The legend of the Golden Arm

Twenty-five years ago, one of the most legendary feats in gaming history was set at a craps table at the California Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas.

On May 28, 1989, Hawaii resident and Cal regular Stanley Fujitake stepped up to a craps table and began rolling. And rolling.  And rolling.

Under the rules of craps, a player holds onto the dice until “sevening out.”  Usually players only last a few rolls before passing the dice.  But Fujitake was on a run like no one had ever seen.

“They had trouble keeping up with the chip pay-outs that night,” said Guido Metzger, Director of Casino Operations for Boyd Gaming’s downtown properties.  Metzger was a craps dealer stationed next to Fujitake’s table that night, giving him a front row to craps history.

“My table was empty,” Metzger said.  “But there were at least 30 to 40 people trying to place bets at his table. They couldn't get fills to the table fast enough and had to start issuing scrip because not enough people were going to the cage and cashing in their chips."

Fujitake rolled 118 times.  Those lucky enough to squeeze in on his table won more than $750,000.  And when Fujitake finally passed the dice more than three hours after he began, a world record had been set – and the legend of “The Golden Arm” had been born.  (Today, you can see a gold-painted plaster cast of Fujitake’s hand and forearm, together with the dice he used, on the main gaming floor at the Cal.)

Fujitake was the Cal’s first “Golden Arm,” but was far from the last.  To this day, any player lucky enough to hold the dice for an hour or more wins membership in “The Golden Arm Club,” and is honored next to Fujitake in the Cal’s Golden Arm trophy case.

Pulling off the feat is about as likely as hitting a hole in one on the golf course.  But since the Club was established in 1989, more than 300 players have managed to pull it off.

"On average we see at least one craps player roll for more than an hour every month," John Merrick, Manager of Table Games at the California says. "So we're creating a new Golden Arm plaque more often than you might think.”

Those managing to achieve Golden Arm status twice – or able to hold the dice once for more than 90 minutes -- join the Platinum Wall, located on the mezzanine level of the Cal.   Fujitake, of course, holds a special place of honor here – before passing away in 2000, he managed to achieve “Golden Arm” status a total of four times!