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Dice Games: Hazard, Ancestor of Craps

Craps, the Classic Dice Game

If you have seen Craps played live, you have seen action in a casino. Craps is the most exciting table game in the gambling world. Players bet on the outcome of the roll of a pair of dice, and they can wager on the side of the person shooting the dice or against him or her. It can be played for low or high stakes by any number of players.

Craps is the classic dice game played today, but it did not always exist in the form it is currently known. Craps actually developed from an earlier dice game known as Hazard.

Hazard is not as dangerous a dice game as it sounds. The name is an English corruption of the Arabic term "azar" which means simply "dice." It was a very popular game in the 17th and 18th centuries. As you can see from the rules given below, Hazard is played much in the same way as Craps.

Rules of Hazard Dice Game

- Players take turns tossing a pair of dice. The person who throws is labeled the caster.

- The caster must choose a number between 5 and 9. This number is the caster's main.

- If the caster in Hazard succeeds in hitting the main number, the caster wins. It is a nicks or a throw-in.

- If it is a 2 or 3 instead, the caster loses the game. This is known as a throw-out.

- If the number 11 or the number 12 is made in Hazard, the fate of the caster depends on what their main is. A 5 or 9 main will throw out on either an 11 or a 12. A 6 or 8 main will lose on an 11 but win on a 12. The reverse is true for a 7 main: it wins on an 11 and loses on a 12.

- If the caster neither wins nor loses, the number that is made becomes the chance number.

- The Hazard caster must roll the chance number a second time in order to nicks the game. If the main is hit before the chance, the caster loses.

- The caster can lose up to three straight times before they lose their right to toss. The right to toss goes to the player nearest on their left.

- For as long as the caster wins a Hazard game, they can toss the dice in the next game, and the next and so on. This is where the phrase "on a roll" stems from.