As indicated by texts and equipment discovered in tombs and other locations, gambling is one of humanity’s oldest occupations. It is intrinsically related to the history of gambling, as it appears that no matter how far back in time you go, there are indicators that gambling was undoubtedly taking place wherever groups of people gathered.
The earliest tangible evidence may be found in Ancient China, where tiles were discovered that appeared to have been used for a simple game of chance. The Chinese ‘Book of Songs’ implies that the tiles were used in a lottery. Keno has its roots in a Chinese game known as “baige piao,” which translates to “white pigeon ticket” and refers to the connection between tickets and homing pigeons.
Ancient Greeks and Romans
The ancient Greeks and Romans were known for gambling on anything at any time. In reality, all types of gambling were outlawed in the ancient city of Rome, including dice games, with a four-fold penalty levied on those detected. As a result, astute Roman people devised the first gambling chips, allowing them to claim they were simply playing for chips and not for real money if they were apprehended by the guards.
The original playing cards were most likely invented in China in the ninth century AD, according to most scholars. Some believe the cards were both the game and the prize, similar to today’s trading card games, and others believe they were the first paper version of Chinese dominoes.
The two-player card game of Baccarat, which traveled from Italy to France, is the oldest game still played in casinos today. The game evolved through hundreds of years and underwent numerous changes to become what we know today. Although other versions of the game have existed, the typical form used in casinos around the world originated in Cuba and was brought to the United States via Britain, with a few rule changes along the way.
Some academics believe there was an early kind of blackjack similar to the one we know today. Blackjack is a game that originated in Spain and is known as Ventiuna, which translates to “twenty-one.” The game Ventiuna was most likely an early variant of the game we know today, which dates from the seventeenth century.
Paris’ Little Wheel
The game began at gaming houses in Paris. The roulette wheel used in the American version of the game is similar to the one used in the European version. However, it took almost fifty years for the game to become the refined version we know today. It just had a single zero on the roulette wheel, which generations of roulette players have appreciated.
Poker appears to have evolved spontaneously over decades, if not centuries, from a variety of card games. Some claim that poker’s origins can be traced back to seventeenth-century Persia, while others claim that the modern game was influenced by a French game known as Poque.