Famous People in Gambling

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Gambling: A Brief History

Though games of chance been around all throughout history, from ancient Chinese keno to Wild West gambling aficionados Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday, many of the games we know today wouldn’t be what they are without a little modern innovation. Certainly, technology plays a big role in making sure that casinos are able to protect their investments, that patrons are playing fairly, but there are inventions which we may not even think about, which have gone a long way into making modern gaming what it is today.

The Most Profitable

This may or may not come as a surprise, but the biggest scoring game of chance in recent history is the slot machine, which was invented in the United States in 1887 by Charles Fey. There had been lots of similar little coin machines displayed prominently for use in storefronts, not unlike candy machines in supermarkets today, but Fey’s machine was the first to pay out in coins. Because the machine had different symbols on it, like a modern slot machine, and the payout came from lining up three bells, it became known colloquially as a bell machine.

At the time, the machine impressed saloon owners and restaurateurs alike, and garnered so much attention that it featured in the San Francisco chronicle, which stated that everyone present at the machine’s grand showing speculated that it was sure to be a huge success. They certainly weren’t wrong, as the slot machine has gone on to be a staple in casinos across the globe, and they still remain the most profitable and the most popular, due in part to how easy these machines are to understand and get started playing.

gambling history

The King’s Uncomfortable Shoes

Card counting and other skilled cheating methods are always something casinos have to work to combat. In 2000, Shuffle Master (a company now known as SHFL Entertainment) released the first Continuous Shuffling Machine (CSM), known as The King. This was designed to be used in Blackjack, to eliminate the human element from card shuffling, which in turn would serve to disable card counters.

Unfortunately, for honest players, a CSM adds no benefit to the game, and because it eliminates card counting of any kind, it also makes things more difficult for basic strategy players. For this reason, it has been dubbed “the uncomfortable shoes”, but despite the negative moniker, CSMs have not been proven to give the house an advantage over the average player. Perhaps the lack of the human element has made an otherwise personal game seem far more impersonal. Regardless, it allows casinos to keep things fair without hindering the game in a meaningful way.

Because gambling generally involves such high degrees of luck, it’s no wonder that things have been forced to evolve over time to combat an ever-changing world. We’ve come a long way from simple dice games, but the next time you visit the casino, take a moment to appreciate the inventions you might not have given much thought to before.