The Captain died on February 10, 2010. A private memorial service was held with family and family friends. Satch, the youngest member of the Captains crew, and I attended. He was cremated and buried in a military cemetery.
of Craps called me at 11 last night, which is late for him and late for me, and
he wanted to know if I wanted to make a trip with him to Atlantic City very
early the next morning. It would just be a single day, to play, to talk, to
walk, to reminisce. Of course I said, "Of course!" I never miss an
opportunity to meet with the Captain, even if it means a day trip that takes
three and a half hours. From Long Island to Atlantic City is a long haul.
I had just
gotten back from a graduation party for my niece, Melanie, and I was tired. I
had not practiced my dice throw since May when we did The Frank Scoblete
Gamblers Jamboree in Canada. I’d been working on a new book and I had not
planned to play casino craps until I got to Vegas in mid-September so, sad but true, I
got lazy. I decided that a late night’s practice would probably not help me
much since I had to get up at 4 o’clock the next morning. Better to go to sleep
and dream that I don’t embarrass myself the next day in Atlantic City.
By now just
about all savvy craps players know who the Captain is – aside from being the
greatest casino craps player of all time, the Captain is my mentor; the man who taught
me more about proper gambling in practice and in theory than I have learned
from all the books and articles I have ever read.
I have met most
of the greats of casino gambling but the Captain stands alone. I am reminded of
Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, when the young boy, Manolin, is
expressing fear about the Yankees not being able to win the pennant. The old
man Santiago states, “There are many good ballplayers and some great ones, but
there is only DiMaggio.”
just a great ballplayer; he was the ballplayer. “…there is only
There is only
The Captain is
the true master of the game of craps. Long before I wrote my first words in the
late 1980s about how to beat the modern casino craps game with dice control,
the Captain and the Arm were in fact beating Atlantic City casinos steadily
from the late 1970s and through the 1980s and into the mid-90s when the Arm had
to retire due to severe arthritis. I chronicle much of this in my book The
Craps Underground: The Inside Story of How Dice Controllers are Winning
Millions from the Casinos!
I was happy that
the Captain shared his secrets with me, that he allowed me to write about how
to succeed at casino craps, and I was privileged to see him and the Arm shoot
countless times over those years. The Captain is a great shooter; but the Arm
was the greatest I ever saw and I have seen the great ones, many of whom are my
colleagues in Golden Touch Craps.
The Captain, now
past the mid-80-year-old mark and heading I hope for 90, has lost just about
all of his high-rolling friends, known as “the Crew,” whom I wrote about in my
first book, Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos: How to Play Craps and Win!
Jimmy P., Little
Vic, Russ the Breather, Frank the fearful, the Doctor, and the Judge are all
playing craps in the heavenly kingdom where dice control isn’t necessary since
all rolls are perfect. One remaining crewmember of the Captain’s, known as
Satch, is now an instructor in the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars. He
was the youngest of the Captain’s crew. I wrote about him in Beat the Craps
Out of the Casinos, too, using his real name of Dave.
did not have to drive down to Atlantic City. The Captain had the limo pick me
up at 4:30 AM and then we picked him up in New York City. Usually the Captain
drives down to AC with his wife, or he takes the high roller bus where all the
“old guys” (as he calls them) play poker on their way to the shore. What I find
fascinating about him is the fact that despite his staggering wins at the game
and his success in his businesses, the Captain doesn’t have that high roller
“give me, give me” attitude. He is a humble man. Greatness and humility are a
rare combination in the gambling world where the biggest morons often have the
most bloated egos.
In the limo on
the way to Atlantic City, the Captain said, “I’m sad, Frank. The Arm is very
sick and it doesn’t look as if she is going to improve. Her husband thinks she
is preparing to go.”
The Arm is also in her
mid-80s but the years have not been kind to her. I saw her about a year ago and
she was shrunken, bent, and a little distant as if she were having a hard time
holding herself together. The Captain can walk 8 miles up and down the
Boardwalk in Atlantic City, but the Arm now can barely walk across a room. I
don’t know if it was my father or the Captain who first said to me, “Getting
old is a slow process but one day, you fall off a cliff.” The Arm seems to have
fallen off the cliff.
“What does she
have?” I asked him.
“Age,” he said.
The Captain had
a wistful look. I changed the subject.
keeping track of your rolls?” I asked.
now, I use chips like you said.”
