Craps isn’t exactly a game that’s known for producing a wealth of professional gamblers. Unlike blackjack or poker, it doesn’t lend itself to skill-based play.
Nevertheless, some real money gambling experts contend that you can beat craps through dice control (a.k.a. controlled shooting). Dice control refers to gripping and tossing the dice in a deliberate manner so as to produce desired results.
The Rosebud craps team is allegedly the first collection of players to master this technique. They supposedly beat Vegas and Atlantic City casinos for steady profits throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
However, both the origins and accomplishments of the Rosebud team remain shrouded in mystery. That said, I’m going to discuss whether or not this team beat craps, or even existed for that matter.
Origins of the Rosebud Craps Team
Gambling author Jerry L. Patterson established himself as one of the first prominent craps experts. He published books and articles on the subject.
In the 1990s, Patterson developed his own controlled shooting system called the “Patterson Rhythm Roll” (a.k.a. PARR). Eager to show off the PARR and make money off his idea, the author held a craps workshop in Vegas.
79 people attended his first PARR workshop. Among those in attendance was a man named Chris Pawlicki.
However, he had ambitions of eventually becoming a real money professional gambler.
He felt that Patterson’s workshop could really help his game. Pawlicki stood out as a serious and diligent student.
Patterson approached him about collaborating more on dice control. The two created the “Perfect Pitch Delivery system” and the “PARR Dice Control Course” together.
Pawlicki turned these efforts into a book called Get the Edge at Craps. At over 300+ pages, this work is considered one of the most extensive discussions on dice control anywhere.
Aside from their writing endeavors, Patterson and Pawlicki allegedly formed a successful controlled shooting team. Little is known about their true success rate or how long they lasted.
Profiled in Breaking Vegas Documentary
The main source of information regarding the Rosebud craps team is the History Channel series Breaking Vegas. An episode dubbed “Breaking Vegas: The Dominator” discusses Pawlicki, Patterson, and the Rosebud team in depth.
The episode’s focus was on the team of Frank Scoblete and Dominic “The Dominator” LoRiggio. However, it also contained plenty of content on Rosebud and LoRiggio’s time with them.
Pawlicki was said to have spent three years studying the mechanics of dice in motion. He used his engineering background to come up with successful dice-tossing techniques.
Sharpshooter then began offering dice control courses. He taught the courses on a craps table in his garage and charged almost $600 per student.
The doc claims that LoRiggio was one of Pawlicki’s early students. LoRiggio showed enough promise to eventually be invited onto the Rosebud team.
By the fall of 1999, Pawlicki, LoRiggio, and Patterson hit Atlantic City for their first venture as a full team. LoRiggio got off to a rocky start in his first outing but settled in and began making money for the squad.
LoRiggio’s Personality Doesn’t Match With the Rest of Rosebud
“Breaking Vegas: The Dominator” portrayed Pawlicki and Patterson as laidback guys. LoRiggio, meanwhile, was the polar opposite.
He liked to bet big and celebrate even bigger when he was on a hot streak. Pawlick had to take him aside at one point and reiterate the team rules.
Here’s a summary of Rosebud’s guidelines:
- No getting rich quick.
- Make small, conservative bets (nothing over $10).
- No excessive celebrations.
- Don’t offend table crews.
The Dominator claimed that he would tone things down so that he could stick with the team. The trio then began hitting various US gambling hotspots, including casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Reno.
They’d often take a combined $10,000 bankroll with them to each destination. Pawlicki noted that they’d typically end the weekend with a $5,000 profit (split three ways).
However, LoRiggio still wasn’t happy with the conservative bet sizes and moderate profits. He also wanted to let his emotions out when he felt like doing so.
LoRiggio Meets Scoblete and Leaves
The Dominator was already feeling stifled by the Rosebud team’s conservative approach. LoRiggio was pondering his future with the team at this point. Coincidentally, he also happened to meet Scoblete around the same time. The documentary stated that Scoblete dropped in on a Rosebud practice session.
