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Have you ever wondered, whilst whipping your phone out of your pocket and delving into one of your go-to games, where did my favourite games originate from?
Casino games have a lengthy and interesting history, and though it’s clear that they have come a long way, their history is almost as exciting as their progression. Want to find out the story behind your favourite games? Carry on reading as we guide you through some classic casino history.
The origin of Blackjack is actually pretty vague, with most believing that it began in the early 1700s in French casinos, since it was alluded to in the novel Don Quixote, published around this time. The game was known as ‘Vingt-et-un’ in this period, which is French for 21. This version of the card game was played during the reign of King Louis XV at the French Royal Court.
The name Blackjack was first used in the 18th century and was derived from casinos offering ‘special bets’ to entice more people to play the game. One of these special bets was 10:1 odds of a player holding a Black Jack, with an Ace. Eventually these special bets were phased out, however, the name remained.
Casinos grew in popularity in the 18th century and card games travelled across the seas to North America, aided by the colonization of America by the French. The first legal game of Blackjack took place in New Orleans in 1820, where legalised gambling halls were present. Though the rules differed to the Blackjack that we know today, when its influence spread to the renowned gambling state of Nevada, the game evolved into the casino classic that we play today.
As was the case with Blackjack and many other games, the origins of Roulette aren’t known for certain. The most popular theory is that it was invented by French scientist Blaise Pascal in 1655 and was first played in Paris. Who would have thought that the French were supposedly responsible for the creation of many of our favourite casino games?
The word Roulette is French and translates to ‘Small Wheel’. It was introduced in France in the late 18th Century, but had a different layout to that which we are used to today. Initially, the game had a red-coloured zero and a double zero which was black. If the ball landed on either of these colours, the player would lose their bet. From the 1800s onwards, the zeros became green, which made the game far less confusing.
In 1837, the game was made illegal when Louis Phillipe shut down all French casino venues. In this period, where the French were unable to freely gamble, German casinos thrived and Dostoyevsky, a Russian author wrote his novel The Gambler, which told the tales of his experiences at the Bad Homburg Casino. It was also in this casino that two brothers, Francois and Louis Blanc remodeled the Roulette wheel, removing the double zero.
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