In order to tell
how many numbers you’ve hit during a roll at the casino craps table, the easiest way
is to put chips aside as you roll. You use one-dollar chips (usually white) for
one through four, then a red chip for a five, add white for six through nine,
then two reds for 10 and so on. When the roll gets to 25, use a green chip. It
is an easy way to count your rolls without actually having to count your rolls.
If you are playing with a friend at the table, the friend can do the counting.
Seeing one or two or three green chips set aside is exhilarating. When I had my
89-roll hand in December 2004, seeing three green chips almost took my breath
away. I was hoping to get to a black chip but as the dice gods would have it I sevened
out before that happened.
Dominator scolded me
when I sevened out: “You couldn’t get to a hundred?”
“In the old
days,” smiled the Captain, “the fun of going to Atlantic City was that I played
with a whole bunch of friends and I also was able to win money. I had
friendship and a challenge all wrapped together. It went very fast. The time.
It does fly. I
am at the stage in my own life where I see that time has flown. My sons…my little boys whose small hands I could consume in mine – are now men. I see pictures of
them when they were little and I can still feel the feel of them from
those times. I can almost go back in time, almost but not quite. I am a
“You know,” said
the Captain, “I live more in the past now than in the present. I watch the old
movies. Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Ronald Colman. I don’t even know today’s
stars. My generation merely lingers now. We fought Hitler, the Japanese, and
Mussolini. We defeated the great enemies of mankind and now we just linger.”
City, the time was only 8:30 AM when we checked in but the casino had a suite
ready for us. One of the Captain’s good friends is a high ranker at one of the
biggest casinos and he made sure that the two-story suite was ready for the
Captain’s day at the Queen of Resorts.
“Let’s put our
stuff in the room,” said the Captain. Room? It was six rooms! But to the
Captain it was a room.
“Then let’s take
a little walk,” said the Captain.
“Fine,” I said.
We put our bags
in the suite. The Captain took one of the bedrooms; I took the other. Mine was
actually the better bedroom as I had my own Jacuzzi in it.
We took a
walk along the Boardwalk. The Captain and his departed Crew owned this town.
They were thousand dollar and more bettors.
City is actually nicer now than it was in 1978 when it was really a ghetto,”
said the Captain. “The buildings in those days were falling down all over town.
It isn’t Vegas but Vegas isn’t Vegas anymore either.”
We walked for
about an hour and a half and the Captain recommended that we go back to the
room, rest a little, and then hit the tables. The Captain is a firm believer
that you have to play rested and that you must never allow the casino’s
24-hour-a-day rhythm overwhelm you. I learned that lesson the hard way when my
wife, the beautiful A.P. and I lost all our gambling money on one trip because
I had played stupidly – over-betting my bankroll and going on tilt. The Captain
taught me then how to keep my normal human rhythm in the face of the 24-hour
bam, bam, bam of the casino.
In the suite,
the Captain went to his room. I lay down on the bed in my room. The Captain did
seem wistful today. His perkiness was not at the usual level. The Arm’s
deterioration must be weighing heavily on him. He and the Arm had won millions
together. They had been on the crest of the first wave of the dice control
but I never think of people dying. I never think of myself as dying.
I just counted
up the people I have been close to who have died. I number only 20 and that
includes my grandparents.
The Captain went
to a high school class reunion a few years ago and there were only five of his
classmates left alive. Now we just linger. The Captain was a part of the
greatest generation. He had been in the Army Air Corps in World War II. He had
been shot down behind enemy lines in the Philippines and had to survive for
more than a week hiding from the Japanese soldiers who scoured the jungle
looking for Americans who had been shot down – he caught malaria to boot. He
saw the Enola Gay land at his Army air base. He served in Japan during the
occupation. I wrote his biography in Forever Craps: The Five-Step
Advantage-Play Method. He’s a fascinating guy.
Now we just
An hour or so
later, we were heading for the casino floor. The Captain said he had actually
fallen asleep. I must have too since the time went by in the blink of an eye.
The casino was
crowded but we found our two spots open at a 12-foot table. I was on stick left
one and the Captain was on stick right one. Something else I noticed. The
Captain had gotten shorter in the past few years. He used to be my height, now
he was an inch or two shorter. He was in good shape but time had also
diminished him somewhat.
The pit boss
came over and said hello to him. The Captain took out a marker. The Captain’s
betting in the past few years has decreased somewhat from his glory days of the
1980s. I took a marker as well.
