One could argue that gambling is something that humans have been doing ever since the idea of risk was understood. Evidence of gambling can be found all the way back in the Paleolithic period, which places it at around 3000 BC. The first casino in the world opened its doors in 1638 and was called the Casino di Venezia and is found in Venice. As of today, there are thousands of licensed casinos to be found around the world, specifically 2149, and even more online. This is not surprising when considering a little more than half of the world’s population gambles in some way, shape or form. There have been hundreds of gambling games around the world over the centuries, which is one of the reasons for the continued popularity of gaming, however many have been lost. The ones that are played today have remained because they are the most popular, so here is a list of the 10 most popular gambling games around the world.
The first slot machine was quite different from those many gamblers are accustomed to today. It consisted of 5 drums and had only 50 playing cards, and was developed by Sittman and Pitt, a New York-based company, in 1891, and only cost a nickel to play. It quickly became one of the most popular gambling games in the world. One of the reasons for this is because it is incredibly easy to play and requires almost no thinking. The other reason is that there is a slot machine game for everyone, with most online casinos hosting at least 400 of them. Take for example Casitabi, which offers a huge 1,700+ slot games across their “kingdom” if you’re intersected in playing Casitabi you can check out a full review here.
One of the older games on the list is roulette, which was invented in 1655, by a French physicist, inventor, and mathematician named Blaise Pascal in an attempt to create a perpetual motion machine. It can be said that he kind of did since the wheel is always spinning in a casino somewhere. It is a table game where a player places a bet, the wheel is spun, and if the ball lands on a number and colour that was bet on, the player wins. It has become popular due to being very easy to play, but also because the knowledge of probability increases the chances of a player winning.
The best guess as to where and when blackjack originated is in the French casinos in the 1700s, after being adapted from popular card games at the time, like Chemin de Fer. The cards were originally called “Vingt-et-Un” and that translates to “twenty-one”. Blackjack has become incredibly popular since it is based largely on the skill and decisions need to be made with each hand. The game has become increasingly popular since moving online, and due to technological advancements, players can play it live from the comfort of their own home.
Poker is another card game which also has a lot of debate surrounding its origin. It was supposedly a domino-card game that was played by a 10th century Chinese Emperor, but others say that it was derived from a card game called “As Nas”, which was played in the 16th century in Persia. The most recent similar game was called “Poque” and became very popular in France. This game is adored by gamblers for its necessity to use skill to win and relies very little on luck. Blind bets are placed at the beginning of each new hand and placed again once players have received their cards. The player with the highest card hand wins.
Baccarat is another one of the older games on this list and was said to have been developed by a man named Felix Falguiere in the 1400s, in Italy. The name of the game means “zero” in Italian, and this is because the face cards and tens were worth zero. The purpose of the game is similar to blackjack, but instead of reaching 21, or close to 21, the number is 9. This game has become popular since it is easy to play, and is quick and exciting. Baccarat is amongst the other table games in terms of its low house edge, which is around 1%.
The entire history of Pachinko is an interesting one, but it was developed quite recently. Pachinko machines were built as children’s toys in the 1920s in Japan and were called the “Corinth game”, most likely based on the American “Corinthian bagatelle”. Casino gambling is largely still illegal in Japan, and these games became very popular as an alternative to casino gambling. An estimated $200 billion is spent on pachinko machines every year, with over 9,000 parlours offering the game to players. Although it is illegal to play for money, many people exchange the tokens received from winning to do just that.
The game of keno is said to have originated in China and to have helped fund the construction of the Great Wall of China, even though the word itself has French or Latin roots. The game itself became very popular in America after it was introduced to the gambling houses in Nevada in 1933. The game has become very popular due to its very low learning curve and ease of play. Players simply need to choose 20 numbers between 1-80, place a bet, and wait to see if the numbers selected are randomly chosen.
Pai Gow is among the oldest games on this list and originated in ancient China. It is a game of Chinese dominoes in which players use 32 dominoes in order to make the value of nine, which is what the name translates to. The game is similar to baccarat, but in recent years has developed into a game more similar to poker. The challenge to this game is that there are 35,960 possible combinations of four tiles, meaning that there is as much luck involved as there is skill and players win if their hand beats the dealers.
The game of bingo perhaps has the most interesting history, having moved around the world a few times. It originated in Italy in the 1500s, as a lottery called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia”. Following that, it founds its way to France in 1700s and was called “Le Lotto”. Eventually, it found its home in the UK, where it became the most popular game in the country before arriving in the US and was finally named Bingo by Edwin S. Lowe, who made a few changes to it. It has found even more popularity now after moving online due to being incredibly easy to learn and quick to play.
The concept of a lottery is actually derived from keno, which was played around 205-187 BC, which one could say is an earlier variant of bingo. Lotteries around the world maintained their popularity through the decades since they require no skill to play and the more tickets a person buys, the higher their chance of winning. The lottery has also moved online where people are able to access hundreds of lottery-selling websites. Lotteries are even legal in countries where casino gambling is illegal.