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The History and Strategy of Craps: Rolling the Dice Through the Ages

Craps is a captivating and exhilarating casino game that has captivated gamblers for centuries. It's a game of chance that requires skill, strategy, and a bit of luck. This article will delve into the fascinating history of craps, from its humble beginnings to its evolution into a modern Las Vegas casino sensation.

We will also explore some key strategies that can help players maximize their chances of success at the craps table, whether you are playing craps online at sportsbooks with sign up bonus or are trying your luck at Caesars Palace or the Bellagio in "Sin City."

A Brief History of Craps

Humans have gambled since the beginning of time, and the origins of craps can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where dice were used as the primary gaming tools. Dice have been discovered in archaeological excavations dating from 3000 BC in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). The game of craps itself evolved from a game called "hazard," which was popular in Europe during the Middle Ages.

The Evolution of Hazard

Hazard was introduced to England by the Crusaders in the 12th century and gained popularity among the nobility. It was a complex game played with two dice with various rules and betting options. The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer mentioned an early version of hazard in the Canterbury Tales in the 14th century. Hazard eventually made its way to France, where it underwent further development and transformation.

Crapaud and the New Orleans Connection

Photo credit: Franz Neumeier from Flickr

In the early 19th century, French settlers brought hazard to the United States, specifically New Orleans. Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, a young gambler and nobleman, is credited as being the person who brought craps to the United States. The game became known as "crapaud," which means "toad" in French, possibly due to how players crouched when throwing the dice. Crapaud had simplified rules compared to its European predecessors, making it more accessible to a broader audience.

De Marigny introduced his version of craps to the local underclass, ultimately making its way onto Mississippi riverboats before spreading far and wide.

The Birth of Modern Craps

In approximately 1907, John H. Winn, a dice maker from Philadelphia, introduced significant changes to the game. He eliminated the unfair practices of certain operators and introduced a layout that allowed players to bet directly against or with the shooter. These innovations laid the foundation for modern craps, and Winn is often credited as the "Father of Modern Craps."

The game's popularity exploded during World War II, as soldier needed some form of entertainment that was mobile and easy to set up at their camps. In addition, the war brought together people from every social class, and the game spread like wildfire. Once the soldiers returned home, the game became increasingly popular in postwar Las Vegas and the Caribbean before being offered worldwide by the 1960s. Online casinos began offering craps around 2004.

The Basics of Craps

Craps is played with two six-sided dice, and the objective is to predict the roll's outcome or series of rolls. Players can place various bets on the outcome, with each bet having different odds and payouts.

The Shooter

In craps, one player takes on the role of the "shooter" and rolls the dice while other players bet on the results of those rolls. The shooter aims to establish a "point" by rolling a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 on the come-out roll (the first roll). Once a point is established, the shooter must roll the point again before rolling a 7 to win.

Pass Line and Don't Pass Line Bets

The two most fundamental bets in craps are the Pass Line and Don't Pass Line bets. When betting on the Pass Line, you essentially bet the shooter will win. Conversely, betting on the Don't Pass Line means you're betting that the shooter will lose.

Key Strategies for Success

Understand the Odds

Craps is a game with a wide range of betting options, each with its own set of odds. To maximize your chances of success, it's essential to understand these odds and make informed bets. The Pass Line and Don't Pass Line bets have some of the best odds, with a house edge of around 1.41%.

Use a Controlled Bankroll

Managing your bankroll is crucial in any casino game, including craps. Set a budget for your gambling session and stick to it. Avoid chasing losses and know when to walk away if you've reached your limit. Your bankroll should only contain money that you can afford to lose. Hopefully, you will win, but that cannot and will not always happen.

Take Advantage of Free Odds Bets

One of the best strategies in craps is to make "free odds" bets after establishing a point. These bets have no house edge and pay true odds, making them incredibly favorable for players. The amount you can bet in free odds varies from casino to casino, so check the table limits before playing.

Learn Betting Patterns

Craps is a social game with its own unique terminology and betting patterns. Observing experienced players can help you learn the etiquette and betting strategies commonly used at the craps table. However, remember that while there are strategies to improve your odds, craps is ultimately a game of chance.

Avoid Proposition Bets

Proposition bets in craps are high-risk, high-reward bets usually best avoided by beginners. These bets include options like betting on the specific combination of the dice or the next roll's outcome. While they may offer substantial payouts, the odds heavily favor the house.


Craps is a game that has evolved over centuries, captivating players with its history and excitement. From its ancient origins to the modern casino version, craps has maintained popularity due to its blend of skill, strategy, and luck. By understanding the game's history and employing key strategies, players can increase their chances of rolling the dice to success at the craps table. Remember, in the world of craps, fortune favors the bold but rewards those who play wisely.
























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