Like a lot of casino games, craps was a game invented whose origins begin around 200 years ago and from its initial conception, the basics are the same, yet improvements have been made for a better gaming experience.
But how have we got to the point where craps is one of the most popular casinos games and definitely the most fun to play in a casino?
Well, as I’m sure you are aware, dice have been about since time began…well, not since the Big Bang, but they’re been using dice throughout all the old civilizations and we still use them to this day. So, the concept of dice games is definitely not new. But the origins of craps don’t date that far back. However, they do date back quite a considerable time.
You see, craps is a variation of the old English dice game ‘Hazard’. Hazard dates back, possibly, around 800-900 years or so. In fact, Chaucer makes reference to the game in The Canterbury Tales, so we can safely assume it dates back to at least the 14th century. Before that, the time-line is sketchy at best, as you can imagine.
So, we have the game of Hazard, which involved two dice and the player rolling has to specify the come out number (in craps a 7), in Hazard, this is called the “main.” The game then proceeds somewhat along the lines of craps, although the rules are a bit more convoluted. What is worth noting that was that “snake eyes” in craps, where you roll a score of 2, is known as “crabs” in Hazard, or “crabs’ eyes”
By the end of the 18th century and the start of the 19th century, Hazard was starting to catch on throughout the world. The French took the game to their hearts and it became one of the main games of choice for gamblers in New Orleans. It was around this time that the rules started to change and the game of craps was born. The chance of the name to “craps” has a bit of a debate around it and some people claim that the French bastardized the terms “crabs” to “craps”, but that might not be the case. There is no real evidence to support this and the only way you could really come to this conclusion is if you say “craps” in an over the top French accent. Either way, the name of the game shouldn’t invoke a snigger, as it doesn’t mean what the general population think it means.
In New Orleans, the game took a life of its own and became a lot simpler, with the player not having to nominate his own come out number. 7 became the standard number, making payouts simpler (as in Hazard, different numbers paid different amount) and helping the game move a bit quicker.
The final evolution of craps comes from John H Winn, who designed the table layout that we all know and love. He introduced the ability to bet against the shooter, as before you had only been allowed to bet with the shooter. This is perhaps the biggest change to happen to the game in all its time and it makes it much more appealing from a betting point of view, as it allows you to have more variety of bets. Yes, betting against the shooter will make you unpopular at the table, but who cares? More choice for betting means you can have more fun!
This final evolution of the game, from Winn, took the country by storm and it was known as Bank Craps, although we still just call it craps. It’s the game that swept through America and is, perhaps, the most popular game in American casinos. Funnily enough, it’s not as popular in Europe (especially Great Britain) as it would have been 500 years ago. However, more and more casinos are starting to offer it, so it surely won’t be long until Europe takes to its heart the game they gave to America all that time ago.
Now, you won’t get the chance to play Hazard, but how about playing craps? You can play craps online at a lot of online casinos and they are all mostly great. However, get yourself to Bovada and wanting to start playing craps. Those who want a huge craps bonus online should get to Lucky Red Casino!
Additional Craps History Questions:
The answer to the question What is the history of Craps? is also applicable for the following questions: