Gambling has been around for centuries, but the games haven’t always stayed the same. Back in ancient Egypt, the Backgammon-like game Senet was a favourite, while the Vikings enjoyed the dice game “Mia.” Today, none of these games are found in a real money online casino Canada, like those on this site. But the games we play today are still hundreds of years old. However, much has changed over the years, so let’s dive back to history and see what’s new!
The origin of blackjack is still discussed, but the first reference to the game blackjack was found in a book written by Miguel de Cervantes in 1601-02, about card cheating in Seville, Spain. The game “veintiuana” is mentioned in the book, Spanish for twenty-one. However, the first official record of blackjack occurs in 1768 in France under the name Vingt-Un and spread to America in early 1800, where it later got the name blackjack.
A few interesting rules in the past was a no exposed dealer card, which would make it more difficult for the player to lay a good strategy. The dealer would even make their own decisions on whether to hit or stand, which gave them a great advantage as his hand is played last. It’s also believed that the dealer could force a double against his hand.
The game had to develop over the years since it was largely favouring the dealer and discouraging players. To make the game more attractive, they offered a special 10:1 payout for an ace and a black Jack (spades or clubs), which is also believed to be the origin of the name blackjack.
In an attempt to create a perpetual motion machine, French physicist Blaise Pascal accidentally created the roulette wheel in the 17th century. Descriptions from 1796 included two zero-pockets for the bank, but to compete with other casinos and give the players better odds, the German casinos in Bad Homburg started to offer wheels with one pocket in 1843. This later caught on, and this is the origins of French and European roulette as we know it today.
The Americans, however, had their own rules. The numbers on the wheel ranged from 1-28, and in addition to the single zero and double zero slots, they even included the American Eagle slot. Unless the player bet on one of these slots, the bank would win if the ball falls in one of these pockets, giving them a 12,9% edge. Therefore, they later removed the Eagle and added the additional numbers from the European wheels to make the game more popular. But the double-zero still stands today!
The first automatic payout slot machine, called the Liberty Bell, was created by the San Francisco-based inventor Charles Fey between 1887-95. It had five symbols (horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts, and the Liberty Bell, and the machine had three reels. In 1902 the slot machines were banned, but the slots lived on. Instead of a cash price, chewing gum and sweets were rewarded by the Bell-Fruit company. The famous “BAR”-symbol we often find in today’s slots originates from this machine, as this was the company’s logo.
The 60’s was the next significant era of slots, with Bally releasing electromechanical slots allowing for more advanced payouts. Money Honey was the first such slot released in 1964 and quickly became the market’s dominant type. The first video slot was developed in 1976, paving way for more flashy graphics and effects to indulge the players. In 1996 WMS Industries Inc. added flashy bonus rounds, which is the forefather to the online slots we know today.