History Of Craps And Dice
Are you curious about the history of craps and dice? The game of craps has come a long way, and dice has been along for the ride since its inception. No, craps and dice were not invented by the big-time Las Vegas casinos. Nor was the immensely entertaining and addictive game born in the stairwells of some slum building in the ghetto. No, the game of craps and dice is old, very old. So, exactly how old is craps?
Craps is a very old game. It's older than basketball. It's older than football. Craps and dice are even older than baseball. Craps and dice, or some variation of the two, have been alleged to exist as far back as the times of the Caesar. "When Caesar made his critical decision to take his victorious army across the Rubicon against the edict of Rome, he took his retort from the lexicon of the dice player: 'lacta alea est.' The die is cast." This suggests that guys in togas were playing craps behind the Coliseum steps.
Fast forward to 13th-century Europe. This is when the father of the modern form of craps and dice is first mentioned. Alfonso X describes the game in detail in his "Libro de Los Juegos." The English translation of this book is "Book of Games." The original name for the game was "Hazard." It was a much more complicated version of modern craps. You can also see references to this very game in Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." This version of the game stayed basically the same and made its way to the American colonies right along with the settlers. "Hazard" also made its way to France.
During the early 1800s, both the American and French versions of the game went through many changes. The original version of craps, like so many European-born ideas, was drawn out and boring. The French and the Americans changed many of the rules and sped the game up considerably. By 1818, the French were calling the game "Krabs" as we were beginning to call the game "Craps." The modern name "Craps" was born out of the situation of rolling a two or three on the dice, which were originally known as "crabs." By this point the modern game that so many of us play and lose today was forming.
Like so many other mainstream elements of American culture, craps and dice didn't start in the mainstream realm. The fast-paced, exciting version, which we all play today, wasn't created in gambling houses. African Americans from the South created today's version of craps. More specifically, black folks from Mississippi and New Orleans gave us the modified version. And like all things that catch popularity with the people, it was only a matter of time before big business sunk its teeth into the idea, making big profits in the process. By the late 19th century, craps made another move, straight to the mainstream. It was in every gambling house in the country.
By 1907, craps was the most popular gambling game because of the work done by John H. Winn. He introduced all the new innovations you'd see in the mainstream big money games. While the private game remains basically the same as it was when the normal American folks picked up the dice in the late 1800s, by 1931 Nevada legalized big time gambling. The casino version of craps was introduced to suckers around the country that couldn't wait to bet big to win big. Just one roll could change your life for better or worse, depending on your "luck".