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History of Craps

The history of the game of craps is murky at best, but is thought to have its origins in the game of Hazard, which also is mired in mystery.

It seems that the game of Hazard was either invented by Englishman Sir William of Tyre during the Crusades, or by an unknown source that spoke Arabic. If it was invented by Tyre, it was done by him and his Knights as a way to combat boredom (like many gambling games) during the Crusades. But there is also speculation that the word hazard came from the Arabic word 'azzah', which means 'dice'.

Either way, Hazard was popular all over England and from there spread to the rest of Europe. Chaucer even mentions it his famous tome, "The Canterbury Tales". From there it went to France, where many people were leaving for America. It reached America by way of the French, and became very popular in the back alleys and illegal casino rooms of New Orleans, a French-American hotspot. It was through this American introduction that we got the name Craps.

From New Orleans, the game of Craps started being played (with simplified rules) in the Riverboats that populated the Mississippi River. Cheating was widespread, as people used special weighted dice to get the outcome they wanted and win at Craps.

Enter a man named John H. Winn. He made the final rule change that would make it useless to cheat at Craps. Before Winn, you could only bet with the player that they would win. With the new Craps rules, you could bet with the casino as well. For this reason, Winn is recognized as the Father of the modern-day game of Craps, and is now a legend in Craps history.

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