Unlike blackjack or poker, craps legends aren’t as steeped in gambling lore. A big reason why is because craps doesn’t have official results like poker or famous card counters like blackjack. Instead, incredible craps feats are documented by word of mouth or people trying to sell books.
Regardless, famous craps players do exist. You can read about 7 of the most-famous gamblers to roll the dice below.
1 – Archie Karas
Archie Karas is not only a legendary craps player but also one of the most-notorious gamblers of all time. He’s best known for “The Run,” which saw him take a measly $50 and build it up to $40 million in the mid-1990s.
After a bad gambling streak in the L.A. area, Karas had just $50 left in his pockets. He used this money to drive to Las Vegas, where he found a poker friend willing to loan him $10,000.
Karas used this money to begin an incredible run. Over the next two years, he made $17 million through a combination of poker and hustling pool halls.
When people began refusing to play Karas, he switched to playing real money craps and immediately got hot. The Greek-born gambler ran his bankroll from $17 million to $40 million.
Karas then switched to baccarat and finally started losing. He then went back to the craps tables and tried reclaiming his glory, but the losing continued.
Eventually, Karas ended up losing all of his money. Despite losing a fortune, though, he continues gambling and searching for the next hot streak.
2 – William “The Suitcase Man” Bergstrom
William Bergstrom is one of the most-fascinating and tragic stories in gambling history. He’s also potentially the first person to ever place a $1 million craps bet.
Bergstrom’s gambling story begins in 1980 when he took out a $777,000 loan for a real estate venture. Instead of using the money on real estate, though, he took the money to Binion’s Gambling Hall for a craps session.
Bergstrom brought two suitcases into the Las Vegas casino, including one for money and an empty one for potential winnings. He earned the nickname “Suitcase Man” in the process.
The Texas native wagered all $777,000 on pass line. He then collected the $777k in winnings and left the casino without offering his name.
After a few years spent traveling the world, Bergstrom came back to Binion’s with $538,000 in a suitcase. He placed this entire amount on pass line again and won. Bergstrom made a few smaller wagers and won these as well, running up his win total to $655,000.
He showed up to Binion’s again in late 1984 with $1 million split between cash, checks, and gold. Bergstrom wagered the entire amount on pass line and unfortunately lost this time around.
Having been suicidal for years—hence the all-or-nothing bets—Bergstrom sadly took his life shortly after the loss in 1985.
3 – Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete has become famous through his many books on craps. Some of his most-famous works include Beat the Craps out of the Casinos, Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution, and Beat the One-Armed Bandits.
Scoblete contends that there’s an advantage technique in craps called controlled shooting (a.k.a. dice control). He claimed that one can win consistent profits through dice control.
Controlled shooting involves gripping the dice in a special way and tossing them with a smooth motion. The idea is to reduce the kickback off the wall and provide more-predictable results.
Scoblete’s writing style consists of unbelievable stories involving himself and a late gambler he calls “The Captain.” According to Scoblete, The Captain was the greatest controlled shooter of all time and made a fortune through craps.
The author also claims some pretty outstanding feats on his own, including an 89-roll streak before finally rolling a 7. This streak, however, pales in comparison to when The Captain allegedly rolled 147 straight times before sevening out.
It’s honestly hard to believe that either The Captain or even dice control are real. Regarding the latter, why don’t casinos kick people out for controlled shooting if it’s so potent?
Whether dice control is real or not, though, Frank Scoblete is undoubtedly one of the most-famous craps players. He literally wrote the book on his feats.
4 – Dominic LoRiggio
Scoblete isn’t just a one-man show. Instead, he’s been linked to Dominic “The Dominator” LoRiggio throughout much of his gambling career.
Like Frank, LoRiggio is also a notable author. He’s penned multiple books including Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution! – Win at Craps Using a Controlled Throw.
LoRiggio actually started out as a card counter in the late 1980s. After reading Scoblete’s books, though, he embarked on a journey towards becoming a dice control expert.
