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Craps History

Craps History
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Craps (previously known as crabs) is a gambling game played with two dice; a first throw of 7 or 11 wins and a first throw of 2, 3, or 12 loses and a first throw of any other number must be repeated to win before a 7 is thrown, which loses the bet and the dice.

The dice are the oldest gambling tools. According to Scarne’s research, the dice and the games associated with them can be found all over the ancient world. Roman Emperors Augustin, Nero and Caligula were devoted dice players. They even tried to cheat at the game. Modern looking cubical die was found in Egypt and it was dated at 600 B.C. Indian ancient epic "Mahabharata" tells the stories about the warriors throwing the dice and loosing fortunes. Koreans were also big fans of the dice in the early days. American Indians used four-sided knucklebones to create their dice games. The fact that Arabic language uses the same word for a knucklebone and a die means that the dice were popular in Arab world for a longer time that anybody can remember.

The origin of the dice can be traced to a prehistoric time when a primordial fortuneteller used to throw sacred arrows, bones, sticks and stones upon the ground trying to predict the future for his tribe. Before they became gambling devices, the dice were a shaman’s attributes. After that they went through a long evolution of shape, size, form and markings. They were made of wood, stones, bones, animal teeth and horns, nutshells and seeds. In Greek and Roman civilizations the dice were made of more expensive materials like ivory, precious stones and metals, and porcelain. The material for modern casino dice (perfect dice) is hard cellulose. The dice edges are razor sharp, and the corners are needle sharp. The cellulose is transparent to avoid dice loading.

The history of the dice and the dice games in general is few thousands years old. However, the history of modern craps is a lot shorter – only hundred years old. The direct predecessor of modern craps was an english game of "Hazard". There is historical evidence that it was played by the soldiers in twelfth century during the Third Crusade, led by the three most powerful kings of Western Europe: Frederick Barbarossa of The Holy Roman Empire, Philip Augustus of France and Richard The “Lion Heart of England”. Hazard was probably created long before the crusaders. It is possible that the first English settlers on "Mayflower" brought it to America.

English Hazard became very popular in New Orleans around 1800, where French called it craps. After that rules and odds changed many times. Few new variations of the game popped up which were simpler and faster than original Hazard. One variation – Table Off game – became especially popular with gambling establishments at the end of 19th century. At that time casino tables and a simple layout, featuring the 6 and 8, the Field, the Win and the Come bets, were introduced. However, the players could bet only with the dice against the House.

What is known is that the game, as we know it today, was revised by dice maker John H Winn who invented the concept of betting with or against the shooter. The layouts and tables further evolved once gambling became legalised in Las Vegas and encouraged craps to go on to be one of the most popular casino games today. Indeed the game of craps is one of Littlewoods most popular online casino games.

One thing can be sure that the game of craps has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to hold an important place in gambling tradition.


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