Craps is a spectacular, fast-paced casino game that has been around for centuries but still manages to fascinate gamblers all around the world. In its core, it is a fairly simple game, in which players bet on the outcome of a pair of rolling dice but over the years, its rules and the way it is played has changed profoundly.
For centuries, craps has been popular as a street game in many parts of Europe but today’s casino craps includes many more types of bets, complex rules, and the chance to leave the table with huge profits. The game has gone through a lot of changes, the most recent of which was fueled by the rise of the online gambling industry and the optimization of casino software for mobile platforms. Still, it remains one of the most traditional games you would find in a brick-and-mortar or online casino.
Origins of the Game
1The Middle Ages
As with most table games today, craps has been played for centuries and its origin remains unknown. Some researchers believe that a similar game was played in the Roman Empire but rather than a dice the Romans used a pig’s knucklebones. Another theory suggests that craps or hazard, as it was known for centuries, may be linked to the game of “azzahr” (“al-zahr” or “al dar”, meaning dice) that was popular in the Arabic world during the Middle Ages.
2Invented by the nobleman Sir William
Most researchers, however, believe the origins of the modern game of craps could be traced back to the time of the Crusades and 1125, in particular, when the game was presumably invented by the nobleman Sir William of Tyre. Sir William, according to the historical sources, named the game after the castle where he and his knights engaged in a battle. The castle was known as “Asart” or “Hazarth”, which later became “hazard”.
3Craps in Medieval England
The first written source to mention this game is the classic collection of stories by Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales. Written in the late 14th century, the tales described the life in Medieval England and multiple characters were said to be engaging in some form of dice gambling. Meanwhile, the modern name “craps” most probably derives from the French word “crapaud”, which means toad. The term referred to the squatting position of the players who tossed the dice onto the floor.
4Craps Become Popular in Europe
By the 17th century, the game had become widely popular across Europe and was frequently played in French taverns where it was known as “hazard”. It was also one of the few games that were offered in the first European gambling houses.
Craps Development in the USA
The dice gambling game was brought to North America by French settlers at the beginning of the 17th century. It was played in the New French colony of Acadia, which was located in what is now Eastern Canada’s Maritime provinces. After the French and Indian War (1754-1763), New France lost control of Acadia and as a result, most of the settlers were deported. Some Acadians eventually ended up in today’s Louisiana where they developed the Cajun culture. Craps was a part of this culture.
Craps in Modern Times
Craps became particularly popular during World War II among American soldiers who spread it around the world. Today, the game could be found wherever casino gambling is allowed – from Las Vegas to London and Macau. The development of the Internet and technologies in the past two decades made it possible for craps to be played online, too.
A bet that the dice will fall on 3
This is a bet on 2 and is also known as Snake Eyes for the pair of dice showing 1 each.
Bets that are still active on the table
This is a bet on any of the craps numbers, i.e. 2, 3 or 12
Also known as the Big Red, this bet wins when the shooter rolls a 7
This is the outer perimeter of the craps table
Placing odds on Pass/Don’t Pass or Come/Don’t Come bets
Big 8 and Big 6
Bets that 8 or 6 will be rolled before a 7
A slang for dice.
Place bets on the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10
A bet on 12 (a pair of 6s). This bet is also called midnight or cornrows.
A bet on Any Craps (2, 3, and 12) and 11
The term refers to the unfortunate rolls of the dice when no player makes their point. A cold table is used in a similar fashion
The initial roll of the shooter
To toss 2, 3, or 12 on the come-out roll
The craps numbers or simply craps are 2, 3, and 12
A bet which functions as a Don’t Pass bet after the point has been established
One of the fundamental bets in craps and with it, players bet that the shooter will not make his point
Rolling an even number (4, 6, 8, 10) that is a combination of unlike numbers such as 1 and 3 for a 4
A bet that pays 1:1 or 1 to 1
The Field or Garden bet is a bet that the next roll will be a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12
A synonym for the Pass Line bet
A player who gives the staff good tips
Rolling any of the numbers 4, 6, 8 or 10 with a pair (2-2, 3-3, 4-4, or 5-5)
A bet on 2 or 12
A bet on 2, 12 or 11
A single-roll bet for a specific combination of numbers that pays 15:1
A bet on 2, 3, 11, and 12
Also hot table; the expression refers to a game where players are hitting the established points or are rolling multiple times without sevening out
Place bets on 5, 6, 8, and 9
The commission or vig (from vigorish) taken by the casino on some bets
A bet that 7 will be rolled before the point
Odds placed on the Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets
A slang term for a hard-way 4 (2-2)
This is a small plastic disk that shows the point; one side says “On” and the other “Off”
Rolling a 7 or 11 on the come-out roll
An additional wager placed on the Pass or Come bet that is a multiple of them
Place bets on 4, 5, 9, and 10
Taking the winnings from the previous bet and placing them as a new wager
A fundamental bet in craps made on the come-out roll; a bet that the shooter will make the point
A bet that a particular number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) will be rolled before the 7
The number rolled or established by the come-out roll
A single-roll bet
Betting on the Pass Line
Also called a rack, the rail is the grooved section of the table where players store their chips
An expression used when the shooter rolls a 7 before making the point, thus losing the Pass Line bet
This is the player who tosses the dice
Placing an additional bet behind the Pass or Come bets
Also called a World bet, this a 5-unit wager on 2, 3, 7, 11, and 12
Betting that a 7 will be rolled before the point number appears
This is a bet on 11 and short for Yo-leven