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History of Craps

A quick look at the history of craps. Craps is said to have originated from a game that was known as "Hazard" (which is said to have been invented by the Englishman, Sir William of Tyre and his knights, during the crusades). Bernard de Mandeville introduced it to New Orleans (circa 1813) and it rapidly became popular throughout the country; eventually it made its way into the American casinos.

The origins of the game are still disputed to this date, but despite whoever took Craps to America, it was there that the game was simplified to become the game of Craps that we know today. It is in the south of the U.S. that the development and invention of the game of Craps is attributed to African Americans in the early 19th century. An American slang for Crapshooting and dice play is African Dominoes. Some claim the name Craps comes from the term given to the French - Johnny Crapaud (Crap being French for toad. A nickname referring to the French taste for eating amphibians). But the name Craps is almost certainly a corruption of the name for a losing throw of 2 in Hazard - crabs. It may have been the French who came up with the name or the African Americans of the south who first played it. No one knows for sure!

So what's the true history of craps? It is still being debated to this day. The fact is though, craps spread rapidly to the gambling riverboats on the Mississippi, and from there to the rest of the U.S. Later, a dice maker called John H. Winn developed the game further so that players could bet with or against the shooter. This development negated the usefulness of playing with crooked dice (a common practice at the time). John H. Winn is commonly acknowledged as the father of modern Craps, and his version of the game became the modern 20th century casino game of Bank Craps with layouts and tables as we know it now. That's the history of craps as far as the Guru knows. If you would like to share otherwise, please contact me using the email link located at the bottom left-hand corner of this page.


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