Craps is widely believed to have originated in Egypt as far back as 1573 BC. And while there are numbers of opinions claiming otherwise, most agree Craps is probably the oldest confirmed game of chance in which dice were used.
Some claim Craps descended from an earlier game called Hazard that dates to the Middle Ages. There is also evidence that a form of Craps can be dated back to the time of the Roman Empire. Soldiers were believed to shave down pig knuckles into the shapes of cubes, and toss them onto their inverted shields as a form of entertainment while in camp. Hence the term "to roll the bones."
Where the name Craps originated from is still argued. Some insist it comes from the English crabs, and others insists it's from the French word Crapeaud, meaning toad. What we do know for sure is that the game we know today as "Craps " came to the United States from Europe.
Modern day Craps - considered the fastest, noisiest, and most exciting game in the casinos - is an American game that was developed on the Mississippi and other inland waterways during the great steamboat era of the 1800s. It also has the best odds of any casino game at both land-based and online casinos .
How Craps is Played
Of all the standard casino games based on pure chance, Craps is said to offer the greatest odds. In Craps, players wager money against the casino on the outcome of one roll, or of a series of rolls of two dice. Basically, players take turns rolling the dice, and they all bet on the same roll, regardless of who is rolling. The player rolling the dice is called the shooter. The first roll of a new round is called the "come-out roll." All bets are based on the total of both dice together, never on just one die.
There are loads of different bets in Craps , but the most common is the "pass line" wager which nearly all players make. On a come-out roll, the pass line bettors win when either a 7 or 11 is rolled. A 2, 3, or 12 loses, and is called "craps ". When any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) is rolled it's called the point. Once a point has been set, the pass-line bettor wins if the point is rolled again, and loses if a 7 is rolled first ("seven-out"). After a seven-out the dice pass to the next shooter for a new come-out roll.
The "don't pass" bet is the opposite of a "pass line" bet and wins on a come-out roll of 2 or 3, loses on 7 or 11, ties on 12, and goes to the point round when any other number is rolled. In the point round the don't pass bet wins if a 7 is rolled and loses if the point is rolled. People who bet on the don't pass are referred to as wrong bettors, while those who bet on the pass are called right bettors because most craps players make the pass line bet instead of the don't pass bet.
A casino Craps table is run by four casino employees: a boxman who guards the chips, supervises the dealers and handles coloring out players; two base dealers who stand to either side of the boxman and collect and pay bets; and a stickman who stands directly across the table from the boxman and announces the results of each roll and then collects the dice with a long wooden stick. He is also in charge of managing the bets made on the center of the table. For clarity, the number 11 is referred to as "yo" so as not to be confused with the number 7.
A new shooter is offered five dice by the stickman and picks two and must bet the table minimum on either the pass line or the don't pass line to play. Dealers usually insist that the shooter roll with one hand and that the dice bounce off the wall surrounding the table. This is meant to prevent cheating attempts by players switching the dice or making a "controlled shot." If a die leaves the table, (highly unlikely with online casinos ), the shooter will usually be asked to select another die from the remaining three but can request using the same die if it passes the boxman's inspection. This requirement is used in an effort to reduce cheating the game by players substituting loaded dice for the regulation dice.
There are 36 possible combinations of outcomes (see below) when rolling a pair of 6-sided dice. On the come-out roll there are 8 ways to win, 4 ways to lose and (36-12=) 24 ways to start a point.
1-1 = 1 way to make a 2
1-2 2-1 = 2 ways to make a 3
1-3 2-2 3-1 = 3 ways to make a 4, true odds pays 2-1
1-4 2-3 3-2 4-1 = 4 ways to make a 5, true odds pays 3-2
1-5 2-4 3-3 4-2 5-1 = 5 ways to make a 6, true odds pays 6-5
1-6 2-5 3-4 4-3 5-2 6-1 = 6 ways to make a 7
2-6 3-5 4-4 5-3 6-2 = 5 ways to make an 8, true odds pays 6-5
3-6 4-5 5-4 6-3 = 4 ways to make a 9, true odds pays 3-2
4-6 5-5 6-4 = 3 ways to make a 10, true odds pays 2-1
5-6 6-5 = 2 ways to make an 11
6-6 = 1 way to make a 12
Craps expressions can be heard all the time in all sorts of conversations not even having anything to do with gambling. For example: "on a roll", "crapshoot", "no dice", "crap out", "Snake Eyes" and "do it the hard way" all originated from Craps . The plot in the musical "Guys and Dolls" revolves around Craps games which "float" from location to location. And the classic song from Guys and Dolls "Luck Be a Lady Tonight," most famously sung by Frank Sinatra, includes the lyrics, "A lady doesn't wander all over the room / And blow on some other guys dice," making reference to Craps etiquette. A lady blowing on the shooter's dice before he rolled was supposed to bring the shooter good luck. It was seen as inappropriate for a lady to blow on the dice of a man other than the one she was with at the casino.
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