The history of modern gaming can be traced back as far as the ancient Greeks, who used to play many dice games and others based on luck. Many famous Greek philosophers have written about the gambling pursuits people used to play at the time, and while some looked down upon the activity due to its addictive nature, it’s said that the Greek gods themselves liked to play – legend has it that Hades, Poseidon and Zeus split up the universe between them based on a throw of the dice.
Ancient gambling games of Greece and Rome
Probably the first game that ancient Greek gamblers used to play was dice. Although there were many variations, the most popular saw players use three dice made out of clay cubes, and they would bet on the outcome being higher or lower than the median.
Besides playing dice, the Greeks also played many other gambling games, including an ancient version of checkers that they called “tilia”. The same game as also played in Rome, where it was called “the game of 12 lines”, and where players would bet on the outcome of games they played themselves, or those they watched as spectators.
Flipping a coin (heads and tails) was a popular game in Greece and Rome too. In Greece they first played with a shell, and later a coin, simply betting on which side it would land.
Animal fighting was another popular betting activity. Scenes carved onto pottery from the time depicts people betting on the outcome of fights involving chickens, birds and dogs, and indeed the industry was so big that numerous breeders would breed and sell animals for this violent sport.
The history of gambling elsewhere
Gambling has also been popular in China, and many Islamic countries for thousands of years. In China, they played a game called “Keno” which involved using cards with the numbers 1-80 placed in squares. Players had to circle a specified amount of numbers and then a lottery would be drawn, with numbers chosen at random, somewhat similar to bingo. The winning player would be the first to check off all of the numbers they had circled on their card, and a cash prize given.
Keno dates back over 2,000 years and was so popular that most towns and cities had special gaming venues where people could go and play. In these venues, a certain percentage of the profits would go to the local province governor, which was probably the first instance of gambling being taxed.
The Chinese also played numerous card games featuring human figures that where later expanded to the Middle East, and later, Europe. It was in Europe that players adapted the cards to today’s modern Kings and Queens seen in decks today.
Gambling has come a long way since the ancient times and is now popular all over the world. Indeed, most people now prefer to gamble at online venues as opposed to traditional gambling houses. Many believe that if you try your luck with mobile casino you have a much better chance of winning than players did back in the old times.