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Craps History

The History of Craps

Craps — the game with the funny name — is derived from older dice games that were played in various parts of the world. In fact, games played with dice are the oldest types of gambling games, predating card games by centuries. Historians have discovered ancient cubes that they deduced were used as dice at Egyptian archeological sites dating back to 600 B.C.E.

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Ancient Roman Dice Games

A rudimentary form of craps was already played in the time of the Roman Empire. Soldiers of the Roman Legions would carve pig knuckles into cubes, and play games of tossing them on their inverted shields. From these ancient games, we still use the term "roll the bones" in modern craps.

There is evidence that in various historic times dice have been made of clay, animal teeth and nutshells, as well. In more rarified circles, dice were even made of gold, silver, porcelain and ivory. Today most dice are made of plastic, though dice used in casinos are usually made out of cellulose, a transparent material, which allows for sharp edges and corners. The transparency also allows everyone concerned to see whether the dice are "loaded."

The French Bring Craps to America

The modern game of craps is directly descended from the Arabic game of "azzahr," meaning "the die." Azzahr was brought to France by returning Crusaders, who called it "hasard." From France, the game crossed the Channel to England, where the spelling "hazard" was adopted. The new game spread throughout England, and is even mentioned in Chaucer's classic Canterbury Tales.

The French also brought their game to the New World, first to Arcadia (now Nova Scotia) and later to New Orleans, where it became a hugely popular game. Some changes were made to the game by Bernard Mandeville and the game spread throughout the United States. In 1865 an American dice maker named John H. Winn introduced some more changes to the game, and it is Winn's version that is played in craps casinos today.

The Name of the Game is Craps

So how did the great game of Hazard become known as Craps? As far back as the 1500s, the worst roll of the Hazard dice was called "crabs." The English "crabs" became "crabes" in French, and then "crebs" or "creps" in Cajun, the French dialect spoken in New Orleans. By 1850, the Cajun word entered into American English as "craps," and that became the name of the game.

Online Craps is Born

The development of the Internet and the online casino in the 1990s opened the door for a new wave of craps popularity. The primary contribution of online craps was that it eliminated the intimidation factor. Newcomers could learn to play craps online at their own pace, with easy-to-follow online tutorials and free practice games, without fear of looking or feeling foolish. Thus, a whole new generation of players learned to play and win at craps. Indeed, the internet craps casino has ushered in a renaissance in popularity for this ancient yet modern gambling game. Playing craps online has now become a favorite pastime of many thousands of people around the world.

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