. Your odds are far better of winning the lottery (one in 100 million) or being struck by lightning (one in a million).

“Let’s say we have a million gamblers trying a thousand events at any one time,” said Cover. “That’s a billion different rolls of craps.” Out of a billion different games, the probability of getting an event that special is reduced to one in 1,000. “It’s not out of the realm of possibility.”

What makes the story more amazing is that Demauro did all this on just her second ever craps session.

The New Jersey grandmother went to the Borgata with her friend, John Capra. She initially started playing penny slot machines, only to later try craps with Capra after she got bored.

Demauro received the dice at 8:13pm and started with a bankroll worth $100. She didn’t even know the best wagers and relied on Capra’s advice.

Demauro established a point number of eight. And this is where her journey began since she didn’t roll a seven until 12:21am.

“There was a woman there, and we happened to catch each other’s eyes,” Demauro says, “She smiled at me, and I smiled and said, ‘I don’t know how to play the game.'”

Her record of 156 straight rolls is both an official and unofficial record.

The previous unofficial record was set by the Captain in 2005 when he tossed 147 straight times (as per Scoblete). The official record is 118 rolls by a player named Stanley Fujitake in 1989.

Demauro wouldn’t say how much money she made. However, experts believe that she likely turned her initial $100 bankroll into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Stanley Fujitake

Before Patricia Demauro, Stanley Fujitake was the record setting amateur who defied all odds. He rolled 118 consecutive times before seven-ing out, which became the official casino record at the time.

The Oahu native was playing craps at the California Casino & Hotel on May 28, 1989. His legendary streak began with a $5 bet on pass line.

Fujitake began increasing his pass line bets as he continued rolling winners. He increased his wager to the $1,000 table maximum to take full advantage of the hot streak.

Guido Metzger, who was dealing at a nearby table that night, noticed how more and more people began squeezing onto Fujitake’s table.

“They had trouble keeping up with the chip payouts that night,” said Metzger, who now manages Boyd Gaming’s downtown Vegas casinos.

“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.”

Fujitake had rolled for almost three hours before his streak finally came to an end.

“Half an hour is average, over an hour is amazing, but more than three hours is totally astounding,” said California casino manager John Repetti at the time.

Fujitake earned $30,000 on what started with a simple $5 bet. The casino paid another $750,000 in winnings to other players who made bets on his rolls.

Fujitake passed away in 2000, but his legend still lives on in the craps community.

Anonymous High Roller Who Won $5.3 Million at Tropicana Atlantic City

In June 2011, a craps high roller won $5.8 million from the Tropicana Casino and Resort. This came just months after famed blackjack player Don Johnson burned the Atlantic City casino for $5.8 million.

Tony Rodio, Tropicana’s CEO, spoke with the Press of Atlantic City about the matter. And he said that the player got hot during a six-hour craps session.

The high roller was really excited about the win and left a $150,000 tip that was divided up among the Tropicana dealers.

Rodio didn’t give the craps player’s name for privacy purposes. But he did say that it isn’t Johnson, who went on a $15 million blackjack win streak in 2010 and ’11.

The CEO added that the craps player will be invited back any time they want. The anonymous winner was betting $100,000 at the time of their windfall.

Tropicana is known as a destination for high stakes gamblers. And they kept this tradition going by inviting the $5.3 million winner back.

Can You Play Craps like the World’s Best?

Let’s assume that dice control doesn’t really work. If this is the case, then you can play like any of the world’s best craps players simply by making the right bets.

But what wagers do you need to make to lower the house edge? Let’s start with the two basic craps bets:

  • Pass line = 1.41% house edge
  • Don’t pass line = 1.36% house edge

How Does Pass Line Work?

A pass line bet is placed on the come-out roll, which is the first roll of a new round.

Pass line wins when a 7 or 11 is tossed on the come out, and it loses when a 2, 3, or 12 are thrown. If you roll any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10), a point is established.

You then need the shooter to toss the point number before a 7 in order to win your pass line bet. This wager pays 1:1 and has 251:244 odds of winning.

How does Don’t Pass Line Work?

A don’t pass line bet is also placed on the come-out roll. Don’t pass line wins when a 2 or 3 is rolled, loses when a 7 or 11 is tossed, and pushes when a 12 is rolled.

Any other number establishes a point. And you need a 7 to be rolled before the point number to win.

Don’t pass line pays 1:1 for a win and offers 976:949 odds of winning.

Back These Bets with Odds

Pass line and don’t pass line already offer you a good chance to win. But you can lower the house edge even further by backing these bets with odds.

Odds is a side wager that you put behind either pass line or don’t pass line once the point is established. You should notify the dealer before putting an odds wager behind your original pass line or don’t pass line bet.

The best thing about odds is that it doesn’t have a house edge and pays at true odds of winning. The payouts depend upon if you’re backing pass line (a.k.a. “laying odds”) or don’t pass line (a.k.a. “laying odds”).

Here are the payouts for when you place odds behind a pass line wager:

  • 2 to 1 on point numbers of 4 and 10.
  • 3 to 2 on points of 5 and 9.
  • 6 to 5 on points of 6 and 8.

Here are payouts for when you put odds behind a don’t pass line bet to:

  • 1 to 2 for point numbers of 4 and 10.
  • 2 to 3 for points of 5 and 9.
  • 5 to 6 for points of 6 and 8.

The amount of odds that you can bet differs based on the casino. Many casinos have 5x or fewer odds.
A select few Vegas casinos offer 20x odds and above. These include Main Street Station (20x odds) and the Cromwell (100x).

Ideally, you’ll take the highest odds you can get because this lowers the house edge more. The table below shows how low the house advantage can be when you take more odds:

Odds Pass Line/Come Don’t Pass Line/Don’t Come
0x 1.41% house edge 1.36% house edge
1x 0.848% 0.682%
2x 0.606% 0.455%
Full Double Odds 0.572% 0.431%
3x 0.471% 0.341%
3x 4x 5x 0.374% 0.273%
5x 0.326% 0.227%
10x 0.184% 0.124%
20x 0.099% 0.065%
100x 0.021% 0.014%

The obvious drawback is that you have to bet more money when you take higher odds. And even without a house advantage, this gets really expensive.

For example, you’d need to bet an extra $200 and put 20x odds behind a $10 wager. But if you can afford to take the highest odds, then it’ll make you more likely to win and be a better player.

Conclusion

Much of what goes into determining the world’s best craps player depends upon whether you believe in controlled shooting.

Those who believe can point to Dominic LoRiggio as the top player. After all, he has the strongest reputation among the control shooting community.

Other notable players who can challenge for the top spot include Frank Scoblete, Richard Favela, and Garton Mau.
If you don’t believe in controlled shooting, then anybody who makes the best craps wagers can be a top player. This involves making a pass line or don’t pass line bet backed with high odds.

The most serious craps player should head to Las Vegas and take advantage of the highest odds they can. Or you can simply bet whatever odds you can afford.

In any case, craps offers a low house edge that can make anybody feel like a pro.

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