The History Of Craps: A Journey Of Bones, War And Keyboards

Mike

Mike

January 6, 2020

Unless you have been living under a rock or have not watched just about any movie with a casino scene, there should be no reason why you would not know about the game of Craps.

Casino Craps has its place in pop culture thanks to the excitement-filled nature of the game. 

The game of dice makes an appearance in just about any James Bond movie — that scene from Diamonds Forever is a standout, and so is the legendary Woody Harrelson in the flick Indecent Proposal.

While the modern version of the game has changed slightly over the years, the history of Craps goes way back to the crusades — the game was originally named after the castle “Hazarth.”

The Early Origins of Craps 

It is widely accepted that the early origins of craps come from the dice game called Hazard. This was an early English game invented in 1125AD by Sir William of Tyre and his knights during the Crusades.

There are also early stories that link the game of Craps to soldiers in the Roman Empire — soldiers would shave pig knuckles into dice-shapes and roll them into their shields for entertainment and bets.

Historians believe that the term ‘roll the bones’ originated from this Roman version of the game.

Europe Spreads Crabs Not Craps

Throughout the middle ages in England, Craps in its early forms began to spread across Europe like the plague.

People loved the game because it did not require much equipment and could be played in the streets.

It was at this time that the game made it into England’s higher-end gambling houses in the early 1700s.

Playing a game of craps was considered a large social event for the high class and involved significant planning. Thanks to their enormous wealth, noblemen and rich players never felt their losses and so the game was a popular pastime.

While the English continued to play the game as Hazard, it wasn’t until the game made it to France, several decades later, that the name changed. The French named it craps, a spinoff of the French word for toad ‘crapaud’ because of the way people would play crouched over.

America Gets The Craps

Craps eventually made its way across the Atlantic and was introduced to New Orleans, Louisiana thanks to a wealthy politician and gambler, Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville.

The game built momentum and spread throughout Acadia, the French colony in Louisiana, before expanding along the Mississippi River and French colonies thanks to gambling boats.

Later in 1755, the French were squeezed out of Acadia as they lost control of the area to the English. As English settlers began to arrive, they brought with them the familiar game of Craps, thus helping spread their version of the popular game in America.

Modern Day Craps in the 20th Century

Although craps had gained a prominent place in the early 20th century, the game still had a flaw — something that was causing problems in gambling houses and casinos.

These early games of Craps allowed players to exploit games. This was corrected in 1907 thanks to John H. Winn, who introduced the ‘don’t pass’ bet, allowing players to bet right or wrong. With this, Winn earned himself the coveted title as the “father of modern-days craps”.

Second World War

During the Second World War, soldiers used Craps as a way to boost morale and pass the time between gunfights.

Today, there are just a few remote places where Craps is not well known and widely played. 

Playing Craps in Online Casinos

With the technological advances of the 21st century and the development of the internet –and later the first online casinos in 1996– Craps was ready to take the next step in world domination!

That is, the world of online casino gambling.

Thanks to online and mobile casinos, players were able to play Craps whenever and from wherever, including having the choice of whether to play free games or playing for real money.

For many players, having Craps available on the internet was a big boost, but there is one area of the game that the internet is yet to replicate –the infectious and exciting charm of the Craps table being a popular social hub at brick and mortar casinos.

Still, we belive that having the best online casino games and gambling bonuses at your fingertips is a good tradeoff for missing out on the social charisma that local casinos offer.

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