The Rise of Casino games

Unknown origins and mysteries surround almost all of the casino games we enjoy today. Most predate records and as such are hard to pin down. Some are attributable a single person, others have evolved through time, while poker’s history reads like a legends of the west roll call. One thing that’s for sure however is that all of these casino games have spectacularly risen in popularity fuelled in no small part by the internet and its accompanying online casinos.

Here, we chart the histories of the casino games and their meteoric rise in the internet age.

Poker

WSOP-del-2003-Chris-Moneymaker

Texas Hold’em hails from Robstown, Texas (hence the name) and traces its origins back to the 1960’s and while today it is the most popular poker variant, this wasn’t always the case. A pioneering group of wandering gamblers that included Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson and Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Austin Preston, Jr, popularised the game in Las Vegas when they started playing hold’em in the Golden Nugget Casino in 1967.

The game moved from the saw dust ridden Nugget into the plush but since demolished Dunes Casino, where today the Bellagio stands in its place. A few years later the first seeds of the World Series of Poker or WSOP were sown after the Gambling Fraternity Convention was established.

The game’s popularity grew and even made the move to Europe thanks to two Irish bookmakers, Liam Flood and Terry Rogers, who bought the game back to Europe and started the Irish Open, today the world’s second longest running tournament.

Then the real game changer occurred when, thanks to the invention of the internet, in 2003, American Chris Moneymaker won a $38 buy-in satellite to the WSOP main event where he took down the big prize, a whopping $2.5 million. This, in turn, inspired thousands to try and do the same, causing a huge rise in the popularity and participation in online poker.

Roulette

Moonlight-Roulette-Wheel

Roulette, which means small wheel in French, was accidently invented by physicist, mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal sometime around the 17th century, while attempting to invent a perpetual motion machine. Due to gambling being illegal at the time, the game hopped the border into neighbouring Germany where, for a short while, it stayed before gambling was then outlawed here too. One place where gambling was legal was casino filled Monte Carlo where the game found a new home for itself and quickly grew in popularity, becoming one of the casinos most enjoyed games.

When casinos also started to grow in popularity, the found themselves reaching far out across the world including the USA, where an offspring, second edition was born. To this day, we play American Roulette and French or European Roulette, with the main difference being an extra Zero designed to give the casino a slightly the better advantage.

Both versions of Roulette are now thriving online meaning that wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, online casinos give you the opportunity to play online Roulette.

Slots

Row of slot machines on cruise ship

Row of slot machines on cruise ship

The first slot machine was invented in 1887 by Charles Fey and placed on the San Francisco promenade, with fruit flavoured gum being offered as the reward.  The game had three spinning reels and five symbols which included diamonds, hearts, horseshoes, spades and the first jackpot symbol, the Liberty Bell. The games were an instant hit and, where legal, demand grew, with fruit themed symbols eventually replacing the original card suites, which remain today.

By 1963, Bally Technologies launched Money Honey, the world’s first electromechanical slot machine which took the games in a new direction by adding the flashing light element and upping the gameplay and payouts. Such was their popularity that it was around this time that they became the most popular casino games.

In 1979, Walt Fraley invented Fortune Coin paving the way for the next generation of slot machines as, for the first time, the games went video thanks to the explosion of microchip technology. This allowed for progressive slots machine, the first of which, Megabucks, entered the market in 1986. In another ten years, the internet changed everything for everyone and so, like all the other casino games, slots went online. They took their innovative approach to gaming and remain as popular as ever and today come with all of the features of their evolution.
Many players have now started to move away from land based casinos to play slots as they now have the opportunity of winning the same amount of money online and even on mobile. This online slot (or ‘pokies’) resource from Casino.com.au will give you a huge variety of games, with great jackpots and welcome bonuses. And if you’re new and don’t know how to play online for real money you can learn the ins and outs here as well.

BlackJack

Possibly differing from the other casino games on this list, Blackjack is not the brain child of one single person, but rather the mutant evolution of numerous factors. It is widely accepted that Blackjack is another of the games on this list that originates in France from around the 18th Century, then known as Chemin de Fer, due to the iron box the cards were kept in. The rules of Blackjack then, are different to the rules we use now with an extra betting round since having been added to the modern game along with the dealer being the only person permitted to double.

By 1931, the game had popularised in Nevada, under the name 21 but, unsatisfied with its success, some casinos began offering a special bet where a hand featuring either of the black jacks plus the Ace of Spades would pay bonus odds and the name stuck. And it’s still popular today, nowhere more so than the internet where the online casino industry has developed various versions of the game.