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Showing results for tags 'keno'.

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  1. Modern society often looks back on ancient civilisations with wonder and this wonderment uncovers fascinating lifestyles of people who lived thousands of years ago. According to historians and archaeological discoveries, gambling is one of the oldest practises known to man. Records indicate that people in ancient civilisations enjoyed it so much, it had to be outlawed and controlled. Playing games that involve chance and luck dates back to Aztec and even Mayan cultures and anthropologists track gambling all over the globe. We still play games of chance that originate from primitive China and early civilisations used dice throwing, or something similar, to resolve quarrels and serve justice. Historians believe the origins of wagering are divinatory with the casting of marked sticks that later spurred betting on the outcome. Regardless of why humans started gambling, the practice and love for games of chance are engraved in our origins. We look at some of the wagering traditions of bygone cultures and some that stood the test of time. Aztec and Maya Games Ancient Mesoamerican culture is one of the most studied periods, and scholars constantly discover fascinating traditions and practise within the Aztec and Mayan tribes. Some of the information passed through the hands of Spanish investigators and modern discoverers unveiled other prehistoric details. ✓ Patolli Recorded by Spanish discoverers, Diego Durán and Bernardino de Sahagún, who witnessed the games during their travels to the region in the 16th century, Aztecs played patolli and wagered on the game. According to Durán, Aztecs loved the board game so much that today we would consider it a highly addictive game. Sahagún indicated that the Aztec king did his best to regulate the game in an attempt to prevent major distractions for his people. They described it as a social game as multiple players could join in on the fun and onlookers quickly gathered when a patolli mat made its appearance. As most Aztec reference stems from the civilisation’s capital, Tenochtitlan, it seems that this was where the game was most popular and widely practised. Sometimes players would call on the god of games, Macuilxochitl, to bring them favourable play. We could describe patolli as a board game, and tools for the game included pebbles, bean dice, and a game mat. They also traced the board on the ground if a matt wasn’t available. The board had 60 or 70 places where the pebbles could move along and the aim was to move pebbles from one end to the other. Results or moves were determined by tossing dice made of dried beans. The Spaniards both agreed on the fact that these wagering games sometimes became heated and one described heads being split open. Durán noted that problem gambling arose for some who wagered clothes off their body and gambled themselves into servitude. They found evidence of the game in other Mesoamerican tribes, denoting the popularity of this forgotten board game. ✓ Ullamaliztli Known as ‘The Ball Game’, nobles in Aztec tribes enjoyed this high-speed game and Mayan tribes played the sport as well. For Aztecs, though, this was a way of life and a central part of their culture. Known as ullamaliztli, the ball game was second only to the Aztec god, Huitzilopochtli, and every settlement and city had a dedicated ball court. The Aztec ball game was not just a means of entertainment, it carried political and religious meaning as well. They made the ball from hard rubber, which had a rough surface with the potential to injure players. For this reason, deerskin guards covered the areas players would use to keep the 9-pound ball in the air. Highly skilled players took part in the game where they may not drop the ball, and contenders mostly finished a game with many injuries and bruises. Apart from keeping the rubber ball, named ulli, in the air, players had to get it through a stone carved hoop on either side of the court. Because of the difficulty of this goal, a ball passing through a hoop would mark the end of the game. Six markers along the courtside presented other opportunities to earn points and rules included fouls for touching the ball with the wrong part of the body, like hands and calves. Gambling was a big part of ullamaliztli and spectators staked almost anything on the outcomes. Ornate feathers, land, and even children were acceptable wagers, while some sold themselves into slavery to pay off their gambling debts. The Aztec ball game has a darker side to it as well, where blood sacrifice came into play and they sacrificed entire teams to keep the sun moving. A modern and civilised version of the Aztec ball game exists today and Siniloan women and children play it as a pastime and sport. Roman and Greek Gambling From the ‘throw of Aphrodite’ to landing Venus with knucklebones, gambling has deep roots in Roman and Greek history and some believe these cultures had the greatest influence on wagering as we know it today. ✓ Roman Board Games and Races Roman gamblers enjoyed playing board games that often involved dice made from ivory, bone, glass, and other materials. Their die resembled the modern cubes with six sides and the simplest Roman games entailed rolling dice for the highest total. A board game called ‘the game of twelve’ was very popular in Roman culture and is comparable to backgammon. They played the game with three dice, fifteen pieces - called ‘men’ - for each player, and a board carved out of stone. ‘Game of Brigands’ was a strategy game that incorporated coloured glass pieces and the player who captured the most pieces was dubbed the king. Sounds familiar, right? Romans used knucklebones in a game of chance where they tossed four bones marked 1, 3, 4, and 6 to land the highest combination. The highest throw was a ‘Venus’ and oddly enough, the lowest throw included all aces and they dubbed it the ‘dog’. A well-known section in the Bible describes how Roman soldiers cast lots to divide clothes belonging to Jesus. More