The History of Craps

Craps is possibly the most popular game of chance in the modern world.  However, the game has been around in various forms since antiquity, making it also one of the oldest games in the world. There are conflicting reports about the origins of craps, or Hazard as it was originally called.  Many sources cite medieval knights developing the game during a castle siege during the Crusades.  Others sources cite the game as being Arabic in origin.  It is distinctly possible that both accounts have an element of truth, as the Crusades put European knights in close proximity to Arabic traditions.

Still additional sources cite the origins of the game with Roman soldiers, who once rolled dice made of pig's knuckles (knucklebones) on their shields.  Dice can also be traced back to shamanistic practices that were alleged to predict the future and shed light on questions.

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Regardless of how the game developed, Hazard came home with the Crusaders when they returned to their fields and fiefs after the war.  After this, the game saw an enormous explosion in popularity throughout Europe.  Hazard is mentioned in such works as the Canterbury Tales and was a favorite in all medieval gambling houses.  As the game spread throughout Europe and the centuries took their toll on it, the name was changed to craps, possibly as a corruption of crabs, the roll of a 2.

The game then made its way to the Americas, by the English or the French, but more likely by both.  The game spread throughout the colonies and into the Wild West, where it was enshrined in taverns, bars and gambling dens.  However, there was no regulation in dice until John Winn devised a method for betting against the shooter. Other innovations in dice, including the use of "house" dice, made it more and more difficult for a shooter to cheat the house or other gamblers.

Over the years, the popularity of craps has declined very little.  However, the coming of modern gambling (electronic devices) has diversified the playing field more than a little.  The slot machine, video poker and sports betting have all taken their toll on the game of craps.  However, the game remains enormously popular, especially in America.  Almost all casinos have several craps tables, many of them reserved for high rollers.  Very recent years have seen a resurgence in craps enthusiasm, as online gaming and a new generation have brought the game into the 21st century.

However, online craps has quite a bit of change to undergo before it becomes as popular as its real world counterpart does.  As algorithms improve and RNGs (random number generators) become more sophisticated, online craps is set to take off, just as other online gambling options have done in the last few years.

Whether you are a fan of actually holding the dice in your hand, or long for the day when virtual craps becomes as high quality as other games, the future of the game is assured.