Craps is a game that is enjoyed by millions of people around the world, and it is strange to think that this superb pastime was enjoyed by players as far back as the 17th century.
The Root: Hazard
Craps is a derivative of the old English game known as hazard. This was a popular gambling game which was also played with two dice, and in which players bet against the house. The popularity of hazard thrived in the 17th and 18th centuries, and is thought to have thrived from times as early as the Christian crusades.
The French Step In
The game is then believed to have been manipulated by French gamblers during this period, and various variations known as crabs and crapaud began to be played in gambling dens more globally. The layout was a simplified version of the modern craps table, but still featured the 6 and 8, Come and Field bets. However, players could only bet with the dice against the house; no player could bet in favour of the house.
Modernized in America
The modern American version known as craps was first played in New Orleans in the 19th century, and it is generally agreed that the French gave it its modern name. John H Winn is accounted as having finalised the game in its modern format, devising various methods for the game to be played as either a wrong or right bettor. The main revolutionary move was the creation of the Don’t Pass option. This new version of the game grew in popularity, and the game exploded once gambling was legalised in Nevada in 1931.
Craps and Hazard
Many similarities between craps and hazard can be determined. Similar to the role of shooter in the modern game of craps, hazard was played with only one person, known as the caster, in charge of the dice for the complete betting round. The betting round was decided differently, however. The caster could continue to play so long as he was winning but was forced to pass the dice onto the next player after losing three times in succession.
With hazard, the caster had to bet on a specific number which was known as a main and therefore the game was more limited than the modern version of craps. If the main was rolled, the caster won and like in craps a 2 or 3 would cause him to lose. The outcome of rolls with an 11 and 12 total depended upon the number he had chosen, and the dice total required to win changed after a bet had been undecided for a specified amount of rolls. This is similar to the modern Line and Come bets which require different outcomes if the initial roll leaves the bet undecided.
Craps can be considered to be a modern version of the hazard game with the number 7 functioning as a form of static main. Like the original game, the number 7 is at the centre of all the action. Unfortunately in the modern craps game, however, the majority of bets leave a number 7 in the favour of the casino. However, modern players are at an advantage because they can at least opt to bet for or against the house.