When rolling two dice, there are 36 different possibilities as to how they will land.
Of these conceivable outcomes, all are as likely to occur as each other. However, in terms of what their total will be, seven is more probable than any other number.
There are six ways of rolling a seven (1-6, 2-5, 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, 6-1). Every time two dice are rolled, the probability of the total being seven is 16.67%.
In comparison, this is only 13.89% for a total of six and for a total of eight. Meanwhile, rolling a seven is twice as likely as a four or a 10 and prone to occur six times as often as either a two or a 12.
Yet, back in 2009, one craps player amazingly tossed two dice for over four hours without rolling a single seven.
When and Where
The evening in question was May 23rd and Patricia DeMauro, a grandmother from New Jersey, arrived at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City with her friend John Capra.
Her first stop on the gaming floor was a seat at one of the penny slot machines, but she was then encouraged to make her way into the craps pit, where there were 14 tables to choose from.
DeMauro was far from a craps veteran; in fact this was only the second time in her life that she was giving the game a go. Still, she sat down with $100.
No Rookie Errors
The good news for any craps novice is that the game is one largely of chance over skill.
At its most basic level, a player chooses between two bets before the dice have been rolled – the Pass Line or the Don’t Pass Line.
The shooter, who is the player in control of the dice, begins by tossing the dice for the “come out” roll. Its total determines whether either of the above two bets are winners or whether a point number has been established.
If the point is established, the aim for the shooter is to roll the same number again before rolling a seven. If the seven comes first, the turn is over and a new shooter starts again.
DeMauro soon occupied the position of the shooter after another player at the table had “sevened out”.
Many regular craps players believe that the roll of the dice is not completely random and that they can manipulate the manner in which it rotates to ensure it lands in a favourable way.
We have previously discussed how the way the dice are set, the way they are gripped by a shooter and the stance a shooter employs could all impact which numbers are face up once the dice come to rest.
However, DeMauro wasn’t utilising any such techniques. Her results were pure chance and have seen her secure a spot in craps folklore. If ever there was a case of beginner’s luck, this is an obvious example.
Her streak of avoiding the unwelcome seven continued for 154 dice rolls and lasted 4hrs 18mins, causing her to break the world record for the longest craps roll ever recorded.
To put this into perspective, it took less than half of this time for Kenya’s Dennis Kitmetto to set the men’s marathon world record when completing 26.2 miles in 2hrs 02mins 57secs.
Meanwhile, it will also take less time for supporters of the England football team to fly from London to Moscow to watch the 2018 World Cup.
Various maths experts have run simulations and completed calculations in an attempt to reach a definitive answer to the probability of a craps shooter reaching 154 rolls. Results vary slightly, but are in the ballpark of between one in 5.3 billion to one in 5.6 billion.
A person’s potential of being struck by lightning stands at only one in 300,000.
Neither DeMauro nor the casino have ever disclosed her winnings from that memorable night, but what is known is that she was receiving betting advice from her more knowledgeable friend and that she was quite a conservative gambler.
From 25 pass line wins, it is estimated that the table wins during the streak reached $180,000.
This doesn’t seem especially high on first impression, meaning that the table was either short of full capacity or the higher rollers were unable to get their bets down.
Considering 154 rolls took 258 minutes to complete, the table is likely to have been fairly busy, with numerous come bets and place bets on every number that would have taken time to pay out.
Given that lightning is said to never strike the same place twice, the one thing to take away is that if DeMauro ever fancies playing craps again, avoiding the Borgata in favour of another of New Jersey’s casinos may be a shrewd move.