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The “golden-armed” grandma


The Loch Ness Monster.

The New Jersey grandmother who threw Craps 154 times in a row.

There are some mysteries in this world too improbable to believe. Well…except that last one.  As unbelievable as it may sound, a grandmother did in fact roll Craps 154 times in a row on the night of May 23, 2009. That fateful evening, Patricia DeMauro pulled off the practically impossible feat by rolling for four hours and 18 minutes without losing.

The basic rule of Craps

For the simplest bet in Craps—a Pass Line bet—the basic rules are pretty straightforward: Roll any number besides a two, three or 12. Then, that number will win every time you roll it—until you roll a 7 and the game resets—AKA “sevening out.”

The run started with an ordinary $100 bet, placed at an ordinary Craps table at the Borgata Casino, Atlantic City. According to the casino, DeMauro had only played Craps once before, but was reminded of the rules by her friend. She picked up the dice and rolled an 8—her point number. From there, things took an extraordinary turn. For the next 154 rolls, DeMauro would hit practically every conceivable dice combination, not rolling a seven until her 155th roll. By that time, the unassuming grandmother had made her way into the record books for hitting the longest consecutive Craps roll the world had ever seen.

Putting it in perspective

What are the odds of Patricia’s rolling streak? Oh, about 1.56 trillion to 1. To put that in perspective, here are the odds of a few other majorly improbable occurrences.

  • Being dealt a royal flush on a round of poker: 1 in 649,740
  • Winning an ONTARIO 49 Jackpot: 1 in 13,983,816
  • Getting hit by an asteroid: 1 in 74,817,414

Hello Golden Arm Club!

As you can see, DeMauro’s feat was out of the ordinary. Not only did it capture the attention of the casino floor that night, it earned her a spot in the famed Golden Arm Club—reserved for players who roll consecutively for over an hour.

Formed in 1989 after gambler Stanley Fujitake rolled for three hours six minutes, the club counts just over 300 members worldwide as of 2021. Despite Craps being one of the most popular casino games in the world, the club only grows by one new member a month—a testament to how unlikely it is to play an hour’s worth of back-to-back Craps rolls before sevening out.

What does it all mean?

Patricia’s tale is indeed fascinating. The most intriguing part, however, is the fact that she achieved the world’s greatest Craps run without even understanding the rules. The night of her exploits, she is said to have remarked to an onlooker, “I don’t know how to play the game”—an admission that highlights the game’s randomness at work.

It all comes down to chance

Patricia’s tale also makes clear that unpredictability is a key component of any game of chance. If an inexperienced player can become the world record holder, then even the most experienced can seven out on their first roll. This is something Patricia herself seemed to understand: the very next night, she and her friend returned to the same casino, but decided to watch rather than play. It seems even the record-holding “Golden Arm” didn’t dare tempt the odds.

Learn more about Craps by clicking here.