He and LoRiggio hit it off pretty quickly. Scoblete, who’s also a good shooter in his own right, doesn’t have a problem with showboating or gambling big.
By the fall of 2001, just two years after joining Rosebud, LoRiggio was playing real money craps on the side with Scoblete. Eventually, the two decided that The Dominator had to do what he was planning to all along—leave Rosebud.
He informed the team about his decision. Pawlicki and Patterson weren’t happy, but they accepted his choice. The move turned out to be a good one for LoRiggio. He and Scoblete teamed up to make a fortune through dice control.
Their style was totally different from Rosebud. They were willing to bet big and throw verbal jabs at stickmen when necessary. They earned six figures in profits in less than six months. Scoblete and LoRiggio were able to amass a bankroll worth over $100,000.
However, their success was not without consequences. They had to deal with more harassment from table crews. But they were still able to play and win the way they wanted to.
What Were Rosebud’s Accomplishments?
Little is known about what happened to Rosebud after the falling out with LoRiggio. They presumably went on to have continued success with their small-betting strategy.
Whatever the case may be, they did well up until their split with The Dominator. The team was able to generate solid profits by wagering between $5 and $10 in each round.
Of course, the problem with this strategy is that it doesn’t bring in a fortune. Rosebud players likely didn’t make much more than $1,000 apiece for an entire weekend of playing.
Much of this goal relied on keeping their bet sizes low and celebrations under wraps. They appeared to do well at this based on the documentary’s reenactments.
Above all, Rosebud is best known as the first craps dice control team. If another squad existed before them, then it’s undocumented.
Did the Rosebud Craps Team Really Exist?
Everything I’ve covered so far assumes that the content in “Breaking Vegas: The Dominator” is correct. But what if the doc and/or its participants aren’t being entirely truthful?
First off, the producers of “Breaking Vegas: The Dominator” were merely going off stories told by the players. Controlled shooting, though, is a debatable technique in itself.
Some question whether or not dice control works. They point to the fact that casinos don’t throw dice setters out the same way they do card counters.
Furthermore, Pawlicki, Scoblete, and LoRiggio have all made money off of controlled shooting courses. What if they’re all in on this together and concocted the stories for Breaking Vegas to advertise themselves?
Next, another special called “The World’s Greatest Gambling Scams: The Dominator and the Golden Touch” contradicts Breaking Vegas.
In this special, Scoblete discusses how he met LoRiggio at Treasure Island casino in 2002. He was researching a book called The Craps Underground and interviewed The Dominator as part of it.
The two eventually agreed to visit the tables to see if one another was a good as advertised. They walked away being impressed with each other.
Scoblete and LoRiggio formed a team afterward and supposedly made a lot of money together. However, nothing is mentioned about LoRiggio being part of Rosebud beforehand.
Furthermore, the timelines don’t match up here. Breaking Vegas notes that LoRiggio and Scoblete met in Rosebud’s practice garage in the fall of 2001. However, Scoblete discusses how he first met The Dominator at Treasure Island in 2002.
Craps has never been considered a great game for professional players. In fact, many question whether or not dice control is even real.
The same people may also question the validity of the Rosebud craps team. If controlled shooting doesn’t work, then Rosebud couldn’t have been making consistent profits.
Another issue is the sources of information. First off, several people who’ve made money off the dice control concept are the narrators.
All three appeared in the documentary episode titled “Breaking Vegas: The Dominator.” Speaking of which, the doc itself is a bit sketchy. Either Scoblete or Breaking Vegas has the timeline and story wrong on when the Golden Touch team formed. My guess is that it’s the latter.
Also, the documentary was created for entertainment purposes and parts of it seem highly embellished. At one point, the actor portraying Scoblete threatens a stickman’s life.
In summary, whether the Rosebud craps team did or didn’t exist is debatable. It’s feasible that Patterson, Pawlicki, and LoRiggio did try to manipulate the dice and win money.
How successful they were is the big question. After all, Rosebud hasn’t gone down in gambling lore like, say, the MIT blackjack team.