Understanding how to Gamble on Craps – Tricks and Schemes: the History of Craps

Dice and dice games go back to the Middle Eastern Crusades, but modern craps is just about 100 years old. Modern day craps flourished from the very old English game named Hazard. No one is certain of the origin of the game, but Hazard is believed to have been invented by the Englishman, Sir William of Tyre, in the 12th century. It is theorized that Sir William’s soldiers gambled on Hazard during a blockade on the castle Hazarth in 1125 AD. The name Hazard was derived from the fortification’s name.

Initial French colonizers brought the dice game Hazard to French North America (the colony of Acadia, which is Nova Scotia today). In the 1700s, when driven away by the British, the French moved south and discovered sanctuary in the south of Louisiana where they eventually became known as Cajuns. When they fled Nova Scotia, they brought their preferred game, Hazard, with them. The Cajuns modernized the dice game and made it more mathematically honest. It’s believed that the Cajuns changed the name of the game to craps, which was developed from the name of the non-winning roll of 2 in the game of Hazard, known as "crabs."

From Louisiana, the game extended to the Mississippi riverboats and all over the territory. Many see the die maker John H. Winn as the founder of modern day craps. In 1907, Winn assembled the modern craps layout. He included the Don’t Pass line so gamblers could wager on the dice to lose. Later, he created the spaces for Place bets and added the Big 6, Big 8, and Hardways.

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