If you’re someone who enjoys the experience of playing table games at the casino, there’s a high probability that you’ve played craps more than a few times.
A game that’s long been known to have relatively favorable odds to players and a low house edge, this casino staple has been winning (and losing) gamblers money for many, many years. But how much do you really know about the history behind craps?
In this article, I’ll get into some of the facts that even the most experienced craps players may not have known, or even considered.
1 – There Are 36 Possible Dice Combos
As most of you will already know, craps requires two six-sided dice. When rolled at the same time, there are 11 final totals possible, from 2 to 12. While there are only 11 different total outcomes possible, there are 36 ways to get there!
I won’t list all of the combinations here, you can figure them out for yourself. But suffice to say you can get to all the numbers in a range of different ways.
2 – Odds of 1.56 Trillion to 1
All gamblers are familiar with occasionally taking a craps bet that most would consider to be a “longshot.” Things happen all the time that nobody could have ever predicted. Statistical anomalies are more common that most people believe, but this one takes the cake.
Anyone who has experienced the frustration of throwing the dice over and over again while seemingly hitting a 7 every time might not think this type of run is even possible, but alas, one New Jersey grandmother set the record that will never be broken. I know that “never” is a long time, but you judge. She rolled a pair of dice for 154 consecutive throws. Yes, the odds are 1.56 trillion to 1.
The run lasted more than four hours and of course, there was a massive crowd of railbirds observing this miraculous event as it unfolded. The craziest part? Afterward, the grandmother admitted to an onlooker that she didn’t even know how the game works—talk about beginner’s luck!
3 – Devil
Sometimes, real money craps is heaven, and sometimes, it can be hell. Like all games, there are a large number of superstitions that can be observed around the craps table.
Some players think that throwing a penny under the table is a good way to ensure luck, and having a woman (preferably a beginner or inexperienced player) blow on the dice is sure to bring good fortune.
One of the most revered craps superstitions, however, is the idea that the number seven should never be said. Think “Voldemort” being called “You-Know-Who.” Yes, it’s that serious. It’s so serious that players will refer to the number seven simply as “it” or “devil” should it need to be mentioned.
Because there are more combinations adding up to seven than any other number, players must try extra hard to avoid it, which means calling on the supernatural forces that be to help keep seven, or devil, at bay. This is proof that when it comes to gambling, people will try it all.
4 – There Have Been Some Massive Wins
All casino games have had their share of huge winners. These are the players who have done what most people can only dream of—walk away from the casino with millions.
Ready to feel a little jealous? Archie Karas will do that to you.
He gained massive notoriety in the gambling world by increasing a $17 million fortune into $40 million over the span of just a few months in the mid-‘90s. Karas would bet as much as a $100,000, an amount most people will never see in the flesh, on one single roll.
One of the most famous bets of all time (yes, even some individual bets have become famous) involved that number that nobody is supposed to say (yes, that one); it was $777,777…bet on the “don’t pass” line, no less. Wouldn’t you know it? It hit!
5 – It Takes Four Workers to Manage the Tables
Gambling and casino movies often portray the craps table as the center of attention. And guess what? They’re right!
Whether they’re playing or just enjoying the show, usually a dozen or more people can be found gathered around any craps table on a Friday or Saturday night. This means that more casino staff and dealers are required to keep things going smoothly, which explains why there aren’t as many craps tables as, say, blackjack tables in the pit.
The Employees Required Take Up the Role Of:
A box person who takes note of the outcomes of each roll and monitors the chips which are constantly being tossed around, a pair of dealers who are tasked with putting the bets on the table and moving the chips around, and the “stickman” who gives the dice out to players. In addition, the stickman also handles the prop bets, which are placed at the center of the table.
The best teams are able to pull off this dance with a sort of calm and collected choreography. However, it goes without saying that there are some moments of chaos that take place when so many people are involved. With that being said, this might be why craps has maintained its reputation as one of the most exciting and communal games in the entire casino!
6 – It Goes Way Back
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that there’s never a bad time for a quick history lesson. With that in mind, let’s take a trip back in time.
While nobody has been able to necessarily confirm how accurate the legend is, it’s been said that Roman soldiers were the first to play the game way back when chariot races and gladiator battles were still the main forms of entertainment. One major difference is that they used knuckle bones of a pig as dice and their battle shields as the table.
Another theory of the origin of craps comes from ancient Arabia. Some believe that craps evolved from an Arabic game called Al Dar, which means “dice” in Arabic. It’s said that merchants brought the game over to Europe around the year 1150.
The most widely-accepted theory (if there is one), is that the game was invented by the one and only Sir William of Tyre in or around the year 1125 (who’s to say what year it was exactly, it was a long time ago).
So, how did we end up with the name “craps”? I’ve got you covered there, too.
It’s said that our friend Sir William of Tyre named the game after a castled called “Asart” or “Hazarth” which was later translated to “Hazard.” A few years in the future, the game became known as “Hazard” in England, eventually moving on and becoming popular in French taverns in the 1600s.
Due to the lack of materials needed to play (pretty much just dice), it became known as “street craps”—something that could be played in very informal settings. It is thought that the name “craps” was derived from the French word “crapaud” which meant “toad.” This actually does make some sense, as people called it “toad” due to the way people played hunched over on the sidewalk.
So, the next time you’re at the casino and want to impress someone, explain that the name “craps” comes from a French word meaning “toad.” The more you know…
If you’re new to the casino gambling scene, craps is one of the easiest games to learn, and it offers fairly good odds to players. For that reason, I’d highly recommend it to beginners.
Aside from the mechanics of the game, the atmosphere surrounding a craps table is one of the most fun and exciting you’ll find anywhere. Just make sure that you’ve read up on all the jargon you might hear during your time at the casino, and you’ll be all set to have the time of your life throwing the dice!
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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