The game of craps has been played by many cultures around the globe and is the oldest game of chance in which dice were used.
It has been dated back to the Egyptians in 1573 BC. There is also evidence to suggest that some form of craps was played by soldiers in the Roman Legions during the time of the Holy Roman Empire. Pig knuckles were shaved down into the shape of cubes and tossed into inverted shields as a form of entertainment.
The modern game of craps, however, is widely believed by historians to actually have originated from the Middle East. Sometime during the twelfth century, there is historical evidence that the English soldiers in the Third Crusade in Jerusalem learnt to play a dice game played by the local people. They then brought it back to Europe with them where it became known as ‘hazard’. It is now widely accepted that the game we now know as ‘craps’ is a modification of this game, ‘hazard’.
Hazard gained immense popularity during the seventeenth century in western Europe, particularly in England and France, where it was enjoyed by European aristocracy.
By the eighteenth century French sailors brought the game (still referred to as ‘hazard’) to North America via New Orleans. The rules of the game were adapted slightly over the years it was played. The new variations were simpler (which no doubts makes some people laugh!) and faster and new terms were introduced for different dice rolls. The simplified version of the game then travelled up the Mississippi River from New Orleans on steamboats and eventually spread across the continent.
The game, however, was evolutionalized by a man called John H. Winn who solved the game’s vulnerability, that is, the use of fixed dice. He introduced the possibility for players to be bet ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in the layout of the craps table and included a space for ‘don’t pass’ bets.
During the past twenty years craps has lost some popularity due to the raise of slot machines and other big casino draw cards (that did not require so much thinking). This led some Las Vegas casinos to experiment with a simplified version of the game which was like blackjack but unfortunately failed.
The development of the internet and online casino and gaming in the 1990s was thankfully a new beginning for craps. Online craps has only be around for a few of years, however, the ability to now play craps online has created a resurgence in the popularity of the game as novices can learn to play in private and not be intimidated by playing before a crowd of spectators.