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The History of Craps

The beautiful thing about Craps is if the dice are rolling in your favor you can quickly become more popular than a boy band. Crowds start forming, people are hanging on your every roll and you’re able to attract more women than an Ikea catalog.

How did this glorified game of dice become the “Spring Break” of casino games? We take a look.

The “Hazardous” Game of Craps
The exact history of Craps seems to be a little dicey (no pun intended) when attempting to garner details. Although some feel it was born during the 1700’s, others feel it’s a direct descendant of the game called Hazard.

Hazard claimed to be invented by the Sir William Tyre and his knights during the crusades in 1125 AD. However, the game’s name seems to come from the Arabic word “al zar” which means “the dice”. This would imply the crusaders could have taken the game from their Arabic enemies.

Regardless of its cultural origins, the game caught on quickly in England as a game for higher classes and noblemen. When it eventually made its way to France many believe the French changed the game’s name to Craps; using and corrupting the name given to a losing throw of two in the game of Hazard - crabs.

That said, Craps didn’t truly become Craps until 1813, when Bernard de Mandeville from New Orleans changed some of the game’s rules. Prior to Mandeville’s meddling, Craps was viewed by some as needlessly complicated. Mandeville simplified the game and made it more player friendly.

Unfortunately, there was one flaw that still held the game from casino-wide inclusion, the dice. The dice could still be rigged, preventing many American establishments from offering the game.

John H. Winn fixed the problem by giving players the ability to bet 'right' or 'wrong' in the layout of the craps table, including a space for 'Don't Pass' bets. While Mandeville simplified the game of Craps, Winn revolutionized it, eliminating the usefulness of fixed dice and making it possible for players to bet for or against the roller.

Although it lost some of its widespread appeal in the 90s, a decade where slot machines and Video Poker jumped to the forefront, Craps has made a considerable comeback in the 21st century because of the online gaming revolution. You no longer have to fly out to Vegas in order enjoy the game today, you can simply log into an online casino and roll dice from the comfort of your own home.


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