How People Started Gambling

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If history books are anything to go by, gambling is an age-old practice for humans. The earliest time when a form of gambling was mentioned was in ancient China. Chinese literature talks about a wood drawing that suggests that tiles were used in a lottery game.

Historic records also explain how the Chinese used items as funds for funding government projects. This was referred to as Keno Slips. Researchers also claim that the first card game appeared in China during the 19th century. 

However, the game’s rules and guidelines got lost in history. Gambling has evolved over the years. For example, nowadays people wager on online casinos that pay real money from the comfort of their homes. In the past, they had to walk to a physical gambling establishment to wager.  


According to the Greek poet, Sophocles created the game of dice during the siege of Troy. The poet’s writings mentioned dice around 500 BC. There is also some evidence of a pair of dice in an Egyptian tomb from 3000 BC.

It was common for Romans and Greeks to use personal belongings as wagers while gambling. But, Rome prohibited all forms of gambling, and people caught gambling paid massive fines.

Two-Player Card Game

Baccarat is among the earliest gambling games still prevalent in modern-day gambling. The game was first mentioned in the 1400s. Its rules stated that each player had to hold two or three cards. Additionally, the game’s winner is the player with the highest remainder when each player’s cards are divided by ten—this is how people started wagering with cards.

What about Blackjack?

According to researchers, there was an early version of blackjack that gamblers play today. The game is thought to have its origins in Spain and is referred to as Ventiuna, which translates to 21. In this sense, it is definite that Ventiuna was the earliest blackjack version.

The game was an invention of America and was prevalent in promotional casinos in Las Vegas. For example, the casinos offered odds of 1 to 10 for each player to make the game more attractive. The player having Ace of Spades and a black Jack of Clubs or Spades wins the game. That’s where it got the name Blackjack.


Roulette is French for “little wheel.” The game is believed to have originated from Paris gaming houses. The game is similar to the present-day American Roulette wheel. But, it took about 50 years for the game to be polished to what gamers enjoy today.

The early version had one zero on the little wheel. Additionally, the game became more popular in the 19th century. Americans have stuck to the original design while other regions have adopted other variations.


Tracing the origins of poker has proven challenging. The game is believed to have been cultivated from years of different card games. Some versions of the game can be traced back to the seventeenth century in Persia. On the other hand, other researchers claim the game got its inspiration from the French game Poque.

The game’s popularity grew thanks to the Vegas tournaments of the 1970s. The advent of online poker helped the game’s popularity grow even more.


This popular casino game was birthed from Ms. Sittman & Pitt’s innovations in New York. They used 52 cards on drum reels to create a probability game like Poker. The game’s initial machine looks like the slot machines we see today.

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The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

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