Dice games have been around for more than 2,000 years. The game of Craps was invented by Sir William of Tyre in 1125 AD during the Crusades. Sir William and his troops came upon a castle which was named “Asart” or “Hazarth” and the dice game became a pastime for them while laying siege to the castle. They called the game Hazard which was named after the castle that was seized.
Other historians believe that the game of Craps originated from an Arabic dice game called “Al Zar”, which means dice in the Arabic language. It is thought that merchants brought the game over to Europe in the 12th Century.
In the 17th Century, Hazard (Craps) became a huge pastime in England and could be observed in every tavern in England. The name “Craps” which originated from the name crapaud (meaning “toad” in reference to the original style of play by people crouched over a floor or sidewalk), came from the Frenchmen who changed the name from Hazard to distinguish them from the Englishmen. What was to become the modern American version of the game was brought to New Orleans by Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, a gambler and politician descended from wealthy colonial Louisiana landowners. There was a flaw in de Mandeville’s version of the game in which players could exploit the casino using fixed dice and taking advantage of the way players can bet with or against the dice thrower.
John H. Winn advanced the game further in the 19th Century when he introduced the “don’t pass” betting option in order to fix de Mandeville’s problem and it is this version of Craps that still exists today.
Craps can seem a tad intimidating when first starting out, but really isn’t that hard to play. In fact, you only need to grasp a few bets to get great odds and play like a pro. The most important bet to understand is the “pass line” bet. It is made by putting your chips on the pass line before the “come out roll”. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 the bet pays even money, if the shooter “craps out” by rolling a 2, 3 or 12 you lose the bet. But if the shooter rolls any other number, that number becomes the “box point” and you win your bet if that same number is rolled again before the shooter “7’s out”. Once the point has been established you can “take odds”, which is an additional bet that the box point will be rolled before a 7. This is the one of the best bets on the casino floor because it pays true odds.
Once you have fully mastered this strategy you can expand it to include “come” bets. This is exactly like a pass line bet except that you can bet this before any roll other than the come out roll and the next roll becomes the come out roll for your come bet. To make a come bet you will place your chips on the come line before the roll. You can take odds on the come bet just as you can on the pass line bet and the math is exactly the same
Not for the weak of heart, Craps is an invigorating, fast-paced game. All players must place their bets before the action starts and then it’s between you and Lady Luck!