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The Tale of Craps Player Stanley Fujitake

Craps is a fairly simple game to learn, you roll the dice to get a point number and then roll again trying to get the same number without getting a 7. Because of the association, the more superstitious players won't even let you say the word 'seven'. But as you can imagine, with two dice, it's pretty likely that the numbers going to come up. In fact, there's a 17% chance, so most streaks don't tend to last longer than about half an hour at the most just because of the laws of probability. If someone is really lucky, they might manage an hour but anything longer becomes further and further into longshot odds and simply doesn't happen.

Unless your name is Stanley Fujitake and you manage to keep rolling for three hours.

This bizarre story of probability takes place in the California Hotel and Casino, founded by Sam Boyd, which, as you might guess from the name, is Hawaii themed. Odd naming aside, the Cal is a brilliant casino that offers a great experience for islanders who come across and get to experience Las Vegas while keeping a touch of home. Of course, nowadays you can simply use an online casino if you want to play from home and you can even pick a theme if you really want, but at the time it made for a great experience for the Hawaiians who wanted to get a taste of the gambling that wasn't legal in their home state.

One of these was Stanley Fujitake, a regular at the Cal and a regular dice player. While he played any number of games before hand, we're mostly interested in the night of May 28 1989. It was around midnight when Stanley walked up to the table and set down a $5 bet on the pass line. He rolled the dice. And rolled. And rolled. For a little over three hours, Stanley didn't crap out, he just kept rolling and after enough wins he was betting the table maximum of $1,000 dollars. He rolled 118 times in that time and had 18 pass line winners before he passed the dice. He never crapped out, he just decided to pass it along. History doesn't tell us what happened to the person who came after but it's probably fair to say they didn't manage another three hours.

Fujitake took home about $30,000 by the end of it, though the Casino paid out about $750,000 because everyone who was watching this started to bet on Stanley. Of course, as David Strow (the Vice President of Boyd Gaming) pointed out, the ironic thing was, "the other players at the table ended up winning a lot more money than Stanley did", all from placing bets on how well he was rolling. So at least the luck was shared.

The casino have since honoured Stanley's amazing luck that night by hosting what they call the Golden Arm Club in honour of Fujitake and his rolls. The entry requirement's a little looser, you just need to roll for an hour rather than the full three that Stanley managed, so the club tends to induct a new member every month or so. Sadly, Stanley passed in 2000, but his legacy is more than secure in the Cal and his incredible story of defying probability is an inspiration for people to roll the dice!




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