The Game of Craps – Historical Overview

casino craps guideCraps is one of the games that are considered as traditional for casinos up to date, no matter if it comes to a entering a regular brick-and-mortar casino or accessing a web-based one. This is a dice game over which players place their wagers on the probably outcome of the roll or a series of rolls. Players could also wager on a pair of dice.

Due to the fact that there is normally a variety of wagers, including line bets, single roll bets, multi-roll bets, etc., and it could be quite hard for a player to predict what the eventual outcome of the roll would be. This is exactly why craps is considered one of the hardest casino games ever.

Of course, there are various interesting theories on how the game evolved over historical times. The most common belief about the origin of craps is the fact that it is a variation of the Old English game called Hazzard. Currently, there are three main forms of craps – online, casino and street.

Street craps is normally played by various groups of people in a room or alley, and it was quite popular among soldiers. Casino craps, on the other hand, is different from street craps. This is the most popular form of the game, while the third variation – online craps – has become more popular over the last few years due to the rapid development of technologies.

Liberty Slots Casino
Sign Up

100% up to


Intertops Casino Classic
Sign Up

100% up to


BetOnline Casino

20% up to


Early Origin – The Roman Empire

There are some historical evidence that suggests that the game of craps may have been created and evolved over the time of the Holy Roman Empire. That was the time when the soldiers in the Roman legions used to play with pig knuckles by tossing them onto their shields and this is how the term “to roll the bones” got prevalent.

According to historical sources, the game of hazard was invented by Sir William of Tyre – an English noble – and his knights over the Crusades at a time when they were waiting to lay siege on Hazarth in 1125 AD.

The Middle Ages

According to some theories, the game of craps has very much in common with a game called “azzahr” (Hazard) that was popular among the Arabs in the Middle Ages.

The early game of craps managed to spread rapidly in Europe and actually became quite popular in England over the Middle Ages. It was frequently mentioned by the medieval author Geoffrey Chaucer in his “Canterbury Tales” which, according to some scholars, is an indication that the game was well-known at the time.

Later, in the period from the late 1600s and early 1700s, the game of hazard expanded its reach to the luxurious gambling houses in England. Some of the most enthusiastic players could be found among the royalty and the noblemen, making the game a huge social event. Noblemen also played it as a favourite pastime.

Historical reports say that the formal rules for Hazard were officially established by Montmort in the 1700s. The term crabs came to mark the roll of lowest value in the game and is considered by some to have given the name to the entire game, changing the initial name “hazard”. It was the early 1700s when the game was brought to Acadia (French colony).

craps dice and table

Craps’ Evolution of Terms in America

Later in the 18th century – in 1755 – France lost control of Acadia, which became and English colony under the name of Nova Scotia. The French were forced out of the territory and landed up in Louisiana. This is how their culture, part of which was the game of crabs, came to the territory of America. In addition, the game was referred to as “crebs” or “creps”.

According to other historical sources, the game of craps was brought to America along with the first English settlers on the Mayflower. By the middle of the 19th century, American English caused the term craps to prevail over the other names of the game. Of course, it is possible for both the English and the French to have brought their own version of the game, but still, the basics of craps always remained the same.

Later, in the 19th century African-American people of the South had the invention of the modern craps game attributed to them. The game, however, spread around America and several new variations of the game appeared, with the rules being simplified in comparison to the original game of hazard.

Craps in the 20th Century

It was in the 20th century when the game of craps became a prominent card game. It had its roots deep down in the American lifestyle, and then branched out into two basic forms – casino craps and street craps. Since then, craps has remained as one of the most popular casino games that has been attractive to thousands of players all over the world.

In 1907, John H. Winn revolutionized the craps. This is exactly why he has been granted with the honourable title of the “Father of Modern-Days Craps”. Thanks to the changes he implemented, players could now bet right or wrong. In addition, Winn improved the game’s layout and implemented the so-called “Don’t Pass bets” area.

The layout and betting system Winn is responsible for were introduced to the game of craps and are still kept to date. This version is known as modern day craps or also casino craps. Later, with the legalization of gambling on the territory of Nevada in the 1930s, casino games as a whole became quite popular in America. This is why casino craps became one of the most-preferred games in the casino world and was considered as quite prominent in casinos.

At the time of the Second World War, many soldiers played craps to pass the time between battles. Over the war, the game spread to various parts of the world and as a result, there are only a few places on Earth where the game of craps is not known.

Over the past century, the game of craps became more and more popular, with thousands of players trying to find out the best way to beat the house edge. Various betting and progressive craps systems have been developed in an attempt to take advantage over the game, and the crooked dice system that was eliminated at the time of John H. Winn was now reinvented.

craps dice 1s pair

Craps in the 21st Century

The development of technologies made it possible for the casino industry to go online. After the gambling industry became part of the Internet offerings, the great future of the business online was actually predetermined, as the casino industry became more exciting, and the traditional games were integrated on online casino platforms.

For the first time, casino customers were granted with the opportunity to play the game of craps more easily, choosing whether to bet real money or play for free. Up to date, there is a great variety of web-based casinos that offer a great number of craps versions with fantastic looks and features.

Probably the only aspect that an online game of craps could hardly capture is the fact that most brick-and-mortar casinos are something like a social hub. Still, with the constantly development of the business, various options are available for the players even if they prefer playing over the Internet.

Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Reddit