History of the Game of Craps

There are a few different theories as to the history of the Game of Craps. The most popular belief on its history is that Craps is a modified version of an old game called Hazard which originated in New Orleans.  The modified game Hazard was born from another game called Al Hazar whose origin and invention is believed to date back to hundreds of years ago.

The game of Hazard has ties to Sir William of Tyre who was a crusade leader. Sir William and his men seized the castle Hazarth and that name became the inspiration of the game they had enjoyed playing. Another game, called Al Zar, which dates back to an Arabic dice game may also have had influence on the games’ name. There are also ties to dice games that were played in Roman times. Soldiers from Roman legions used to shave down pig knuckles until they were shaped like cubes resembling dice. The bones where tossed into their shields and that is where the term ‘rolling the bones’ comes from.

Nonetheless, Hazard started to gain popularity in 17th century England and was commonly played in taverns around the country. Many nobleman and aristocrats took up the game and soon Hazard was being played all over Europe, especially by Frenchmen. In France the game continued to evolve and Hazard was known there as Crabs. It was still a dice rolling game and rolling ‘crabs’ was a losing roll in which the dice landed on 2.

Modern Craps History

A more modern version of Craps came to the United States sometime in the 19th century and was seen in New Orleans gaming houses. The game of Hazard was simplified by Bernard de Mandeville and he took the game to the riverboats along the Mississippi River. There was just one major problem with this version of the game because it was vulnerable to fixed dice because of betting rules. The modern day layout of the craps table was invented by John H. Winn who is widely considered the ‘father of modern craps’ along with many of the rules governing the game. It was Winn who fixed those old rules and made it possible for players to place ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ bets’; which currently look like the Pass and Don’t Pass bets on the modern craps layout.

Craps was a very popular game with soldiers during World War II. Soldiers on both sides of the war played avidly to pass the time and thus the game spread out over all parts of the world. But through the years, craps lost a lot of its popularity as slot machines became more popular. In the early 90s, Craps was not being played as much as it had been in years past and with the advent of internet gambling the game has gained popularity once more.

Now, craps seems to be just as popular as it has ever been and online craps games are starting to attract more and more players.