City, it usually takes a while for the marker to arrive. Unlike Vegas, you
don’t get your chips until you actually sign the marker. So we had to wait.
While we were waiting two hosts came over to say hello to the Captain. They
knew him as “the Captain” too. What interests me all the more is why haven’t
the people who know who the Captain is tell others? These two hosts, long time
Atlantic City people, knew him. Three of the casinos biggest honchos in
Atlantic City know who he is, too. Indeed, he has some good friends in Atlantic
City who work for the casinos. They were kids when he started his craps career,
some of them craps dealers, and now they run places. And they still come to him
We waited for
our markers as the hosts departed.
No big deal. The
dice were two people to my left with a squirrelly fellow. He established the 5
as his point, rolled a couple of times, and sevened out. I wanted the markers
to come to us just as the Captain was about to roll. Then we wouldn’t be
wasting any money on random rollers.
When the shooter
just before the Captain got the dice, our markers came.
“Sorry this took
so long," said the floorwoman. “We’re a little understaffed today.”
signed for his marker. I signed for my marker.
We were playing
at a 5X odds table with a $10 minimum bet. Both of us 5-Counted the
shooter next to the Captain. He made it to the 4-count and sevened out.
Now it was the
Captain’s turn. I placed a $15 Pass Line bet and the Captain placed a $30 Pass
Line bet. The Captain rolled a 6 as his point. The Captain sets the 3-V set at
all times, even though he keeps his bets off during the Come-Out roll, which is
perhaps not the optimal way to play when setting dice that way. However, the
Captain thinks of the Come-Out roll as a rest period when he shoots. I studied
him a few times during his rolls that day and indeed on the Come-Out roll, his
intensity is not as great. He is resting.
He put up a $300
bet on the 8 and he bought the 4 for $55, paying a two-dollar vig. He put $250
in odds behind his Pass Line bet of 6. His betting today was more than I had
seen him bet in the past few years and I wondered why he had upped his action.
I had $125 in odds behind the point and I had $150 on the 8. I also bought the
4 for $55, as I would mirror the Captain’s betting. If you are going to
imitate, you might as well imitate the best.
$15 or $30 on the Pass/Come at a 5X odds game, the casino we were playing in
allowed you to “push the house” up on the odds. So you could take $75 for $15
on the Pass/Come or $150 for $30 on the Pass/Come on the 4 and 10, $100 or $200
on the 5 and 9, and $125 or $250 on the 6 and 8. The Captain is a master at
“pushing the house,” as he was the first player to get Atlantic City casinos to
allow you to buy the 4 or 10 for $35 paying just a $1 vig. He even pushed some
casinos to allow you to buy the 4 or 10 for $39 for the same one-dollar vig.
rolled a 5, a 10, and then he sevened out.
It was my turn.
Frank?” said a voice next to me.
“Yes?” I said.
Frasca,” he said. “I went to your Jamboree two years ago.”
“Hi,” I said.
“Put your Pass
Line bet up, sir,” said the stickman tapping the Pass Line with the stick.
I placed my $15
on the Pass Line.
“You going to
get in?” I asked.
“He’s coming to
lunch with me,” said the woman next to him.
“My wife. Linda
this is Frank Scoblete, the writer, you met him at the Jamboree,” he said.
“Hi Linda,” I
said and shook her hand.
“Sir, we’re waiting for you,”
said the stickman.
“Okay,” I said.
Captain ain’t around is he?” joked Kenneth.
“He’s on stick right,”
I said as I took the dice.
“Let’s go to
lunch,” said his wife.
“Oh, Jesus, oh,
Jesus, Linda that’s the Captain!”
over and said hello to the Captain. I forgot about Kenneth and rolled.
I took the dice
and set for the 7. I hit 11, then two 7s in a row, then a 5. That was my point.
I took $100 in odds on my point of 5. I placed $150 on the 6 and $150 on the 8.
I also used the 3-V set. I rolled a 6; was paid $175 for it. I rolled another
6. Then I rolled a third 6. Then I sevened out.
My dice were
looking good and I figured I would have a good roll next turn. Little did I
know there would be no next turn.
all the shooters. Four of the eight at the table made it through the 5-Count
and we put up $10 Come bets on them with double odds. We lost money on them as
they all sevened out soon after we had some bets up.
