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What a Load of Craps: 4 Facts About Craps

February 24, 2022

Of all the areas on a casino floor, the crowd around a craps table is probably the most fast-paced, high-energy place to be.

A game with multiple rounds which last only as long as it takes for a pair of dice to roll their way to a stop, craps is an exhilarating, social game that is simple to grasp despite its multiple complex betting options. It is this simplicity that attracts raucous crowds to any table. In short, it’s one of the most popular casino table games.

If you’ve ever been in a casino, especially in the United States, you’ve heard the shouts and whoops and betting calls of craps players around the deep-set, felt-covered table, cheering on the roll of the dice. It’s impossible to miss; the electric energy of a craps game fills the entire gaming floor.. But how much do you know about this beloved game? Let’s take a look at some interesting titbits about this classic casino game.

Why is craps called craps?

The name craps took off in North America, coming from the French word capaud which means toad.

What does a dice game have to do with toads, you ask? Well, when the game first came to North America from England and France, people played it on the side of the road. A group of players squatting on their haunches, crouched over a pair of dice, looked like toads.

Craps is one of the oldest casino games in the world

It’s not clear exactly how old the game of craps is. There is a theory that Roman soldiers played a crude form of the game using knuckle bones from a pig. They rolled these across an upturned shield and bet on the result. If true, this would make the game thousands of years old.

The more widely-accepted origin of the game dates back to 1125 AD. This says the game was named asart or hazarth by the game’s supposed inventor, Sir William of Tyre. After he invented the game in France, it came to England as ‘Hazard’ before arriving in the Americas.

Four employees, one table

Most casino games have one dealer or croupier running the show at a table, with a pit boss managing several of them and stepping in as needed. Craps is a little different.

As we mentioned, you couldn’t miss a craps table in a casino if you tried. You’ll routinely see a dozen or more people crowded noisily around, shouting their bets and cheering on the winners. This means employees have to work together, typically four to a table, to keep everything running smoothly while maintaining the great atmosphere.

Eleven? No: it’s yo-leven

If you count to twelve at a craps table, you’ll get it wrong after ten. There’s a lot of idioms and expressions that come from the world of casinos, and the special word for eleven at a craps table is one of them. Here, it’s known as yo-leven or simply yo.

Why? Because amidst the noise and babble around a craps table, the words eleven and seven are pretty similar. Players created this fun expression to differentiate the two bets. This way, croupiers know clearly where the chips are going.