How popular Casino games got their name
The oldest gambling venue in the world, which is still in operation today, is ithe Venezia in Venice, which opened in 1638. However, the evidence of gambling dates back much further, to 2300 BC, in ancient China. Tiles have been unearthed here that indicate that people were playing a kind of lottery at the time.
The earliest game still played in land-based and online casinos is baccarat, a version first mentioned in the early 1400s. There are others that have passed the test of time, though each has changed over the many years that have passed.
While the gameplay in some is very similar, others once had different rules and different names! Look at how the games we like to play today have had a name change along the way.
From Beano to Bingo
Bingo is a very old casino game that can be traced back to 1530, when it was played as the Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia, a lottery game in Italy. This version is still played every Saturday night in the country known to its many admirers as Bel Paese.
The game reached the US coast in 1929, then known as the Beano, and was first played at a carnival in Atlanta, Georgia, where Edwin S. Lowe, a toy salesman from New York who would continue the game until the big time, renamed it.
He thought he heard someone yelling Bingo as they created a winning pattern, so he named the game casino game he then released to the world in the format we know today.
21 turns into blackjack
Some historians claim that Roman soldiers played a variant of blackjack around 44 BC, using blocks of wood to mark numbers. However, the first documented mention of 21 comes from a story by the Spaniard Miguel de Cervantes, Rinconete y Cortadillo, published in 1613 but written in 1601 or 1602. And it seems that the game at the time was remarkably similar to the one played in real online casinos today.
When the French took it up in the 18th century, they called this casino game Vingt-et-un, or 21, and the name was changed much later. Colonists who arrived in New Orleans brought it with them in the early 19th century, and it was here that its now familiar nickname came into being.
Around the time of World War I in 1914, casinos offered huge payouts when players received the Ace of Spades and one of the black jacks, spades or clubs as their first hand. Thus, the goal was to get a blackjack, which became the term used to refer to the game in online casinos and brick-and-mortar venues alike. 21 is still used as a nickname, but blackjack is now the official title.
From Crapaud to Craps
Craps originated from a game called Hazard, which dates back to the Crusades in 1095! It evolved over many years and eventually spread to France and England, which in turn brought it to the US when they emigrated to the New World. It remained popular over the years and is now a firm favourite in real online casinos.
The name of this popular game is derived from the French word for toad, Crapaud, which came into being because the players who enjoyed it on the street looked like they were crouching down to roll the bones.
Poque becomes Poker
The card game that we know as poker originated around the early 19th century, but although it was created relatively recently, its origins are as mysterious as its name. However, there are two leading theories, the first of which is that poker comes from a variant of the French card game Poque, which has much in common with the card game that is played today in real online casinos.
The other theory is that the word comes from the German word for bluff, pochspiel, and it should be noted that even after it became semi-official poker, many casino players called it bluff for some time.
Historians lean towards the French origin, as poker seems to have found its popularity in New Orleans in the 19th century, a city known for its links to the Republic.
Turn Roly Poly into Roulette
Whether you prefer American, European, French or one of the many more modern roulette variants, you are in good company and part of a long history.
Traces of a very similar game can be found in ancient China, but the version most similar to the one we play today comes from a Frenchman named Blaise Pascal. He came across roulette while working on the development of a perpetual motion machine in the 16th century, and the game world continues to thank him for this glorious mistake!
The word Roulette means Little Wheel in French, but it contained design elements from two other games that were common in 17th century Europe, Even-Odd and Roly Poly. Both involved rotating wheels and betting on the outcome of the spin, but roulette itself was first mentioned in Bordeaux, France, in 1716.
Now that you have a deeper understanding of how long the journey to online casinos has taken, you may find that you enjoy playing even more!