A lot of players
don’t realize that the 5-Count really does not reduce the house edge on
random rollers. It just reduces by 57 percent what you bet on random rollers,
thus saving you money. However, as Dr. Don Catlin showed in a massive study of
200 million simulated shooters, if you are at a table with controlled shooters,
even if you don’t know they are controlled shooters, the 5-Count gets
you on them 11 percent more often than a normal player will be. That’s where
you can make some money.
We Golden Touch
Craps dice controllers use the 5-Count to reduce the number of rolls we
bet on, and on random rollers we also bet much lower than we will on controlled
shooters. The 5-Count is a wonderful tool in a controlled shooter’s
arsenal if he has to play at the same table as random rollers, which most of us
do. As you can see, my total risk on the random rollers who made it through the 5-Count this day was a mere $30. Odds don’t count.
Captain got the dice again. The Captain is a calm shooter, second in calmness
to the Arm herself. Nothing gets to him. I have rarely seen him lose his temper
at the tables. He doesn’t practice Zen but he is very Zen-like.
The Captain set
the 3-V and rolled. It was 1:15 in the afternoon. He hit a 2. Then he hit a 3.
Then he established his point, a 4. We were going up the number scale! The
Captain put up $300 on the 6 and 8 and $150 in odds behind his point. I had $150
placed on my 6 and 8 and $75 behind my point.
rolled a few numbers we weren’t on and then hit a 6. Then he hit the 8. Then
the 6 again. Then he made the 4. The table gave polite applause. The Captain
now added a $55 buy of the 10 to his bets. I did the same.
City, if you want to buy the 4 or 10 for $55, you pay a $2 vig but if you put
up both numbers at the same time, you must pay $5 in total. So, the way to bet
to save that $1 is to make a bet of one number, then after a roll, bet the
other number. Those dollars add up. Unfortunately in Atlantic City, you must
pay the vig upfront, which means you pay that vig on winning and losing rolls.
In many casinos around the country, the vig is only extracted on the buy bets
after you win but not on any losses. That cuts the house edge down
established his point, a 6. We both now bought the 4 for $55. We took our 6
place bets down and took odds behind the Pass Line point of 6.
So we were now
up on four numbers, the 4, 6, 8 and 10. And the Captain rolled. Now he was
focused because he could seven out. And he started hitting numbers. At a
certain point he made his point of 6. He then made several more points and many
The Captain was
hot. Other players joined the table.
25-minute mark, the Captain had rolled 32 numbers – one green chip, one red
chip and two white chips – and the Captain was on another Come-Out roll. Then
he did something that was unusual for him.
said. “Can you get me a chair?"
mid-1980s when I first started to play craps with the Captain, I don’t think I
ever saw him sit down. I was startled. But I quickly went over to an empty
blackjack table and grabbed a chair. I set it behind the Captain. He sat on it
came over and said, “I’m sorry, you can’t sit there.” Just as quickly the pit
boss came over and touched the floorwoman on the arm and said, “He’s the
exception. Let him sit if he wants to.” The floorwoman looked confused but
obeyed her boss. The two of them walked away and when they were on the other
end of the pit, they started to talk. I have no idea what they were saying but
they both kept shooting glances our way.
On the Come-Out
roll, all our bets, except our Pass Line bets obviously, were off. The Captain
gently lofted the dice down the table. He rolled a 7, and then established a
point of 6.
From here on
in, it started to get blurry. The Captain rolled numbers and points. I was
counting the rolls, putting white chips down, then reds, and then a second
green. We were at 45 minutes and the Captain had rolled 54 numbers. On his
Come-Out rolls and when the dealers were paying off the bets, he would sit in
the chair and just stare straight ahead. He was locked into some kind of
meditative state. I never said a word to him. I had bets on all the numbers now
and had pressed them once, twice, or three times depending on how often they
green chip went down. The Captain was at 75 numbers. I looked over at him. He
did not look at all tired, just reflective, sedate, as if he were in another
world. In January of 2004, the Captain had rolled 100 numbers. I wondered if he
could reach that plateau again. One hundred numbers is a magic roll.
The Captain has
a very easy throw. There is no strain in him when he shoots. He is focused. He
is in total control of himself.
He is in total
control of the dice. His roll is the model for the Golden Touch roll.
The Captain made
a point here. I had three green chips and three white chips for the 78 numbers.
