Crap, the multipurpose word

So in my quest to become a suave, knowledgable gambler, living the high life off my immense winnings, I’m trying to learn how to throw craps (more importantly, how the scoring goes).

But of course, due to my delicate feminine nature, I hate to say it: CRAPS

To quote Adam Sandler, Who was the marketing genius that came up with this one? Crap, according to this has been vulgar and associated with defecation since 1846.

Craps as in the game, was titled (according to the same source) in 1897, certainly enough time for the slang to circulate.

So did they just happen independently? Or did someone roll box cars and say “OH CRAP” and that’s what they named the game?


“Craps,” relating to the game has its origins in the word “crab,” as in the snapping kind. It has no etymological connection to scatological crap.

Basically, (what I remember) is that in one game, the name for rolling two ones (which we would normally call “snake eyes”) is “crabs,” (probably short for “crab eyes,” but that’s just a guess). From there “crabs” became “craps.”

I don’t have the money to learn to play craps. Those can be expensive lessons! But I did download a craps game once, and I was winning a lot of money making $25 bets. You might try that if you want to learn the game. I’m no expert, having no practical experience, but it seems to me that “pass”, “don’t pass”, “come” and “don’t come” bets, plus insurance (?) bets are the best. I’ve read that the other bets are “sucker bets”.

I’ve often wondered about the relation of the word “crap” and the game of “craps”.

Sorry I don’t have an answer for you. I’m curious too.

BTW: I use another “multipurpose” word: Sack. It sounds bad when you say it, but it isn’t. “The freeway was sacked!” “Sack!” “You meatsack!” “The sackin’ thing is useless!”

Oh yeah, crabs is much better. :rolleyes:

According to Mathews , the OED says crabs as early as 1768, as the lowest throw in a game of hazard. Thence into the French as both crabs and craps, as the name of the game of hazard. From French into New Orleans.

He also gives a cite from 1843 The Game of Craps…is a game lately introduced into New Orleans, …

Craps and blackjack are the only games in casinos that you have a chance of making a profit on. But most people prefer BJ because the rules and strategies are simpler.

I myself fall in that category. It’s tough enough for me to resist the temptation to split 10’s (a BJ no-no), so I think I couldn’t resist the boxcars bet, which I believe is 30:1.

I think samclem has it. According to my Concise OED, craps, referring to the game, started to be used in the 19th century, and came from crabs, “the lowest roll in dice.”

Well, they wouldn’t be saying that if it was the come-out roll and they were playing Don’t Pass. Assuming the casino or the game operator wasn’t barring 12, of course.

The game of craps is a very simple game to play, but the casino makes it seem complicated because of all the betting choices available on the table layout. The game also moves faster than any other, and between the table and the speed, newcomers can get confused quickly.

Start with the simplest (and safest) bets: Pass and Don’t Pass. Forget the rest, and forget odds bets on those two for now. Later, when you’re a little more comfortable with the speed of the game and knowledgeable about the bets, you might want to add odds bets on Pass/Don’t Pass, as well as Come/Don’t Come and Place numbers to your “repertoire” of bets.

All the others–the Field, the Propositions (that is, the Any 7, Any Craps, boxcars, hardways, and so on in the middle of the layout) are either sucker bets or have a far greater mathematical advantage to the casino than they should. Especially bad are the Big 6 and Big 8, which pay off at even money although you can get 6-to-5 on them if you play 6 and 8 as place numbers.

I don’t have the exact percentages handy, but there are any number of excellent references that will tell you just how much advantage the casino has at any given game (or in the case of craps, for any given bet). I’ve found Playboy’s Book of Games, by E. Silberstang and Scarne’s Complete Guide to Gambling by John Scarne, especially handy for explaining how the math works for the casino.