He practiced for around six months before becoming confident in his abilities. LoRiggio then joined a dice control team with Jerry L. Patterson.
Unsatisfied with Patterson’s conservative approach, The Dominator jumped shipped and linked up with Scoblete. This story serves as the basis for a History Channel special called Breaking Vegas: Dice Dominator.
LoRiggio and Scoblete have parlayed this fame into teaching Golden Touch courses for over $1,000 a pop. Given how questionable dice control is, it’s debatable on whether they’ve made more money playing craps or teaching it.
5 – Patricia Demauro
Patricia Demauro isn’t a famous gambler like Karas or a self-proclaimed controlled shooter. Instead, she’s just a grandma who lays claim to the biggest craps hot streak ever.
Hailing from New Jersey, Demauro went to Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in 2009 with a male friend. She played slot machines while he played table games.
Demauro eventually got bored, though, and wanted the friend to teach her how to play craps. Perhaps she should’ve been the teacher as she took the dice and didn’t give them back for four hours.
The gambling granny rolled the dice 154 times without a seven turning up. This event is the longest streak on record without sevening out.
It’s also an occurrence that only had 1 in 1.56 trillion odds of happening! If a novice players holds the record for the most-consecutive rolls, it makes you wonder about the purpose of dice control.
As for Demauro’s winnings, nobody knows exactly how much money she took home that night. Estimates claim that she may have won around $180,000, though.
6 – Stanley Fujitake
Before Patricia Demauro came along and obliterated craps records, there was Stanley Fujitake. Another amateur, Fujitake made 118 consecutive rolls before a 7 turned up.
The Hawaii native visited the California Casino & Hotel on this special day. He started out betting the lowest stakes possible at $5 per pass line bet.
As his hot streak began, though, Fujitake started increasing his bets higher and higher. Eventually, he was betting the $1,000 table max and still winning.
According to one of the California Casino dealers, onlookers began crowding the table and betting on Fujitake’s rolls. Plenty of other gamblers made big profits on his stroke of good luck.
John Repetti, who managed California at the time, said that Fujitake left the casino with $30,000. Meanwhile, the house paid around $750,000 to the 30-40 people who were betting on Fujitake’s rolls.
7 – Jerry Patterson
Jerry L. Patterson is a pioneer in the world of controlled shooting. He began writing about dice control in the early 1990s and developed his own method called “Patterson Rhythm Roll” (PARR).
Patterson held workshops in the Las Vegas area to teach PARR to interested gamblers. Chris Pawlicki was one of his earliest students.
Pawlicki (a.k.a. “Sharpshooter”) was interested in becoming a professional gambler from the onset. His ambition towards the matter stood out in Patterson’s eyes.
Together, the pair formed a dice control team and began hitting the Vegas craps tables. They also started teaching the “Perfect Pitch Delivery” system together.
As mentioned before, Patterson required his team to use a conservative style. The “Rosebud Team” never risked more than $10 per bet.
This approach caused friction with LoRiggio, who later joined the Rosebud Team. He liked to bet big during hot streaks and celebrate excessively.
According to the Breaking Vegas: Dice Dominator special, LoRiggio felt that Patterson was holding him back. This is when The Dominator decided to break free.
But again, it’s highly debatable if any of these characters actually profited from controlled shooting. One thing is for sure, though: they’ve all made money selling courses and books on the subject.
The list of famous craps players includes an interesting mixture. Everybody from famous real money gamblers like Archie Karas to novices like Patricia Demauro have etched their names into history.
Then, you have the salesman-like figures like Scoblete, LoRiggio, and Patterson. They’ve used their fame and questionable accomplishments to sell lots of books and draw many course participants.
There’s also William Bergstrom’s story, one that ended in tragedy when he took his life after losing a million-dollar bet. According to those who knew Bergstrom, though, he was always planning on doing this if/when he lost.
In summary, legendary craps players come from all walks of life and have very different stories. Future legends could be playing on the tables right now.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …