Gaming History: Who Came Up With Craps?

Date Created: Jul 22
Written by Jerico

If you’ve visited a casino at least once in your life, you would have seen this game on the floor with a lot of people cheering around it. This is the popular casino dice game called craps. A lot of movies have also featured this game too, particularly movies that show casinos and the leads playing this game.

Before we tackle the history of this game, let us first understand how it is played and how you can win at it. As mentioned earlier, it is a dice game. If you are new to this game, the table alone can seem intimidating with all that is written on it and the people cheering you on when you toss the dice.

To make this game less intimidating, here is the simplified version of the game. The objective is to win, plain and simple. Now here comes the tricky part. Winning isn’t as easy as some people might think, but if a person is lucky, they can make a killing at craps.

There are a few terms you need to be familiar with when you play this game. There is the shooter and there are people who bet on the outcome of the shooter’s dice. If you’re the shooter, you will be the one setting the tone for the game. The first toss of the dice is called the come-out roll. The only areas you can bet on before you toss your come-out roll are the pass line and don’t pass bar.

All players at a table can become shooters since the dice is passed to the next player when the previous shooter seven’s out (more on this later). The dice is passed around the table clockwise, but if you don’t want to become a shooter, you can pass the dice on to the next person. You can, however, place a bet on the shooter, although some people tend to wait to see what the outcome of the toss is before they place a bet.

During the initial toss, or the come-out roll, you can either bet on the Pass Line or Don’t Pass Bar. If the shooter gets a 7 or 11 on their come-out roll, those who bet on the Pass Line win. If a 2, or 3 is rolled during this roll, those who bet on the Don’t Pass Bar win. If a 12 is rolled, it’s called a push and no one wins. The shooter must continue to roll the dice until they come up with a Point roll, or when the dice shows a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10.

The Point is the number that the shooter has to land again in order to win and to shoot again. If when the point is established and the shooter rolls a 7, they are experiencing what is called a seven-out. This means their round is over. The next shooter will then take over and the cycle begins again.

Origin of Craps

Now you know the basics of craps, the question of who first started playing it and who actually invented it surfaces. It has been said that this game has been around way before casinos and online casinos were ever conceived. So this means that this game, or an earlier version of it, has been around for centuries.

There are some who say that the Romans were the ones who invented this game. There are others however who claim that the game actually originated from the Middle East. Still a few more contend that it is actually a game that was invented by Americans. Who can actually be credited with the invention of this game? Here are some theories.


The idea that craps were invented by Romans is due to the fact that Roman soldiers were known to create dice out of shaved-down pig’s knuckle bones and these were used on a surface consisting of their shields. The story goes that these soldiers would use each area of the surface that are covered by the shields as betting areas.

Middle East

The case for the Middle East being the place were craps originated from is because of a game called Al Dar. Literally meaning “dice”, it has been said that the game was introduce to English soldiers during the Crusades. One of the English lords stationed in the area at that time, Sir William of Tyre, took to the game quite a bit and played it with his knights while they stayed in a castle called Hazarth. The game was then named Hazard by these players and was brought back to England afterwards.


The claim of England to this game is that they are the ones who refined it and its rules. Even though they weren’t the true originators of the game, the fact that they turned into a more civilized and easier-to-follow game made it seem like they are the ones who invented it.


The claim of the US for being the inventor of this game is primarily due to the fact that an American dice maker further refined the game and removed any flaws from it with the invention of the Don’t Pass part of the game. It is this version that soon found its way in casinos all over the US and around the world.


While the French don’t make any claims as to the invention of this game, they can be credited for its current name. The game of craps used to be called Hazard, but after Sir William brought it back to England, and it crossed over to France due to its popularity, it got named something else when it got there. The name Craps is actually a spinoff of the French word “crapaud”, which basically means “toad”. Since this game was first played on the ground, on the floor, or on the streets, people who played it had to crouch down. This, according to the French, made them look like toads, hence the use of the term “crapaud” , which soon evolved in the current term Craps.

Whoever can lay claim to the invention of the game is anybody’s guess. Suffice to say however that these countries contributed to the development of the game in one way or another. From the creation of the original dice by the Romans, to the crude game by those is the Middle East, to the refined version by England, to the French who gave it its name, to the Americans who came up with its current betting system – all of these countries can be given credit to helping develop the game into what it is today.