What the craps


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Craps has an uncertain history that seems to derive from a variety of sources. Many believe the game’s origins to stretch back to the time of the Crusades!

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What the craps

  1. 1. What The Craps?© MapleCasino.ca 2011
  2. 2. The game of craps as we know it today has somewhatcontested origins. Some gaming historians trace the gameshistory as far back as the Crusades. According to a numberof historical sources, as soldiers drove pagans out fromwhat was considered holy land, they passed the time byplaying a much earlier version of craps called Hazard. Quiteironically, perhaps, many scholars believe that the origin ofHazard is in fact from the Arabic dice game called Al Zar.Craps as we know it
  3. 3. So perhaps, without knowing it, the very soldiers who werezealously decimating non-Christian pagans were partaking of agaming tradition whose origins lay with their enemies.Geoffrey Chaucer, considered to be a definitively influencing OldEnglish writer, mentions the game hazard in The CanterburyTales. So at least historically, the game seems to owe much of itsorigins to war and bloodshed, which makes its appearance on themodern-day casino floor quite extraordinary.Craps as we know it
  4. 4. The game Hazard grew in popularity in England, and by the 17thcentury there wasnt a single tavern in England where the gamewasnt very well known. It was played frequently in luxurycasinos and many of the nobility were fond of the game. Perhapspredictably, many lost enormous fortunes playing it.The French probably adopted the game from the English, butchanged the name in order to distinguish themselves from theEnglishmen.Craps as we know it
  5. 5. The French are thought to be the first to call this game craps,which is really a corruption of "crabs" – the name given to aplayer that rolls in 2 in Hazard. There seem to be equal numberof sources that show the name “craps” to have originated inAmerica as a mocking term of the Frenchmen. What we know forsure is that craps also owes much of its development to theAmerican South, where locals and African-Americansappropriated and developed it.Craps as we know it
  6. 6. Its not precisely known who took craps to America andhow they did it, but many theories point to the influence ofFrench settlers who displaced the British and moved south –eventually becoming what we know today as the Cajuns.This is the school of thought that claims that the moniker“craps” derives from the derogatory name for the French(“crapaud” being French for “toad”). Again, this has neverbeen proven conclusively.Craps as we know it
  7. 7. Much like poker, a key factor in the dissemination of crapsthroughout America and into the larger population was theinfluence of the great riverboats on the Mississippi that tooktravelers, itinerant gamblers, businessman, and many chancersthroughout a wide variety of geographical locations.During World War II, there developed an intensely popular steetversion of craps amongst soldiers, who would play the game byusing an old army blanket as a shooting surface.Craps as we know it
  8. 8. Much like their predecessors 1000 years earlier, these soldiersused craps as a way of passing the time in between fighting lifeand death battles. And although craps had been firmly establishedin the American consciousness before World War II, Americansoldiers helped to propagate the game even more as they left thewar and took their affection for the game with them.The history of craps then, is uncertain, and draws from a widevariety of influences, histories, cultural traditions and migrations. Visit us: Please feel free to distribute and republish this document providing that all links contained herein remain intact © MapleCasino.ca 2011