A Brief History of Online Craps

Craps table and casino chips

Craps has plenty of betting options, and although it is quite simple to play, this can make it feel very complicated for beginners. With a little time and practice, however, you’ll be familiar with all its ins and outs and will soon see why the game of dice is such a casino classic. To give you an even greater appreciation of online Craps, learn more about its rich heritage below.

Throwing the Bones

The earliest origins of Craps are a little murky. Some say it was a favourite pastime of Roman soldiers, who used pigs’ knuckles as dice and their shields as boards. This may even be where the phrase “to throw the bones” came from.

Later Sir William of Tyne, an English nobleman, is commonly believed to have used it to keep his men entertained while on the Crusades. Since it was developed as his men were laying siege to Hazarth Castle in 1125 AD, some scholars say, the early game came to be known as Hazard. On the other hand, Hazard may well have developed from Azzahr or Al Dar, a popular Arabic game from the same period that came to the west via 12th-century merchants.

Craps table and casino chips
Source: Wikimedia

Either way, it seems safe to say that Hazard was popular in continental Europe and Britain during the Middle Ages. The game is even mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, considered by historians to be a reliable source of information on the culture of the time.

Popular With the Nobles

In the 16th and 17th centuries Hazzard became a favourite of the aristocracy in England, France and other countries. In fact, records show that French mathematician Montmort established its official rules in the 1700s. Many fortunes were made and lost as the upper classes indulged in their love of Hazzard, and it was only natural that they bring the game with them when they travelled to the New World of America.

What’s in a Name?

Both English and French pioneers are credited with bringing Craps to Americas in the 18th century, and the timeline here is also a little unclear. What we do know is that this is the time when the name Craps first came to be used.

Craps table and casino chips
Source: pixabay

Some say the word is derived from the French “crapaud” meaning toad, because this is what players looked like as they crouched over the dice in the “street Craps” that became a widespread pastime among Louisiana farmhands. The other likely origin for the name is that it comes from “crabs”, contemporary slang for the lowest possible dice total in the game. In the Louisiana dialect, this word sounds like “Craps”.

The Modern Era

John H. Winn, an American dice maker, is credited with creating the basis for the modern-day online Craps that we know and love today. Before he introduced the “don’t pass” bet around 1907, crooked dice could be used to unfairly influence the results.

Winn’s version spread like wildfire all along the Mississippi, thanks to gambling boats, and Craps became a firmly-established part of local culture in the American South. When the Second World War broke out, the game’s portable nature made it a hit with soldiers just as it had in the time of the Roman Empire and the Crusades.

American military men returning home from WWII brought their love of Craps with them, taking it to even more parts of the country. This included Las Vegas, which was just starting to boom in Nevada. The rest, as they say, is history! Now you can enjoy the game of dice in casinos the world over, from land-based to top-quality online Craps versions.