History and Origins of Craps

CRAPS Updated on: 4 September 2018

Craps came into existence long before modern land-based and online casinos dominated the gambling industry. Today, it would indeed be shocking to find a casino that does not have this game within its selection of casino delights. But before it got where it is today, craps had undergone centuries of changes and improvements. As a matter of fact, craps has had a history that is just as exciting as the game itself, as you will find out below.

1. Invention of Craps

As with many other casino games dating centuries of years ago, there no clear story on how craps came to be. But most historians seem to agree that this game owes its existence to England. And this happened during the 11th or the 12th century.

Apparently, Sir William of Tyre and his knights played craps as a way to pass the time after they had besieged a castle called Hazarth of Asart in 1125 AD. As a matter of fact, the game went on to have the name Hazard, which is obviously a derivative of the name Hazarth, the castle where it was first played.

Competing theories have a different explanation about the invention of the game, especially with its Hazard reference soon after its invention. According to these theorists, Hazard is derived from the Arabic phrase ‘al zar’ or ‘azzah’, which means “the dice”. Obviously, the uncanny similarity between the two words does lend some credence to this theory.

However craps came into existence, or how it received its controversial “Hazard” name early in its history, it proved to be quite a hit in England. It soon became a choice pastime for wealthy aristocrats. From there, the game’s popularity soon spilled past English borders, and the rich in France soon multiplied its already raging popularity by playing it devoutly.

Historians believe that the game got the name craps in France. Again, craps is believed to be a corruption of the French word “crabs”, which denotes throwing a 2, which is a losing number. This stage in its development made it into the modern version of the game we know it to be.

Still, some other accounts argue that the name craps came from the French word “crapaud”, a word that means toad in French. The game apparently got the name from the fact that people usually squatted when playing this dice game on the streets, thus looking like toads. This style of playing was especially popular during the Second World War, as the game was played quite often by the soldiers. The game requires little resources, and this made it easy to play in informal settings.

Modern Craps

After its successful stint in England and France, craps finally made its way into the US. French and English immigrants are believed to have brought the game with them when they left Europe for the Americas during the 17th and the 18th century. At first, it was anything but a wild success, remaining only in the southern parts of the country.

As with other forms of gambling, craps was also affected when the US banned gambling. But the game still had a strong underground following. It was played on the Mississippi steamboats, one of the few places lovers of this game could indulge their passion for the game.

At this very time, John H. Winn came up with a new form of craps to curb cheating attempts among the players. His brilliant innovation was the introduction of the “Don’t Pass bet”, which made it possible to bet on both sides. Before then, there were attempts to tamper with the dice because players could only win with some of the numbers on the dice, not all of them. This type of craps proved to be a huge success, and it is basically the version of the game we play today.

When gambling finally became legal and Las Vegas became a top gambling destination, craps was one of the most popular games casinos offered. Its popularity can be attributed to its reliance on luck as well as the ability to give players a chance to employ some strategic playing moves. Today, you will find craps at any land-based or online casino, because it continues to be immensely popular among gamblers.

Online Craps

The introduction on online gambling helped to usher craps into the twenty first century. In the early ’90s, casinos could reach their customers in their own homes using the internet. They were able to achieve this by offering popular games such as craps. Some people were introduced to this game for the first time during this historical milestone.

The exciting prospects of winning by using a few tips and the suspensefulness of unpredictable random chance made many beginners devotees of this game. The game immediately established itself as a staple of the online gambling world, and it played a significant role in helping online gambling get where it is today. Many variants of the game soon became available over the internet. Today, it is even possible to play in craps tournaments and win big.

Craps bonuses also made their debut in the world of gambling during this leg of development. With the fortunes online casinos could reap from reeling in gamblers from all around the world, it became necessary to find ways to attract players in an industry that had many competitors. The bonuses allowed players to get free money when they made a deposit to play craps online. Physical casinos never offered bonuses, but then again, the limited physical access options of their clients ensured that casinos located thousands of miles away posed no threat to their operations.

So, there you have it – craps has had a long history. The game was successful as soon as it was discovered, and its spread was fast and unprecedented. The game even survived hostile legal policies and managed to become a casino favorite in a world that is today filled with all types of games. Before you try out this game, I suggest that you read through the guides on this site and learn a thing or two about it and the best places to play it online for the best experience.