The History of the Dice Game

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When talking about modern gambling, most of the games that come up are card-based. However, there are a few great games that use dice, instead. Sometimes referred to as ‘The Dice Game’, Hazard and Craps allow players to roll dice and wager on the outcome. Both of the games are similar in nature; in fact, Craps is best described as a simplified version of Hazard. In this article, we explore the dice games in more detail.


Hazard is the oldest recorded dice game. Although it remains unclear when the game first came about, historians suggest that it was sometime in the 13th century. The name ‘Hazard’ derives from the Arabic word ‘Al-Zahr’, so the game is believed to have an Arabic origin. When translated, ‘Al-Zahr’ means ‘Die’.

In medieval Europe, Hazard was incredibly popular amongst people of all ages. The game is thought to have been played for high stakes in gambling rooms, especially across England. Highly adaptable, the game can be played by any number of people; however, it is always played using two dice. To decide which player starts the game, players take turns to roll the dice and the highest roller decides. The first player, or the first shooter, roll the dice to establish a main number: this can be any number between 5 to 9. If a qualifying number is not rolled initially, the player may continue to roll the dice until a main number has been achieved. Once a main has been established, the other gamblers may place their wager, betting on whether the shooter will win or lose. Once the other players have placed their bets, the shooter must roll the dice again. If he nicks, he wins the bet. This is where the rules of the game get a little complicated. If the main number was 5, the shooter will nick by rolling 5, if the main was 6, he will need to roll a 6 or 12, if the main was 7, he will need a 7 or 11, if the main was 8, he will need an 8 or 12, and if the main was 9, he will need a 9. The shooter loses if he rolls an ace or deuce-ace, or rolls 11 or 12 when the main was 5 or 9, 11 to 6 or 8, and 12 to 7. If he throws anything other than the outcomes stated, he gets to roll again. Once his turn is over, the dice are passed to the next player.

In English variations of Hazard, players could gamble against the house to decide the stake. Depending on how the player won, the house would sometimes pay more than the original stake. In a variation called ‘Chicken’, players threw against each other for specified stakes.


If you’ve ever been to a casino, you’ve probably seen a game of Craps. One of the most iconic dice games of all time, Craps has been popular for centuries. In the game, dice are rolled for players to bet on the outcome. Whilst the basic rules of Craps are always the same, there are a couple of variations of the game played in casinos. The most popular variant is known as ‘Casino Craps’, though is often referred to as just ‘Craps’. In the original version of the game, players wager money against a bank. Another version is ‘Street Craps’, where players bet money against each other, instead. Most casinos will offer the stand-ard version of the game, allowing players to bet against a bank. Street Craps is popular for those playing from home, though, as the game requires minimal equipment.

Today, Craps is played worldwide; however, the game was first developed in the US from the European game, Hazard. As mentioned previously, the rules of Hazard are fairly complicated, and the history of the game is obscure. Whilst gamblers enjoyed playing the game, many people found the rules too complicat-ed to pick up. A simpler version of the game was later developed, allowing players of all abilities to enjoy the dice game. This simplified version was Craps. In Hazard, the throw 1-1 and 1-2 were given the nick-name ‘crabs’. The name of the game ‘Craps’ was thought to derive from this nickname. When playing Hazard, the main number can range from 5 to 9. To simplify the game, the main number in Craps is always 7. According to Hazard players, this number is thought to be the optimal choice.

Shortly after Craps was invented, many casinos were seen to be abusing the game by using unfair dice. To resolve this issue, a notable dice maker named John Winn designed a new layout for the game. Today, this layout is used in most modern casinos.

As a simplified version of the well-known game of Hazard, Craps was popular from the start. However, the popularity of the game exploded during World War II when most of the men in America came into the military. As equipment was limited, the variant known as Street Craps was most popular amongst the sol-diers. After the war, many soldiers continued playing the game to bring back memories of the friends they used to play with. This led to Craps becoming popular all over the world.

In Summary

Whether you’re an experienced gambler or a complete beginner, the dice games above can be played by people of all sorts. If you’re just starting out, you may find it easier to start with Craps. Though both games are enjoyable, the rules of Craps are a little simpler, making the game ideal for beginners.

Although dice games were first played using physical dice, Hazard and Craps can now be played online, too. As online casinos rise in popularity, new sites seem to pop up every day. While this gives you a wide range of options, it can be difficult to decide which one to play at. Thankfully, we can help you decide. At, we review a wide range of casinos and games so that we can give you an insight on the best ones to go for. As always, it’s important to take into account the addictive nature of gambling. Make sure to consider your finial situation before using a land-based or online casino.

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