Although not as famous as poker, blackjack or slot machines, craps is still one of the world’s favorite land-based and online casino games and has stories of its own to tell. There are enough famous and infamous players, movies and interesting wager names to keep anyone enthralled. These include the likes of Patricia Demauro, whose four-hour streak at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in 2009 netted her an estimated $180,000.
Come take a closer look at craps players, some interesting stories, the people involved, the game itself and what makes it such an exciting casino game to play.
Who Invented Craps?
There are many different historical accounts about the history of craps, but the modern version is the most compelling. Did you know that craps as players know it, is said to have been invented at the start of the second decade of the 1900s by one John H. Winn, an American bookmaker and dice maker? While the exact origins are uncertain, Winn revolutionized the game by introducing the “Don’t Pass Bet” and designing the modern craps table. His version of the game continued to flourish and spread throughout the French Louisiana colony of Arcadia, from where it later spread to the Mississippi River in gambling boats. The boom of Las Vegas gambling also played a huge role in establishing the game’s popularity.
How Does Craps Work?
Basically, the roller of the dice called the shooter, rolls the dice and then rolls them again, trying to get the same number of points they got on the first roll — but before rolling a total of seven. Punters can bet on the outcome of the shooter’s rolls, that is, on whether or not they will cast the required number or not. If the shooter gets seven before rolling their points, they lose control of the dice in what’s called a “seven out.” The dice then pass on to a new shooter. If you’re just starting out, it’s advisable to read up on the best tips for beginner craps players to ensure that you know what’s happening at the craps table.
Here are some of the betting terms that a professional craps player and those who just play the game regularly use when placing their wagers:
- Pass Line Bet: Players bet that on the first roll, a total of 7 or 11 wins, while a total of two, three and twelve lose.
- Don’t Pass Bet: Players bet that on the first roll, two or three wins, twelve is a push, and seven and eleven lose.
- Come Bet: The same rules apply as in a Pass Line Bet.
- Don’t Come Bet: This is similar to the Don’t Pass bet.
- Field Bet: If any numbers in the field box come out, the player wins. A field bet can also be called a “One Roll Bet.”
- Place Bet: Bets made on the point numbers, that is four, five, six, eight, nine or ten, that are not contract bets.
- Proposition Bet: One roll bet. Here, the numbers are two, three, seven, eleven and twelve.
Big Names in the Game
The craps casino game has its own set of heroes from all walks of life — businessmen, grannies, and even professional craps players who crossed the gambling divide from one game to another. It’s known that New Jersey’s Patricia Demauro, the grandmother who got bored with slot machines and turned a winning hand to craps, but have you heard of Stanley Fujitake, Frank Scoblete, Archie Karas or William Bergstrom? These and others have raised the bar in the game and may even have inspired other gamblers to switch to craps.
In 1980, William Bergstrom arrived in Las Vegas with two suitcases. One was full of cash, and the other one was empty — ostensibly for the money he was dead set on winning. This earned him the nickname ‘Suitcase Man.’
At his first stop, Binion’s Gambling Hall, he placed the entire content of the first case on a pass-line bet at the professional craps table. He made back his $777k in winnings and left the casino, only to return a few years later to repeat the feat, albeit with a lesser amount.
In 1984, Bergstrom returned to Binion’s with $1 million in cash, checks and gold. He placed another all-or-nothing pass-line bet, but this time he lost and couldn’t recoup his loss.
Author Frank Scoblete is probably better known for his books than anything else. His claim to fame is that a person can obtain a certain outcome based on the way the dice are held when they’re cast.
Known as controlled shooting, Scoblete’s method reduced the kickback off the wall and provided more predictable results. The jury is still out on whether this tactic really works, but it did seem to work for him. For a while, anyway. He enjoyed an 89-roll streak before finally rolling a 7.
Scoblete took Dominic ‘The Dominator’ LoRiggio under his wing in the 1980s and the two took to the professional craps table with the controlled shooting method. They also teamed up to teach Golden Touch seminars, also advertised as “intense two-day dice control classes.”
Before the gran from New Jersey, there was the uncle from Hawaii, Stanley Fujitake. Starting with the lowest possible bets, Fujitake began winning. As he did so, he changed tactics and increased his bet until he was betting the $1,000 table max — and still winning.
News of his streak hit the casino floor, and onlookers began betting on his outcomes. His hot streak lasted for 118 rolls until the unlucky 7 reared its head — but he did make many punters quite rich that day.
Craps on Screen
Over the years, craps has also left its mark on the big screen. Perhaps one of the most famous fictional gamblers ever is British super-spy James Bond. In the 1971’s “Diamonds Are Forever,” Bond comes up against the femme fatale, Plenty O’Toole, in a game of craps. Against all odds, but not unexpectedly, Bond wins when he raises a bet to $10,000.
In “Ocean’s 13,” the main characters rig the dice of the casino table game so that they roll the way they need them to in order to win. The method they use would never really work in real life, but it makes for great cinema.
Another great scene featuring craps is when Sharon Stone comes up against Robert de Niro and shakes things up enough to make his character fall in love with her in the Martin Scorsese-directed film “Casino.”
Looking for a Little Craps Action?
With always-on availability, craps games on online casino platforms are fast becoming a favorite way to play. BetMGM has become a platform of choice for the best online casino games, as well as live dealer casino games. Simply register at BetMGM and choose which online casino game you want to play. Roll the dice and ask Lady Luck to be on your side.