The cocktail waitress came over and the Captain ordered an orange juice, no
ice, and I ordered bottled water.
“When you come
over with the drinks,” I said to the waitress, “bring me his drink if he’s
still rolling, okay?” I put five dollars on her tray. “Okay,” she said.
reappeared. I squeezed over so he could get next to me. The table was now
“How’s he doing?
How did he do last roll?” asked Frasca.
“It’s the same
roll. He’s at 78 numbers,” I said.
“Oh, man!” he
whispered in my ear.
“I thought we
were going to walk the Boardwalk?” asked Linda.
“Not now,” said
Kenneth who bought in. Linda did not seem pleased. But she wandered away.
As the Captain shot his Come-Out roll, new chips
were brought in. We had seriously damaged the casino’s chip area and new chips,
big and little denominations both, were now being counted on the table.
ignored it. He rolled. He established a point.
Most of the
other players were now betting green and black chips. Somewhere around roll 45,
most of the players started to press their bets. Some had become almost
insanely aggressive. The table was full of players now – 13 players altogether,
seven on my side with Frasca squeezed in, and six on the Captain’s side.
(three green chips, one red)
(three green chips, one red, one white)
There were only a few Hardway bets. It was almost as if no one wanted to
slow down the game with bets that take too long to pay off. Most of the players
were good bettors – a rarity at a craps table but one that was making this game
progress at a nice pace.
The Captain was in his rolling
zone for sure.
(three greens, two reds)
The Captain is a
rarity. I am not. As a writer, a teacher and a speaker, as a former actor, I
crave the public performance. I want a readership, an audience. I like the
spotlight on me.
doesn’t care about those things. He was the leader of “the Crew” because they
made him the leader, he didn’t ask for it. His nature must make other men and
women want to follow him.
He never asked
to share in the glory or profits of the books or tapes I wrote. He never asked
to be on television or radio. He never asked me to write about him. He did his
thing and he let the world do its thing.
gaming author, Henry Tamburin asked me, “How come the Captain doesn’t want to
go out in public and be recognized?” I told Henry the Captain is the guy
everyone wants us to be. “You see when we are criticized some of it is, ‘Well,
if they are so good why are they writing about it? Why aren’t they just doing
it?’ Well, the Captain is the guy who did it and is still doing it. He doesn’t
crave the public attention like we do.”
I had hit 89
numbers in December of 2004. I wasn’t keeping track of them but Dominator and
one of our Golden Touch students were. I had two students at the table that
So much for 89!
The Captain was now getting close to the magic 100 rolls.
The Captain was
happy that I became successful as an advantage player and as a writer. He was
happy my books sold so well. But he is content to do what he does.
He has slowed
down now. His investing in real estate is over. He lives off his past
investments and his once-a-week play in Atlantic City.
The Captain used
to play several times a week. I can recall him in those days. He was probably 63
when I first played craps with him at the tables. He was not much older then
than I am now. I first played craps at the Claridge, which at that time was a
great casino for players.
“Pay the line!”
shouted the stickman.
It was now
another Come-Out roll. I remember this clearly. I put several stacks of black
chips on the table to color them up. I was completely out of room in the chip
rack in front of me. The Captain now sat for all the Come-Out rolls. Kenneth
Frasca kept whispering in my ear, “I can’t believe I’m playing with the
“Believe it,” I
95 numbers (no
point established – he rolled an 11)
I noticed that
the Captain’s bets were with purple and orange chips now.
(point of 4 established)
We were getting
close to 100 numbers. Would he make it?
I looked over at
the Captain. He had no idea how many numbers he rolled but the time was now
2:45 in the afternoon. He had rolled for one and a half hours.
He set the dice
carefully. He aimed. I noticed that there were now several suits behind the
boxman. Big money was being wagered at this table and it was the job of the
suits to make sure that no mistakes were made with such big money in play. I
could see another cart loaded with chips being wheeled to the table. Some
players think that the suits gather on a hot game to cool it off. That is not
so. They gather to make sure the money is being handled properly. With $500 and
$1000 chips in play, a small mistake can cost a lot of money – to the casino
and to the players too.
“This is number
100?” asked Frasca.
“Oh, man,” he
arced the dice giving them a gentle backspin. They hit the table, moved slowly
to the back wall, and died, flat, dead at the base of the pyramids, having
barely glanced off the back wall.
“Five! Five!” shouted the
stickman. “No field five!”
