Perhaps more so than any other casino game, craps inspires an aura of mystique around its crowded tables.
When the dice are tumbling just right – nailing point numbers like clockwork and dodging the dreaded 7 at every turn – recreational gamblers and hardcore craps experts alike come together in an unmistakable scene. Perfect strangers suddenly find themselves hugging and high-fiving, and maybe even shouting to the heavens in celebration when the shooter tosses yet another perfect roll.
Curious onlookers gather around, craning their necks to see the table’s intricate betting layout covered with chips. The excitement is positively contagious, so much so that simply watching a packed craps table can be more exhilarating than playing many other casino offerings.
Craps is also capable of producing legitimate gambling legends like Stanley Fujitake and his fellow “Golden Arm” club members.
History of Winning Big on Fremont Downtown Craps
Back in 1989, while visiting Downtown Las Vegas on a lark, Fujitake strolled into the California Hotel and Casino to play a little craps.
Well, I shouldn’t say “little,” because despite starting with the table minimum of $5 on the Pass Line, Fujitake wound up cleaning the California out. And I do mean “cleaned out” too, as the Hawaiian tourist wound up rolling 118 times in a row without sevening out. He hit 18 point numbers for the Pass Line winner over that span, which lasted a whopping 3 hours and 6 minutes to set a world record for longest consecutive craps roll.
You can learn more about Fujitake’s record-setting roll here in this profile by the Los Angeles Times.
But take it from John Repetti – the California’s casino manager who watched in a mix of shock and awe as a low-stakes gambler walked in off Fremont Street and proceeded to roll pure like nobody else ever had:
“The first call came and he’d been shooting for an hour, and we were losing a couple hundred thousand dollars at the time. I said if he continued, to call me at every $100,000 loss interval.
Well, the calls kept coming every 15 minutes. Another $100,000. And another $100,000. After the fourth call and fifth call, I decided I’d better get some clothes on and get downtown.”
Fujitake’s record was eventually broken by a recreational player in Atlantic City, but his legacy lives on in Downtown Las Vegas.
Every year, Fujitake and his fellow “Golden Arms” – a distinction held by anybody documented to have rolled for one hour consecutively without sevening out – convene every year at the California for a special craps tournament.
And if this florid description of the Golden Arms arriving to the tables like rock stars doesn’t do it for you, craps just isn’t your game:
“On a recent Saturday night, Favela and other Golden Arms had descended on the craps tables after attending a banquet honoring their achievements.
There was Garton Mau, who rolled 59 minutes that night – an impressive 72 rolls – and who already was a four-time Golden Arm.
Masao Yamamoto, 82, is the only blind Golden Arm and previously had rolled for an hour and 24 minutes.
Lionel Cazimero and his wife, Alicia Cazimero, had reached 1:28 and 1:04, respectively.
When they all strolled into the pit, it looked like the 1927 Yankees taking the field.”
It’s not every day that ordinary gamblers can be compared to the vaunted 1927 edition of the “Bronx Bombers,” but that’s exactly what happens when you roll the bones in Downtown Las Vegas.
So if you want to play the game as the gambling gods intended, check out the list below to find the six best places to play craps in Downtown Las Vegas.
1 – The D Las Vegas
Previously known as the Sundance Hotel, and then the Irish-themed Fitzgerald’s Casino, The D Las Vegas was renovated from the ground up in 2012.
And along with modern digs and luxurious amenities on par with The Strip’s mega-resorts, The D is home to the best craps tables in the Downtown district.
You won’t find the old 100x limit on Odds bets any longer, but The D does have a juicy 10x cap on the Odds to give bold players a chance to shoot for the moon.
The minimum Pass Line or Don’t Pass wager at The D stands at just $5 too, so low-stakes players won’t find themselves boxed out of the attractive 10x Odds. As for the high-roller set, maximum limits climb to $5,000.
And adding to the player advantages, The D’s pair of craps tables also offers the 3 to 1 payout (Triple) when you land a 12 with the Field bet working.
All things considered, The D does its part to keep Downtown Las Vegas’ legacy as craps capital of the world alive and kicking.
2 – Plaza Hotel & Casino
For nearly 50 years now, craps players have considered the Plaza to be their home away from home.
The two standard craps tables at the Plaza utilize the same 10x Odds / $5 minimum / Triple on 12 for the Field setup as The D.
And you’ll also find a variant known as “Crapsless Craps,” which turns the 2, 3, and 12 into point numbers instead of losers on the come out roll. Crapsless Craps might sound appealing, but the house edge on this gimmick game climbs to 5.38 percent, making it a bad bet for sharp craps enthusiasts to avoid.
3 – Golden Gate Casino Hotel
The oldest continuously operated casino in all of America, the Golden Gate is truly an iconic relic from Sin City’s golden era.
Everything about this place instills a sense of history, making it the perfect place for gamblers who appreciate the past to spend a session at the craps table.
And those tables are quite attractive too, with Golden Gate running a pair of games with $5 minimum bets, 10x on the Odds, and Triple for 12 on the Field.
4 – El Cortez Hotel & Casino
The last of Downtown’s 10x Odds craps tables can be found at the eclectic El Cortez.
Once again, you’ll find two tables running here, each using the familiar $5 minimum / 10x Odds / Triple on 12 for the Field structure craps diehards know and love.
5 – Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino
Odds bets at the Downtown Grand are capped at 5x rather than 10x, so it’s always going to play second fiddle to the foursome found above.
Nonetheless, for a change of scenery, the Downtown Grand’s low $5 minimum and Triple on 12 for the Field make it a decent backup plan when the dice aren’t cooperating elsewhere.
6 – Binion’s Horseshoe Gambling Hall
Binion’s Horseshoe was once the most popular casino in all of Sin City, home to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and limitless wagering for ultra-high-rollers.
The old gambling hall has seen better days, but if you want to roll for $3 minimums instead of $5, Binion’s is the ticket. Odds are capped at 2x on the $3 table, but you’ll find 5x Odds for $5 minimum on three more games.
Craps players, perhaps more than any other gambler subset, can quickly deduce when a casino is trying to get one over on them. Limiting the Odds bet to 3x-4x-5x, or even lower, might work on the unsuspecting tourists who hit The Strip, but those tricks won’t work on informed players. And that means you, now that you know all about the attractive craps games found on famous Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas.