What is Hazard?
Hazard is a dice game which is better known today as the casino game craps. Players roll dice and make bets against the bank, which are won or lost based on their series of rolls. The ‘caster’, or player with the dice, specifies a ‘main’ number between 5 and 9, and attempts to roll that number or a related one. Players retain control of the dice until they lose three consecutive rolls, with play passing left around the table.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Hazard was a very popular dice game which was played for money in London clubs. The game dates back to the 14th century, but it gained popularity almost two hundred years later. In the 19th century, the rules evolved and become somewhat less complicated – and we know this more modern form of the game as craps. Craps, or hazard, fell out of popularity by the late 19th century in European and Eastern casinos, but it is the most popular table game in most North American casino venues and it is emerging in Macau as well.
The game of hazard is roughly comparable to the modern game of craps. One player is designated as the ‘caster’ (the ‘shooter‘) and they have control of the dice for as long as their turn runs. Three successive losses ends the caster’s run. That player goes heads up against the bank, which might be the casino or club hosting the game, one of the players in that game, or a collective of all players at the table.
The aim of the game is to win rolls by establishing a number as their ‘main’ (similar to the ‘point’ in craps, but selected by the player rather than rolled). Players try to roll their main, or a related number to that main, without hitting the 2 or 3 – known as ‘throwing out’. Depending on the main number chosen, rolling an 11 or 12 can also end the player’s turn. If the main is rolled or another number is achieved, the player keeps control of the dice. Bets are paid out according to each roll, with players not acting as the caster given the chance to make side bets on each roll of the dice.