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Craps History

There are a couple of theories when it comes to where craps originated. I’ll list all theories that I have come across and leave the decision making up to you. The reality may be is that they all hold a little bit of water.

One theory is that in ancient times rolling of bones was done to divine the will of the gods, and that evolved to various dice games (including Craps). For example, some fortune tellers in Cuba through sea shells and 'read' them.

Another take has the game evolving from an early Arab game passed through England, France and North America.Even before the Middle Ages, the Arabs played a game using little numbered cubes, called azzahr (meaning "the die"). The game showed up across the Mediterranean in France, where it was renamed hasard, then jumped to England some time before the 1500s AD where it was given the English spelling of the same word; hazard. The roll of lowest value in that game was called crabs. The French adopted that term from the English, but the French spelling was crabes. In the early 1700s, the game crossed the Atlantic to the French colony of Acadia (Canada).

In 1755, the French lost Acadia to the English who promptly renamed it Nova Scotia and banished the French-speaking Acadians, who migrated a great distance and finally relocated to Louisiana, where they were called (as they still are) Cajuns. There they developed a language called Louisiana French. They still played the good old dice game, but dropped the title of hasard and called the game simply crebs or creps, which was their modified spelling of the French crabes.

By 1843, the Cajun word came into American English as craps. People were apparently careful for a while not to omit the final 's' for fear of confusion with a slang term having a totally different meaning, but that's another story.

However all historians seem to agree on one point, Craps was brought over to North America from Europe in the early 1700's. The game was first played on riverboats in the United States and then moved west with the frontier as the country grew.

In general there are two types of Craps games played today: "Street Craps" and "Bank Craps". Street Craps is the variety you would find being played in informal settings. The betting is simplified, and someone must cover the bet in order for the game to progress. Bank Craps on the other hand is the form played in land based and online casinos. The betting is more complicated and the house covers the bets (banks the game) so the players are in effect playing against the house.

Online craps represents a new paradigm in gaming, and provides some interesting possibilities for players in general. The same rules apply for online craps though, and playing smart bets over dumb ones is something that will never change. Although, online Craps does lend itself to a more serene playing environment where the player can relax and in theory, make better betting decisions.
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