History of Craps
Dice games are one the oldest forms of gambling games played by mankind, predating card games by centuries. The earliest “dice” have been found in ancient Egypt by Archeologists in the form of cubes that date back as far as 600 BC. The ancient Roman Empire were keen dice players and gamblers, fashioning dice by shaving sheep or pig knucklebones into cubes. Soldiers would roll dice in their inverted shields and gamble on the outcome to relieve boredom in camps. The saying “roll the bones” which is still used in modern day Craps originates from these old dice games.
Fast forward to the medieval era of crusades, when knights set off to capture Jerusalem from the Islamic forces, a saga that raged for over 500 years resulting in many of the advanced Arabic cultural customs being adopted by the European crusaders. One such custom adopted was the game “Azzah” meaning luck in Arabic. Introduced to France by returning crusaders under the new name Hasard and then onto to England as Hazard.
The name Craps stems from the French word “Crabbe” which was the worst score in Hasard and when introduced to New Orleans became the Cajun word Creps and by 1850 was Americanised to Craps.
How to Play Craps
The first thing to note about the noisiest game played in land-based casinos is that the complex betting layout looks more complicated than it really is. It is actually a fairly easy game to pick up. The board does offer a wide selection of bets but only a few are worth considering.
The way it works, players take turns to throw 2 dice the length of the pit (table). The dice must be thrown together and both have to hit the Back Wall. The score is calculated by adding the two dice scores.
Players predict on the “shooters” luck to throw either a winning or losing score. The shooters first roll is the “come-out” roll. If the is the score is a 7 or 11 then it is a winning score. 2, 3 or 12 are losing scores (craps). Any other scores result in a point being established. The thrower then has the chance to throw repeatedly to match the original score. If he hits a 7 or 11 before this happens it is a losing score and if he does re-throw the original score it is a winning score.
As the shooter, you must bet on “win pass” or “don’t pass” and throw until there is a losing decision called “a miss-out.” As discussed the first throw is the come out. A bet on win pass line wins if 7 or 11 is recorded and a bet on the don’t pass wins if 2, 3 or twelve is thrown.
If the shooter establishes a point and re-throws the original score the win pass bet wins, but if he throws 7 or 11 before then the “don’t pass” bet wins.
Variations of Craps
Like in other casino games, Craps has some rule differences depending on the casino and which variation of Craps is being played. Standard Craps has a rather small house edge, which depends on the type of bet and the side bets placed. One popular form of Craps for beginners is Simplified Craps.
In Simplified Craps, there is no Pass Line/Don’t Pass Line bet or Craps. Whether you win or lose is decided by a simple roll of the dice and the number rolled. This, however, comes with higher house edge (2.8%).
Other forms of Craps are New York Craps (with a house edge of 5%), High Point Craps (with an initial roll of 2 or 3 ignored and rerolled) and Crapless Craps in which you can never lose a Pass Line bet by rolling a 2,3 or 12.
You can learn the differences in gameplay by trying out the different versions of Craps in demo-mode at any of the popular online casinos out there. For the most part, online Craps is identical to casino craps. One player shoots at a time, but many players can participate and make bets. The main difference regarding online play is that many online rooms will have a practice setting where players can play for free. Most real-life casinos will require the shooter to make a bet.
Online Craps Strategies and Tips
As one would expect of a casino game, the house always has an edge. However, in Craps, the edge depends on your bet. So our first tip is to learn the odds for each of them. There is a huge number of different kinds of bets you can make and this may look daunting.
As a beginner, the player should learn a few of them at first and try their luck using them. You can build your knowledge of the game little by little as you learn more.
Craps is an exciting casino game, and the seemingly endless ways to make side bets make it even better. Like in roulette, you can bet on rare occurrences or something which is very likely to occur. The payouts are obviously related to the odds of getting your bet right. You should avoid bets that have the highest house advantage. Some of the bets in Craps are good, others downright awful. Learning the game is part of the fun.
There are several betting strategies in Craps devised by hopeful gamblers. The most well-known of them is the Martingale strategy. Using this strategy, the player places an initial bet of, say, 1 dollar. If he wins he keeps the winnings. If he loses, he makes the same bet again, but with double the original bet. It is hoped that before the maximum bet allowed on the table is reached the odds have become in the player’s favour. Since all the casinos have a minimum as well as a maximum bet, this strategy will not be bulletproof.
Mathematically, you cannot beat the house edge with any strategy. For this reason, we advise you not to believe in any strategy you might have read about online or in a book. Casino games should be played for the thrills, not to try to become rich. Responsible gambling is key to avoiding the inherent dangers of gambling.