How to Play Craps : History of Craps

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How to Play Craps : History of Craps

Hi, I’m Joseph Hickerson, pit manager in a local casino and on behalf of Expert Village, I am going to give the introduction on how to play casino style craps. The dice are the oldest form of gambling tools. Dice and games associated with dice can be found all over the ancient world. The origin of dice can be traced to pre-historic times when medicine men used bones, sticks and stones, arrow heads to predict the future for their tribes, by throwing them to the ground and reading the outcome.

American Indians used four sided knuckle bones to create their dice games. In the Arabic language, the word for knuckle bone and dice means the same thing. This goes to show that dice were popular in the Arab world for longer than anybody can remember. Maybe that’s where we get the term throwing the bones.

Modern looking square dice were found in Egypt and dated back to 600 BC. In Greek and Roman civilizations, the dice were made of more expensive materials like ivory, precious stones, gold, silver and porcelain. Roman Emperors Augustus and Nero were devout dice players. They even tried to cheat at the game.

The material for modern casino dice is made of hard cellulose. The cellulose is transparent to avoid dice loading and sometimes called perfect dice. The history of dice and dice games is a few thousand years old but the history of modern day craps is a lot shorter.

The direct predecessor of modern day craps was an English game called Hazard. There is evidence that Hazard was played by the soldiers in the twelfth century during the third crusade. Today it’s believed that the first English settlers on the Mayflower brought the game to America. English Hazard became really popular in New Orleans around 1800 where the French called it craps. After that, the rules and the odds changed many times. One variation became especially popular in gaming houses at the end of the 19th century.

At that time, casino tables had a simple layout. Players could only bet with the dice or against the house. Finally, John H Winn revolutionized the game and made it possible for craps players to bet right and wrong. He improved the layout, drew a space for the don’t pass bets and in 1931, gambling was legalized in the state of Nevada, and casino craps, Las Vegas style, became popular all over the world.