Hazard is a dice game that is played with two dice that originated in early Britain. It was a very popular game to play in the 17th and 18th centuries and is believed to be one of the games that the popular craps game was developed from as a simpler version to the complicated rules of Hazard.
A Basic History of Hazard
Even though Hazard was only most notably popular from the 17th century the game is documented from as far back as the 14th century where it is mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It is in these tales that the phrase, at sixes and sevens, is believed to have derived from. Chaucer used the phrase as a description of betting ones whole fortune on one single throw of the dice but today the phrase is used to describe any circumstance involving disorder or confusion.
The word that the game is name after is an Old French word with unclear origins. It is believed that it may have been derived from the Spanish word ‘azar’ which means an unfortunate card or dice roll. Whatever the true origins of the word, the modern English use of Hazard is to now describe danger or risk.
The Rules to Playing Hazard
Hazard can be played with any number of players but only one player holds the dice at any one time. The dice holder is called the caster. The caster begins with selecting any number from five to nine, which is called the main, and throws the dice.
If the main is thrown the caster wins. This is called thrown in or nicks. If however the caster throws a 2 or 3 then a loss occurs, which is called a throw out. The results of an 11 or 12 being thrown are dependent on what the main is. If the main is a 5 or 9 it’s a throw out for an 11 or 12. If the main is a 6 or 8 then it’s a throw out for an 11 but throw in, i.e. win, with a 12. If the main is a 7 then it’s a throw in with an 11 but a throw out with a 12.
If neither an 11 or 12 or even a main is thrown then the number thrown is called the chance. Another roll of the dice is then allowed and if the chance is thrown it is a win but if the main is thrown then it is a loss. If neither is thrown, then the dice are rolled again until one or the other lands.
Betting in a Game of Hazard
In the Hazard game the caster places a bet with the bank, known as the setter. The setter may be the remaining players as a group. If a win occurs on the first throw then an equal amount to the bet is won. After the initial throw the caster will win the bet if a chance is thrown before the main.
When the first throw has taken place the caster and other players may place a side bet on whether the chance will be thrown before the main.