History of Craps
Craps-Info's quick take on the history of craps. The name "Craps" is said to be derived from the French pronunciation of the word, "Crabs" a corruption of the word "crabs" which is the name given to a losing throw of 2 in an ancient game called Hazard. Craps is said to be a descendant of this ancient game, but the history of craps and hazard are both still heavily debated.
Developed around the 1700's, Hazard was played by members of the European aristocracy. Craps came to America through the French Louisiana colony of Arcadia. By 1813, a man named Bernard de Mandeville of New Orleans took the game of hazard, simplified it, and created the first version of craps. His adaptation of Hazard quickly traveled up the Mississippi River on steamboat casinos, and spread throughout the United States. Mandeville's craps had one major flaw however; the game was vulnerable to the use of fixed dice due to its betting rules.
A man named John H. Winn fixed the problem by introducing the possibility for players to bet 'right' or 'wrong' in the layout of the craps table, including a space for 'Don't Pass' bets. His adjustments revolutionized craps, thus eliminating the usefulness and effectiveness of fixed dice, and making it possible for players to bet for or against the roller.
Looking a bit further into the history of craps, some believe that the game originated from soldiers of the Roman Legions who played with pig knucklebones shaped into cubes around the time of the Holy Roman Empire. They would "roll the bones" onto their shields for entertainment.
World War II also witnessed soldiers using craps in its modern form as entertainment, and it was extremely popular as a way for them to break the monotony of war. Even movies included the game in their story lines as casino craps started to take over the gambling world.
The origins and history of craps are still hottly debated, but one thing is certain, the game has been around for hundreds of years, and looks set to continue holding an important place in gambling traditions globally.