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Gambling History

by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker
April 19, 2006

The historical records and archeological evidences show that gambling has existed throughout the ages and culture of most civilizations in the world. Information related to the 20th century indicates that gambling existed in the greatest societies. For instance, gambling artifacts have been recovered from ancient China (2300 B.C.), India, Egypt and Rome. Writings related to gambling were found in the Pyramid of Cheops and ivory dices (of 1550 BC) in Thebes. During the 14th century, King Henry VIII of England outlawed gambling when his soldiers started spending more time gambling than working on drills and marksmanship

Histories of different types of gambling games –

1. Blackjack and poker –These games started with the practice of shuffling paper money in China around 900 A.D, later on evolving into card playing, consequently brought to Europe via the Mameluke Empire. The Mameluke people were followers of Islam, and they did not have their playing cards decorated with human forms, they were adorned with intricate designs, reminiscent of Muslim carpets.  Gradually they were introduced in Italy and Spain. The Queen in today's cards appeared only in 1500's, with the French replacing one of the male cards with the Queen card. This pack of cards came to be known as "French Pack", and was a 52-card deck we are familiar with today.

2. Roulette – Its history is interesting tool.  Francois and Louis Blanc modernized Roulette. They invented the "Single 0" game in 1842, which was brought to America around the same time.  Americans added the "Double 0" to the wheel and created a different version, American Roulette - different from European Roulette.  The origins of the roulette wheel being ambiguous, it is said that the 17th century mathematician, Blaise Pascal, created it.  Information indicates that the Chinese invented the wheel, and was introduced in Europe by Dominican monks.  It shot to popularity when Prince Charles of Monaco implemented the roulette wheel as a means of counteracting the financial problems of his kingdom in the late 18th century.

3. Dice – They have their origin in the ancient games of bone rolling. They have a traceable history going back to the very roots of humanity. The oldest form of gambling known to humanity, they were witnessed by Marco Polo, Chingis Khan, and ancient Egyptian rulers and greeks were said to have played dice as a means of divination and entertainment. Gradually, it evolved a form of fortune telling and gambling. American Indians, Aztec, Maya, Africans and Eskimos are all said to play dice games.









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