That was 100 rolls. That was one
black chip. That was, my God! 100 numbers for the Captain.
No one other
than Frasca and I knew what a monumental moment this was but they all knew they
were on one hell of a roll.
The new chips
were brought in. One of the suits laughingly said, "This is it guys, these
are our last chips. Don’t take them all from us."
Then a bloated
man at the end of the table started an argument. “I had a five dollar yo bet!
Where’s my money?”
“That was the
roll before this one, sir, not this one. It’s a one-roll bet, sir,” said the
“Call over the
floorman,” said the large one.
I took $80 in
chips and threw them over to the man.
floorman,” I said.
“I, uh, I…” said
the large one.
“Take the chips
and let this man roll for God’s sake!” I said. The dope took the chips.
“Move the dice,”
said the boxman. “We don’t want this table to cool down.”
pushed the dice over to the Captain. He had been seated while the large one had
stupidly slowed down the game. The Captain now stood, set the dice, aimed and
That was nice of
the boxman to say he wanted the hot roll to continue. He would not be able to
share in the massive amount of tips the Captain, several players, and I were
giving the dealers on each and every roll but he looked genuinely happy that he
was watching such a great afternoon’s session.
Several players and the Captain
had now reached table maximum bets on some of the numbers.
Which got me to
thinking: Stanley Fujitake! The record.
the dice for three hours and six minutes. He did this on May 18, 1989 at the
California Club in downtown Las Vegas. That feat earned him the title of “The
Golden Arm.” A whole inventory of spectacular tales has grown up around the man
who holds the record for the longest craps hand in history.
have claimed anonymously that they have seen shooters surpass that record but
only Stanley Fujitake’s record is taken seriously by anyone the least
interested in craps. He did his feat in front of scores of witnesses and the
time was verified by them and by the casino.
Fujitake’s is the
is the record? Take Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak; Wilt
Chamberlain’s 100 points in an NBA game; Muhammad Ali’s upset of big George
Foreman, Secretariat’s winning of the Triple Crown in stunning blowouts, and
wrap them all up in a knot – Fujitake’s record is more spectacular.
Three hours and
six minutes! That might have been 200 rolls of the dice.
I looked over at
the Captain just as he looked at me. A smile played on his lips. “I feel good,”
he said to me.
Fujitake was a random roller and not a controlled shooter as is the Captain.
His great feat is the great feat of luck; while the Captain’s great feats, and
he has had many great feats, are the results of skill. While the Captain was
rolling I had no idea at this point that he had actually beat the number of
rolls Fujitake had in 1989 – which was 118 rolls before he sevened out.
Each stickmen at
this casino was courteous as they moved back as the Captain threw. That gave
him a clear vision down the table. The player at the end of the table never put
his Pass Line bet down where the Captain landed his dice. That was very smart
of him. The table was behaving as you would want the table to behave to help
create and perpetuate the monster roll.
There were maybe
30 people now standing around the outside of the table watching. Frasca kept
whispering, “Holy shit,” in my ear. That was his day’s religious mantra. An
aggressive-looking guy with slicked-back black hair was about to try to squeeze
in next to the Captain as the Captain was lifting the dice. The guy next to the
Captain pushed the aggressive one and said, “Don’t even think about it.” The
guy next to the Captain sounded and looked like a wiseguy and the aggressive
guy slunk away, his girlfriend hanging on his arm saying, “Why can’t we get in
and play? Why can’t we get in and play?”
For almost 20
years the Captain and his Crew owned Atlantic City. High rollers, fun lovers,
22 of the most interesting men and women one could ever meet. Strangely only
one of them ever really understood that the Captain was winning all those
years. His name was Jimmy P. In the early 1990s, Jimmy P., the Captain, and the
Arm hit Tropworld (now Tropicana) for millions in wins and comps.
125 numbers (one
black chip and one green chip)
This roll was
the longest roll I have ever seen. Even the Arm never had a roll that was this
long. At 126 numbers, the Captain was approaching two hours of rolling. I
remember one of the executives, who worked at the Claridge, saying in 1992,
“The Captain is killing us.” Even the former president of the Claridge wrote
about the Captain and his Crew in a book. He talked about how the Captain
Yet no one has
revealed the Captain’s name. Interesting.
The length of a
hand kept in time is not as descriptive as the length of a hand kept in number
This roll was in
the mega numbers.
