History of Craps


It is widely accepted that the dice is the oldest gambling tool.  The use of the dice to play betting games goes back a few thousand years.  The oldest form of dice usage has been traced back to ancient Egypt.  In addition, the Romans have been well known to be avid dice players.  Ancient Native Americans, Indians, and Koreans have all been known to play dice related games.  In any case, the history of the game of craps originated from the English game of “hazard” and is not quite as old as the dice games of ancient times.   Historical records suggest that hazard was played by soldiers in the 12th century during the Third Crusade.  However, it does appear that the name hazard originated from an Arabic word, "azzah". This word is a term used for the dice.  With this in mind, the direct origins of the game it self is a little unclear.


In the 1800s, the game of hazard also started becoming popular in America, especially in the city of New Orleans.  At the time, the French were known to have taken to the game and as a result, they eventually came up with a new name for it.  They called it craps.  However, there is also some historical suggestion that it was the African Americans of the South who first used the name craps.  A losing throw of two in the game of hazard is called crabs, so it would appear that craps is most likely to be a corruption of this term.  Once the name was changed, a few other changes were to follow.  As years passed, the basic rules and odds of the game were changed and few new variations of the game were introduced.  The majority of these alternatives were much less complex and quicker to play than the original game of hazard. One of the spin-offs to hazard was a game known as “table-off”.


At the close of the 19th century, the table-off game became the most popular game played in casinos at the time. It was common to see that the tables and the basic layout of this period featured the six and eight, the Win and Come bets.  It should also be mentioned that during this period, the players could only bet against the house.  More changes were also introduced into the game when John Winn made some crucial alterations to the way craps was played.  He was the one who made it allowable for players to bet right and wrong.  Moreover, he also created a different framework for the game and also introduced a Don’t Pass bet area.  The whole idea of gambling in casinos really took off in the 1930s since casinos as business entities became legal in the State of Nevada.  This paved the way for worldwide embracement of the game of craps.


In present times, craps remains the biggest gambling game in the world in terms of the monetary stakes involved.  Craps is played with only two dice in modern casinos and it is not uncommon to find it being played in homes, backrooms and other private arrangements.  The popularity of craps has been so huge that it has inspired and formed the basis of many Hollywood movies and books.  Furthermore, many people find the primary objective of craps to be a very attractive and exciting prospect. The basic idea of craps is to beat the house and as time has passed, players have sought for new ways to achieve this objective.  As long as the game is in existence, this trend is set to continue.


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