The French learned the
game from the English and called it Craps or French Hazard, a
corruption of "Crabs," the name for a pair of ones. In
French hazard the player throws against the house. In English or
Chicken Hazard the player throws against an opponent.
When settlers arrived in
the new world, they brought their dice with them. And, gradually,
as dice were rolled on riverboats, wharfs and in private houses, a
simplified Americanized version of "Craps" developed:
Bernard de Mandeville adapted Craps from the game Hazard in New
Orleans in 1813 and simplified hazard into the present game of
private craps. So the casino dice game of craps is of American
Private craps then moved
up the Mississippi river on steamboats and spread to casinos and
gambling halls throughout the country. This original version of
craps allowed only "field" and "come bets",
which made the game very vulnerable against fixed dice, which were
It wasn't until John H.
Winn, a dice-maker by trade, created an innovated version of
craps, where players could bet for, or against the roller. This
eliminated the usefulness of fixed dice and created the very
popular versions of craps that are played today.
The popular game moved
west with the frontier, and is played today in homes and clubs
across the country. By 1910, craps had become the most popular
casino game in the world. As many as 30 million Americans play
dice every year. And the stakes can be gigantic. Some years ago, a
Detroit businessman broke a casino bank when he won $300,000 in
less than two hours of play.