Casino Classics and Their Surprising Histories

With every decade, we invent new ways to entertain ourselves. As technology improves, it is common for a raft of new entertainment to enter, have its time as the next big thing, and then slowly become irrelevant. Despite this, there are games still played by millions today which are centuries-old, and only become more popular with time.

Here are three examples of casino classics that are much older than they appear.

Casino Classics

Wheel Games

Development and innovation in iGaming meant that classic games soon hit the internet and became instantly available to more players. Their popularity was boosted by offers and incentives like Paddy Power’s daily free spins on Wonder Wheel, where users try out games for free and offers encourage new players to join. Digital marketing is hugely important in contribututing to the popularity of iGaming.

As for where it all started, there are uncertain stories about Greek and Roman soldiers spinning their shields and betting where a mark would land. What we do know is that the Rota Fortunae – the Wheel of Fortune – is that it can be traced back to ancient Roman beliefs. The wheel of Fortune was thought to  be turned by the Roman goddess Fortuna, who’s spins dictated the ebbs and flows of individuals lives. With such a lofty history behind it, it’s no surprise that the wheel is so enduring.

Roulette was actually the brainchild of mathematician Blaise Pascal in the 1700s as he tried to achieve perpetual motion. He failed but created one of the most recognisable games on the planet.

Dice Rolls

Used for all sorts of games, dice pre-date recorded history. The idea of throwing dice was tracked to ancient Egypt (3000 BCE) where a game called senet was played. The Met Museum has explained senet here.

Other ancient dice games can be traced back to Iran, India, and Scotland, all with different dimensions, values, and played with games that aren’t played today.

Dice have never gone out of style and are still around today. The idea of a dice roll also continues through random number generation (RNG), which is used in everything from entertainment to computer science.

Playing Cards

While paper’s origins are murky, playing cards seem to have come from China first in the Tang Dynasty (900 AD). Before figuring out how to print on strips of paper or wood, it’s thought they used leaves instead while others insist the so-called leaves were paper all along.

A dedicated card game came along in 1294 with the first mention of ‘zhi pai’ and later ‘madiao’ in the 1300s. There are also surviving samples of Egyptian playing cards, dated to the 1200s. In 1934, we also found beautifully decorated Turkish Mamluk playing cards from the 1500s. By then, playing cards had already spread across Europe and their designs changed to the four suits that we recognise today.

While the games may change, these three objects and ideas are some of the most consistent game-playing tools that exist today. They have survived where many other games fell into obscurity and now they exist online. If we had to bet on it, they’ll still exist far into the future too.

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About the author

Vidya Menon

Vidya is an online content developer for Justwebworld. She has a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Current Linguistics. She is a passionate reader, writer and researcher with a background in academic writing.