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Craps History

Craps is a game usually seen in casinos but can also be played more informally among a small group of friends. The game has to do with rolling several pieces of dice on a given area (usually a table). There are rules to follow to find out if the numbers that come up on the dice roll will make you win or not.

Craps is a very easy game to play. It does not need any kind of skill because winning the game is largely out of luck. Once the dice leave your hands upon a throw or shoot, there is not much you can do anymore except wait for the dice to stop and reveal the numbers on top. It is very different from other casino games like poker or blackjack that needs learning skills and strategies to increase chances of winning. In craps, there is no need to memorize anything. There are no patterns to discern or analyze. There is hardly any way to predict the come out of a dice roll.

Many people are attracted to craps because of its simplicity. Since it is very easy to play, it is not as daunting as the other casino games. They go for the thrill and excitement of betting on numbers and waiting for the dice to give them the numbers they need to win a bet. Aside from this, because it is a very simple game, it is easy to setup a game outside of a casino house. Anyone can set up a table similar to that seen in casino houses and it can be played among friends informally during parties or any gatherings.

Indeed, craps is a very popular game but what only a few know is that it was being played many centuries ago. Suffice it to say that it is not a new casino game. In fact, it can be traced back to a very ancient favorite called Hazard. The origin of craps is still being debated but many evidence points to the fact that it was derived from the game of Hazard.

Hazard as the Ancestor of Craps

William of Tyre led a group of crusaders in 1125 AD. In his heydays, he and his group of crusaders placed a siege on a castle named Hazarth. His team won the siege and in honor of this victory, they named their favorite pastime after Hazarth. Scholars who studied this pastime activity learned that it was actually a dice game that had its origins from the Arabs. The name “Hazard” was derived from an Arab phrase “Al Zar” that means “dice.” It is believed that this Arabic game spread to Europe before the 12th century when merchants started expanding their trade to this continent. William of Tyre grew fond of the game as well.

Some studies give a hint that dice games were already being played by Egyptians as early as 2600 BC. If this is the case, then it will falsify the claim that it originated in the Arabic world. If proven, then it will greatly affect the history of crap. For the meantime though, while debates are ongoing and no solid bases have been recovered in Egypt, it is still safe to say that craps evolved from Hazard, an Arabic game.

17th and 18th Centuries

Since it penetrated Europe in the 17th century, hazard was very well received. No European is stranger to the game. It was that popular. Everyone knows how to play it. People in every tavern in England gather in groups to play it when there is nothing better to do. It is also found in casino houses and is a favorite of the nobility.

The French themselves were fans of Hazard but they gave it a different name just to be differentiated from the English. Hence, they named it Craps, a sort of word play from “crabs.” Craps is actually a scenario in the game wherein a player loses if he rolls a two. It is not so often that a game will be named after a losing scenario. In blackjack for example, it was called such because blackjack is twenty one, the highest and ideal winning combination of cards. For craps though, the name stuck just the same.

When the British and French started resettling in America, they also brought with them the game they loved to play. As expected, it did not take long for America to embrace craps. In fact, they liked it almost instantly upon learning how to play it. Craps contagion spread to the southern parts of America and was soon introduced also in casino houses. An American by the name of John H. Winn was a fan and took it upon himself to develop it further.

19th Century

Basically, John H. Winn just tried to simplify the game to make it more enjoyable and entertaining. After all, people were easily dismayed when the rules and layouts are difficult to comprehend. Hence, John H. Winn revised the layout to make it simpler and more modern. This was initially called Philadelphia layout. Winn’s efforts were duly recognized. John Scarne, a famous dice maker called Winn the Father of Modern Craps. It was thanks to Winn that craps now have betting options like Pass and Don’t Pass, Big 6 and 8. Winn also changed the betting rules a bit so that players are now able to wager against the dice thrower (called a shooter).

20th and 21th Centuries

There is no stopping the craze of craps. By the 20th century, it can already be considered famous all over the world. It was the favorite pastime activity of soldiers during World War II when they were not involved in actual fighting. Today, there are only a very few who have not yet adopted the game of craps. Anywhere one goes, he will likely encounter this game if he is fond of going to casinos. It also helps that movie producers incorporate craps somehow in a storyline. The game is kept in the consciousness of the public.

Craps took a temporary downfall when slots became popular in the 1990s. But it was not long before it bounced back, especially when online casinos were introduced. Playing craps online was very easy and attracted millions of players to download the software and play the game from their computers.

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