130 numbers (one
black, one green, one red)
We were at the two-hour mark now.
Two hours of rolling the dice. The Captain would roll, sit in the chair as the
payouts were made, then stand when the stickman moved the dice to him. He
constantly set the 3-V. He was a machine. No, in fact, more accurately: He was
in a gambling ballet. His every move was smooth and beautiful.
131 numbers (one
black, one green, one red, one white)
How much luck
did the Captain need to create this monster-of-monsters hand? He had rolled
some sevens on the Come-Out. The 3-V is not a set for rolling sevens and those
sevens were therefore mistakes. That was good luck for him and for the rest of
us at the table. He rolled at least four sevens that I remember on the
Come-Out. Had any one of those sevens been during the “point-cycle” of the
game, he would have sevened out.
Good luck? I have
had great good luck in my life. I have wonderful parents, a wonderful wife,
wonderful children, a wonderful grandchild, a wonderful writing career and I
have a few good friends.
I also have some
people who – for God knows what reason! – hate me and hate my writing. Walter
Thomason, the gambling writer, used to tease me by sending me Internet web
posts by people who were attacking me. One famous gambling authority once said
he would kill himself if he woke up and found out he had turned into me. As
Golden Touch has become internationally known, the attacks have become even
The Captain and
the Arm were the most devastating one-two punch in the history of modern casino
craps – even better than the Lee Brothers whom I wrote about in The Craps
Underground. The two of them won eight figures together. Although Atlantic
City is not allowed to bar players, the Tropworld casino (now Tropicana)
refused to give them any comps after they won 1.5 million in a few months. They
even sent a letter around telling the other casinos to be aware of these two. I
was able to read this letter when the Captain showed it to me. He got it from
one of his casino-executive friends.
The Captain was
in a rhythm.
We were at 144
numbers! There is only the Captain. The very Captain who was now banging
away at two hours and 15 minutes in a roll that will become legendary.
I looked over at
the Captain, who was as calm now as he was when he first got the dice. There
is only the Captain. There is only the Captain. There is only the Captain. Could
he go to 200 numbers? Could he go for over three hours and six minutes?
The Captain is
the greatest craps player who ever lived. He is more than a master, more than a
mentor. There is only the Captain. He is at two hours and 18 minutes. He
has hit 147 numbers.
Now we just
linger. Time. There is only the Captain.
The dice were
lofted into the air. One die lagged a little and when they came down that
lagging die just stopped dead. The other die went to the back wall, hit, and
gently rolled over.
There was a
“Call it,” said
the stickman, “Seven out! Line away, pay the don’ts.”
There were no
don’ts. There was only silence.
Now we just
There is only
“That was a
great roll,” I said.
“Oh, God,” said
sir,” said the boxman.
Captain,” said the Pit Boss.
Captain,” said one of the other suits.
And then the
applause started. The players and the spectators started to clap. It became
thunderous. Even the boxman clapped. The stickman, with the stick under his
arm, clapped too. Then people cheered and some yelled, “Bravo! Bravo!”
That roll lasted
two hours 18 minutes. It was 147 numbers, with the 148th number being the seven
The guy next to
Frasca said to us, “They called him the Captain? Is that the Captain? The
Frasca as if he knew the Captain a long, long time.
“You know him?”
asked the man of us.
“Yes,” I said.
“We know him.” I included Frasca in the “we.” Frasca smiled.
“My god I can’t
believe it,” said the man. “I saw the Captain himself. Oh, my God,” he said as
he put down his stacks of black, purple and orange chips.
“Yes, you did,”
I said. “That is the man himself.”
Frasca. “One hundred and forty seven numbers.”
forty seven numbers,” said the man. “God.”
No one can take
this achievement away from the Captain – 147 numbers, two hours 18 minutes of
rolling. The man who first realized that rhythmic rolling, a synonym for dice
control, was the way to beat the house in 1978, the man who figured out how to
win money playing craps, had just completed a Babe Ruthian roll. Ruth once hit
a baseball 626 feet, the longest homerun in history. And this was the longest
craps roll in history – 147 numbers.
There is only
We colored up our
mound of chips and security escorted us to the cage.
“We’ll have a
late lunch in the suite and then we’ll head back home,” said the Captain.
one-hundred forty-seven numbers, Captain,” I said.
“It was a great
roll,” he said.
Yes, it was.
There is only