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Gaming Guru

Lee Section Eight
 

Craps Was a Hazard Long Ago

25 June 2011

Gaming historians argue the origins of craps and will continue to argue it for all time. Archaeologists discovered dice the were made of bones in Egypt. Ancient games dating back to 3000 BC were played with five- and six-sided dice. Many people mistakenly deduce that craps must have started during the days of King Tut or Moses. The Romans played dice games of all types as well. Maybe some form of craps existed, but it has been a historical fact that the game we think of got its start a few millennia later.

During The Crusades, a game called Hazard was played by knights during rest after battle. The name Hazard was actually derived from the name of a castle called Hazarth of Asart, which was taken over by Sir William of Tyre and his knights in 1125 AD. Chaucer mentioned the game being played with two dice in Canterbury Tales in the 14th century. Popularity grew, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries in England. The game had many complicated rules.

The shooter was called the "caster" and to start the game he had to throw dice to determine a number between 5 and 9, which was called the "main". If he rolled the main he would win, which was called rolling a "nick" or "throws in". He would lose or "throws out" if he rolled a 2 or 3, which was called a "crab", and depending on what the main was, could also throw out on an 11 or 12. More specifically, if the main was a 5 or 9, the 11 and 12 were bad and throws out. If the main was a 6 or 8, he throws out on a 11 but a 12 would win. The 7 could be a main and would win with an 11 but throws out with a 12.

Any other number rolled would then be the "chance" number and he would have to roll again. If he rolled the "chance" again he would win. Rolling the "main" would lose, and rolling any other number would result in another throw. He would keep rolling until he either rolled the chance or the main for a win or loss, respectively. Wins were paid by the "bank" called a "setter," which in earlier times would be the other players collectively. In the 17th and 18th centuries, early casinos became the "bank" and the term "setter" was dropped (at least until the 21st century!).

The caster kept rolling until he lost three times in a row.

Debate still runs high on who brought Hazard to the United States. Some say the French settlers brought the game to the continent. Others surmise that the British settlers brought over Hazard while colonizing America. The game would have been played on ships to pass the time. In either case, the game spread to the south with the French as they were pushed back by the British in the 1700s. They called the game "Crabs" for the 2, the losing throw in Hazard. The game was popular on riverboats, therefore interest spread to the rest of the country. Hazard for the British and Crabs for the French eventually evolved in the 1900s to a more simplified game and the name became a corruption of "Crabs" and was simply called "Craps. There has been much debate on whether the French, Southern Americans, or the British should receive the credit for this change.

By the 20th century, modern Craps was popular on streets, in casinos. In World War II American soldiers carried dice to all parts of the world, playing the game during rest periods from battle. From sword-carrying knights to machine gun-carrying soldiers, the roll of the dice was popular when fighters were at rest. Hollywood, James Bond, and Frank Sinatra glorified Craps further and interest in the game was certainly carried to every corner of the globe.

Today, the term Hazard is defined as something with risk or danger. It must have been dangerous to be around a losing knight.

Lee Section Eight
Lee "Section Eight" has been playing craps for almost two decades. He has put hundreds of thousands of hours of practice into being a consistent dice controller. In his private life, Section Eight is a Chief Information Officer of a global technology company and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Russian Linguistics. He’s been a translator and has worked in the intelligence community. Section Eight is a member of the West Coast Crew and frequents Vegas and has had multiple 30-roll hands. Section Eight is also a member of the 40-Roll Club and 50-Roll Club. In his time away from the tables, Section Eight has been seen on TV in such shows as Bones, In Case of Emergency, Grey’s Anatomy, and 24.
Lee Section Eight
Lee "Section Eight" has been playing craps for almost two decades. He has put hundreds of thousands of hours of practice into being a consistent dice controller. In his private life, Section Eight is a Chief Information Officer of a global technology company and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Russian Linguistics. He’s been a translator and has worked in the intelligence community. Section Eight is a member of the West Coast Crew and frequents Vegas and has had multiple 30-roll hands. Section Eight is also a member of the 40-Roll Club and 50-Roll Club. In his time away from the tables, Section Eight has been seen on TV in such shows as Bones, In Case of Emergency, Grey’s Anatomy, and 24.