The History of Craps
The origins of the game of craps have been hotly debated over the years, and the truth about it is unknown. The common phrase "The die is cast" comes from the Latin "Lacta alea eft," and it derives from Julius Caesar's decision to order his troops across the Rubicon based on a roll of the dice. Many believe that our modern game of craps comes from the old English game of Hazard, which was said to have been created by Sir William of Tyre and his Crusader knights.
It was allegedly a pastime for these crusaders of Christendom while they were laying siege in 1125 AD to a castle called Hazarth or Asart. "Hazard," according to this theory it came about by a corruption of the castle's name. On the other hand, the Encyclopedia Britannica states that "Hazard" comes from the Arabic "al zar" or "azar," which simply means "the dice." So, playing craps could also be Arabic in origin. No one really knows for sure the true history of craps.
Betting Craps History
Craps is a simplified version of Hazard. Some claim that the French came up with the modern version of how to play craps after they brought the game back their country and adapted it. It is possible that the French brought the new version to the New World (America), but many Englishmen will argue otherwise. Despite the uncertainty of who brought the game to America, it is sure that the name "craps" derived from the word "crabs," which is losing a throw of 2 in Hazard.
Of all of the casino games based on pure chance, craps is probably the most popular because of its low house edge. Betting Craps spread widely in America throughout the 1800's, especially on the Mississippi riverboats. Casino tables then had a much simpler layout, with the 6, 8, Field, Win, and Come bets. Players could only bet with the dice against the house, and crooked dice were common.
After John H. Winn changed the game drastically, altering the craps layout to allow a space for "Don't Pass" bets, players were allowed to bet either way. Using rigged dice became pointless, since the odds were no better. Nevada legalized craps in 1931, and the popularity of casino craps (Las Vegas style) spread worldwide.
There are two well-known forms of craps today: street craps and bank craps. When you see people playing craps on the street - or when a movie shows soldiers or others gathered together rolling dice and betting craps - that's street craps. Bank craps is played in casinos, and it consistently has more money bet on it than any other casino game.
Craps is so popular it has become part of the English language. "On a roll," "crap, out," "snakes' eyes," and "do it the hard way" all originated in craps history.
LINK TO THIS PAGE: