Craps Gambling Down The Ages

Published: December 16, 2018

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The origin of craps has been traced to a dice game called Hazard. There are a few different narratives about Hazard, but the most popular one dates back to the Crusades in 1125 AD. Sir William of Tyre and a band of Crusaders had sieged a castle that was named Hazarth. In order to pass time during the siege the knights played a game of dice that was named Hazarth after the castle. Later it was anglicized to Hazard.

Over a period Hazard became extremely popular in England both among the poor and the nobility. From England the game moved to France. From there it was taken to New Orleans at the beginning of the 19th century by Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, the young gambler and scion of wealthy Louisiana landowners. In Hazard the dice shooter could choose the main number that would instantly win. Knowledgeable players always chose 7, because that was the optimal choice. Bernard simplified the rules by removing this choice and fixing 7 as the main number. It is not clear when the name was changed to Craps. Gaming historians argue that it derived from the term Crabs, which was the name for the roll of 2 in the English version.

An American named John H. Winn converted the game to its present format and is therefore called the father of modern Craps. His biggest contribution was countering the use of loaded dice that some unscrupulous gambling operators used. He created the wrong bets like Do Not Pass and Do Not Come that worked opposite to the right bets. So, if players felt that the dice were crooked they could always bet the wrong way.

The Second World War led to the spread of Craps all over the world. American soldiers were known to indulge in this game in distant posts whenever there was a break from actual fighting. They did not require tables. The dice were rolled along the floor against a wall. Another factor in the globalisation of craps was Hollywood movies. The scenes of Craps being played glamorized the game and brought in new players. One of the earliest movies was Guys and Dolls released in 1955. Some other movies are The Big Town, Hard Eight and Ocean’s Thirteen.

The coming of online gambling in the mid 1990s and there proliferation thereafter brought Craps to every household. Anyone could play Craps from the comfort of their homes.


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