You’ve heard of the
Man with the Golden Arm? Well, meet Jack Davison, the Man with the Platinum Arm.
If you’re a dice
player, especially at casinos like Binion’s Horseshoe downtown, you probably
already know Davison. That’s because 23 years ago (practically to the day)
Davison set the world record for consecutive passes at the craps table — 34
— without throwing a single craps.
The feat, which has
been honored with an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, still stands
and, with odds in the multi billions, will probably remain for many years to
Davison, or Hollywood
Jack as he’s often called, still gambles at the Horseshoe, plus a few other
favored spots in Las Vegas. And, while he says the 34 straight passes took more
than luck, he hasn’t really come close since that fateful day in August 1979.
“I’ve been able
to roll 18 and 19 passes, but that record hasn’t been beaten in all these
years and it probably won’t be,” Davison says.
Davison recalls his
record-setting session as if it happened last week.
“I had been losing
at poker at another casino, and I was down to spit,” he says. “So I
decided to come to Binion’s and try to collect money that some people owed
Davison was actually
down to his last six bucks, but he ended up at the craps table where someone put
the dice in his hand, so he put a dollar on the Pass line and rolled the dice.
Over the course of the
next hour and forty-five minutes, Hollywood Jack made 34 straight passes, which
included about eight 7’s and four 11’s on the come-out, with the rest point
Davison says he never
made any Come bets, and his only proposition bet was the three-way craps. After
about 10 rolls of strictly line bets, he began placing the numbers as well.
”˜I was down to spit …
when the run was over I found chips in pockets I didn’t know I had!’
“The key is
getting to the table limit as fast as you can” Davison says, adding that
his play typically consists of the Pass line, backing up with odds and pressing
the Place bets.
“It’s my belief
that you can build a lumberyard with a toothpick ”” I’ve done it,” he
While Davison won’t
reveal exactly how much money he cashed out at the craps table, it was in the
thousands of dollars. “I was finding black chips in pockets that I didn’t
know I had,” he says.
Davison believes it
wasn’t simply luck that led to his record-breaking run. “You have to play
with a certain state of mind, and I have a belief in numerology, that certain
numbers come in sequences, which brings more numbers,” he says.
He also believes in a
positive outlook, that he is there to win ”” and that he will win.
“It starts with
the power of concentration, and when I’m in the midst of a run at the table, I’m
oblivious to what’s going on around me,” he says. “The concentration
is almost like a trance, and it can be very draining, it can leave you
Hollywood Jack, who
received his nickname for his days working as a stuntman in the film industry
during the 1960s and 1970s, could have been preparing his “platinum”
arm for a lifetime.
“Gambling is my
life, I’ve always been involved in gambling,” he says.
Davison says his father
ran some of the underground casinos in New York, and he grew up doing odds jobs
until he was old enough to learn how to deal and “hold all the bills
between my fingers.”
“I became a
student of the game, studying with such masters as System Smitty, who was a
mathematical genius. But the key has always been having a winning attitude. If
you expect to lose, you shouldn’t play.”
Davison doesn’t ever
expect to lose, but he’s realistic bout the whims of Lady Luck.
“Don’t ever buck
the odds when they’re against you,” he advises. “My personal limit
is three in a row. If I have three straight losers I make a change.
“You have to be
able to ”˜clock’ the action ”” the table, the dice, the shooter ”” and get
a feel of where things are going,” he continues. “Once you can do
that, you’ve taken the guesswork out of it. Then everything falls into place,
and runs in your favor.”