Which are the world’s oldest casino games?

When you play online casino games, it’s sometimes easy to forget that you’re not really playing a modern game. Yes video slot machines with five reels and 50 reels aren’t exactly from medieval times. But table games and games without all those fancy animations and graphics tend to be older than you might think. Here’s a look at the world’s oldest casino games.

Did a physicist really invent Roulette?

inneroulette06082014If Roulette leaves your head spinning, blame physicist Blaise Pascal. In the mid 1500s, Pascal tried to invent a perpetual motion machine. That’s basically a machine that never stops moving and spinning, using the energy of its own motion to keep spinning. That didn’t work, but his experiment led to the creation of the modern-day roulette wheel.

He didn’t exactly create a casino, but by the 18th century, the French caught wind of the wheel and turned it into a 50/50 evens vs. odds game splitting the wheel into half evens, half odds using slots. And about 50 years later, the modern-day slot saw the light of day, with the French adding the numbers 1 through 36, plus a single zero to the mix.

Did Blackjack originate in a novel?

innerblackjack06082014Familiar with the book Don Quixote? I am. Not that I’ve read it. I mean, I was asked to read it in high school, but I never did. But that’s another story for another day. The reason I reference the book is because it has to do with Blackjack.

The guy who wrote Don Quixote also wrote a book called Rinconete y Cortadillo. The book features a couple of characters who succeed in cheating at the game Ventiuna. That means ‘21’ in Spanish. The book states that the object of the game is to hit 21 without going over. The book was written in 1601, so it’s safe to say that Blackjack is one of the oldest casino games in the world.

Was Keno invented to build the Great Wall of China?

innerkeno06082014Modern Keno seems fairly recent. Step into any Las Vegas casino and you can play Keno in a random cocktail lounge, or step up to a digital keno machine and pick your numbers. Online, you can select your numbers and play right away, all without having to wait for the next game to get underway (you decide when it happens). But back in ancient times, that wasn’t the case. According to legend, Keno dates back all the way to the building of The Great Wall of China. The Chinese apparently invented the game in an effort to raise money to build the wall during a time of war.

The game wasn’t exactly Keno as we know it, but the concept was the same. That said, even the “modern” version of Keno dates back to the 19th century when Chinese immigrants brought the game to the West. By 1866, it was popular in Texas – and it was known as Keno.

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