[Ads-l] Antedating of "Craps" (Game)

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 16 03:12:03 EDT 2018


Like LH (June 11), I assume “crabs” refers to crab eyes for what we now envision as snake eyes. It might be worth noting that there are many medical citations for crab eyes (“crabs eyes”) in the 1700s and before, such that the image of crab eyes might have come readily to people in that time period. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazard_(game) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazard_(game)> says the game craps is a simplified form of hazard. 

See page 38 of https://bit.ly/2yfDQUK <https://bit.ly/2yfDQUK> for a rundown of combinations and mention of “tray-ace” (trois ace), perhaps a one and a two (see citation 5 below). Backgammon has something known as a trois ace: https://bit.ly/2td2RdI <https://bit.ly/2td2RdI> (see also https://bit.ly/2tjGOlJ <https://bit.ly/2tjGOlJ>); could hazard/craps derive from the game tables/backgammon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tables_(board_game) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tables_(board_game)> such as by eliminating the board?

To add to PR’s 1775 (below) and 1777 (June 11) citations, here are five others.

1. January 1773 (https://bit.ly/2MuSzyl <https://bit.ly/2MuSzyl>)
“An Account of the Game of Hazard, with the Rules to be observed, the Chances in the Game, and the various Methods made use of to defraud the unwary” in The Gentleman's and London Magazine. p. 10
author not attributed

[The dice were rolled from a dice cup called a “box” (https://bit.ly/2yfDQUK <https://bit.ly/2yfDQUK>)]

——
A box an pair of dice being produced, they begin. The person who first takes the box throws a main, that is, a chance for the company, which must be above four, and not to exceed nine…; if he throws two aces or trois ace (commonly called Crabs) he loses his stakes, let the company’s chance, which we call the main, be what it may. If the main should be seven, and seven or eleven is thrown immediately after, it is what is called a Nick, and the caster (the present player) wins out his stake…
——

2. February 1773 (https://bit.ly/2K1m8ZM <https://bit.ly/2K1m8ZM>)
“High-Life, at Lovejoy’s” in The Covent Garden Magazine Or the Amorous Repository: Calculated Solely for the Entertainment of the Polite World and the Finishing of a Young Gentleman's Education, Volume 2, p. 47
Ranger [recording an overheard dialogue at Lovejoy’s]  

——
Mr. F. (upon throwing crabs) A plague on you and Miss Munro, and all the sex, I say—these women pester one so, there’s no knowing what one’s about.
——

3. 1775 (https://bit.ly/2HTyxdv <https://bit.ly/2HTyxdv>)
Annals of Gaming; or, The Fair Player’s Sure Guide….
a Connoisseur

4. 1790 (https://bit.ly/2JYAKsW <https://bit.ly/2JYAKsW>)
A Full Inquiry Into the Subject of Suicide: To which are Added (as Being Closely Connected with the Subject) Two Treatises on Duelling and Gaming in Two Volumes, Volume 2, p. 341
Charles Moore

[This term “doctors” (written with a ct ligature) is an interesting term]

——
With wily craft the sharpers substitute their deceitful [z] doctors, and thus crabs become the portion of the losing flats. 

footnote: [z] False dice are called "Doctors;" a losing game "Crabs;" and those who are duped or taken in "Flats," in the gaming vocabulary.
——

5. May 1798 (https://bit.ly/2yeSGL9 <https://bit.ly/2yeSGL9>)
“False Dice” in The Sporting Magazine, or, Monthly Calendar of the Transactions of the Turf, the Chace, and every other Diversion Interesting to the Man of Pleasure, Enterprize & Spirit, Volume 12, p. 79
not attributed

——
With these dice it is impossible to throw what is at Hazard called _crabs_; that is, _aces_, or _ace_ and _deuce_, _twelve_ or _seven_; hence the caster always called for his main; and consequently, as he could neither throw _one_ nor _seven_, let his chance be what it might, he was sure to win….
——

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA


> On 13 Jun 2018, at 10:12, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> Similarly, a publication from 1788 lists creps among a group of gambling games without mentioning Craps.
> 
> 
> In 1787, the Belgian town of Spa debated banning gambling - they were on the verge of a day in which people would only go to Spa only for the water, after which they would have to auction off tables for "Biribi, Creps, Roulette &c" and an enormous stack of cards.
> 
> 
> Mercure de France, Tome 134, January-June 1788 (reprint), Geneva, Slatkine Reprints, 1972, page 29, excerpt taken from Journal Politiques de Bruxelles, Turquis de Constantinople, November 19, 1787, pages 42-43.  HathiTrust.
> 
> 
> 
> "Crabs" and the rules of Hazard are discussed in Hoyle's Games Improved, London, J. Rivington, 1775, page 223.
> 
> 
> [Excerpt] . . . if he throws two Aces or Trois-ace (commonly called Crabs) he loses his Stakes. [End Excerpt]
> 
> 
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 9:32 AM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: Antedating of "Craps" (Game)
> 
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Antedating of "Craps" (Game)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> An 1883 French-English dictionary says that "creps" is a "sort of game
> at dice". The Dictionary does not appear to have an entry for "craps".
> 
> Year: MDCCCLXXXIII =3D 1883
> Book: Dictionnaire International Fran=C3=A7ais-Anglais
> Page 237, Column 1
> Publisher: Sampson Low and Company, London also Ch. Fouraut et Fils, Paris
> 
> https://books.google.com/books?id=3DsQc2AQAAMAAJ&q=3D%22game+at+dice%22#v=
> =3Dsnippet&
> 
> [Begin excerpt =E2=80=93 check for errors]
> CREPS, krayps, sm. sort of game at dice.
> [End excerpt]
> 
> Garson
> 
> 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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