You may have noticed that there are more different casino games than ever before. From the huge raft of slot games that are released every year, to the multiple variations of games like poker.
However, have you ever stopped to think about the origin of these games? With the considerable growth in casinos since the internet has been around, you could be forgiven for thinking that a lot of the games are pretty new.
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Some of the games out there stem back centuries ago. They may have changed and evolved with the times, but the key principles remain the same. We’ve listed some casino games that are older than you might have imagined.
Roulette has had an unbelievable journey from its roots in the 18th century to the live dealer roulette games we can now play on our phones or PCs. The game as we know it was first played in the 18th century, but its origins are even earlier than that.
The idea of the spinning wheel was first made by a physicist and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, who was trying to create a device that would permanently spin.
The first roulette wheels that were recorded combined Pascal’s invention with the Italian game Biribi, which is a number-based game.
This is why we see numbers all around the roulette wheels, as players try to predict the colour or value of the next number the ball is going to stop on. In the mid-19th century, we saw another huge change when the wheel had the first ever zero added.
This was thought to be a specific addition to King Charles III of Monaco. It certainly stuck and roulette wheels in the modern age tend to have the double zero number that can provide the biggest returns if you’re lucky enough to land it.
The first recorded mention of blackjack was made by Miguel de Cervantes, the famous author.
In the early 1600s, he wrote a short story called Rinconete y Cortadillo, in which he talks about impoverished young boys who manage to make some money by playing a game called veintiuna.
This translates to 21 in English, which is what a lot of Brits still call the game today.
It is pretty fair to assume that we’ve found the origins of blackjack in a story that was published in the early 1600s, suggesting that the game has existed since even earlier than this.
Through the next couple of hundred years, Vingt-et-Un (French for 21) was played by the elite of society in France. Napoleon absolutely loved playing the game.
21 eventually made its way to the US. It is perhaps the legislation to allow gambling in Las Vegas and the name change to blackjack that caused the biggest boom and exposed the game to the masses.
Poker as we know it comes from Poque, another game that gained a lot of popularity in France and variations were played in Germany and Spain throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.
When the French colonists came to areas such as New Orleans in the 1800s the game inevitably spread and would be played by soldiers, merchants, and in saloons in the area before the country saw its first legal casinos in the 1900s.
Though the game’s roots may even come from domino-based games that were played as far back as the 10th century in China. Though this is debated, there is no denying that the game is hundreds of years old.
As you may know, poker is also one of the games that have had the most drastic evolution, too. Even today there are many different types of poker such as Texas Hold’Em, Five-Card Draw, and Omaha.
As the game spread, people would add their little twists and for this reason, we have choices of how we want to play and gamble today.
It is thought that baccarat was first played as early as the 1400s. Felix Falguierein created the game, naming it after the Italian word for zero, baccara.
This was changed to baccarat when the game eventually started being played in France, and this is the version most of us know today.
Its creator is thought to have based the game on an old tale from folklore, which told of a woman who had to throw nine-sided dice to decide on her fate, whether she would become a priestess, stay a humble member of the community, or even drown in the sea.
It is fascinating to look at all the options that we have today and think that some of them were played by Chinese royalty, historical settlers and rulers, and cultural figures from all over the world.
Though it is hard to pinpoint exact timelines for some of the casino games out there, it is fair to say that many of them have been around for centuries, constantly changing and becoming the games we see today.