popular than wagering on games, though, was race betting. Romans were passionate bettors in chariot races. Some event venues could house 250,000 spectators and Romans originally viewed race days as religious events. Gamblers bet on the outcome of races, and this hobby dates back to 753BC, and it is said that some used magic to cheat during chariot horse racing. They outlawed gambling for a few centuries due to gamblers causing havoc, increased violence, and even riots, but today Italy is one of the more successful gambling regions in the world. ✓ Gambling Gods in Greece According to Greek mythology, deities Hermes and Pan were avid gamblers. Some folklore tells the story of Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus settling the universe split by throwing dice. Others say the gods drew straws to settle the dispute. Greeks had a few variations of gambling games, but dominant ones included tossing coins, rolling die, betting on animal fights, and board games. Punters still believe that a double six dice roll is lucky, but in ancient Greece, it was the winning combination and carried the name ‘throw of Aphrodite’. Greek dice were 20-sided, icosahedron, and inscribed with Greek letters or numbers and sometimes, they used these when seeking divine answers. Similar to the Romans, Greek gamblers played a board game resembling backgammon, but they also bet on simple games like Par Impar Ludere. Here, a player would hold several objects in his hand and the opponent would guess whether it’s an odd or even number of items. Spectators would bet on the outcome of the game. They placed similar bets on coin tosses and chicken, dog, and birds fights were very popular. The Greeks believed that their gambling fate lay in the hands of the gods and winning was a sign of godly favour. Notably, many Greek writers and philosophers had a negative view of gambling and labelled it as a plague, which is probably true as the Greek government outlawed the practice for some time. Gambling Origins in the East A game that many punters still enjoy today is Keno and this famous card game dates back to 2,000 years ago in China. The gambling game comprises lotto-type playing cards with 80 characters (or numbers) and most Chinese provinces offered the game named, baige piao. Much like state-owned lottos in modern society, the province governor permitted games to take place for his share of the profit. Keno arrived in the US in the 19th century through travellers from the east and they say the game inspired lotto and bingo as we know them today. Most lotteries offer variations of Keno and it is a popular game among many cultures. The Chinese also invented a gambling game that involves 144 tiles, called Mahjong, where players need to make the best possible hand with 14 tiles. Also referred to as Asian Gin Rummy, China currently prohibits their citizens from playing this game. Pai Gow dates back to over 1,000 years, and this strategy game is often mistaken for dominoes. Modern versions of this ancient game include mobile adaptations like Pai Gow Poker. The Human Nature of Wagering Gambling dates back centuries and clearly, the practice of taking a chance with a wager is deeply rooted in our nature. Looking back on how ancient civilisations went about their gambling practices can teach us a few things and one fact remains: When it becomes too serious, take a break. Gambling should always be fun and approached responsibly to ensure its enjoyment for generations to come.
  2. Gambling is a global pastime and as such comes with its own vast library of myths, legends, facts and loads of fiction. We’ve delved into these stories to bring you twelve gambling and casino facts that sound stranger than fiction. ✓Blackjack Saved FedEx from Going Under The 70s were a tough time for a struggling freight and delivery company named Federal Express. Failing to secure the $24,000 he needed to pay the company’s outstanding fuel bill Fred Smith, FedEx founder, gambled the last $5000 in the company account and won. After a successful run of luck playing blackjack Smith turned his $5000 bankroll into $27,000 saving the company. Today FedEx has an annual turnover of more than $60 billion, making it one of the biggest paydays in gambling history. ✓Card Counting is Actually Legal Despite Hollywood’s portrayal of card counting as a dubious practise the reality is that it is nothing more than an intelligence-based method for keeping track of cards. Where the confusion comes into play is that casinos will do whatever they can to maintain the house edge, especially where low margin games like blackjack are concerned, and as such remove card counters from the casino. They do so by invoking their “right of admission reserved” clause, not by citing any law or legal precedent. ✓The Playing Card Roots of Slot Machines It is not only FedEx which has a deck of cards to thank for its existence, so does the slot machine, video slot and fruit machine industry. Prior to 1890 gambling consisted primarily of dice and card-based games. Looking to spice things up a mechanic built a drum wheel and populated it with paying cards. Winning lines on this first slot machine was based on winning poker hands. The stronger the hand the higher the prize the bar would offer which included sweets, free drinks and even cigars. ✓Early Las Vegas Supported Feminism The 1920s was a powerful time for women in America, not only would they receive the right to vote but a woman would lead the charge in legalised casino ownership. The Northern Club was opened on September 5, 1920, by Mayme Stocker. Her venue offered patrons refreshments and access to the only casino games that were legal at the time, these being stud, draw and lowball poker. When Las Vegas officially began offering gambling licenses in 1931 her standing in the community saw Stocker receive the first one. ✓Las Vegas Does Not Rule the Gambling World While Las Vegas dominates popular culture and media as the epicentre of gambling the real king of the hill lies more than seven thousand miles to the East. Macau is the worlds largest gambling centre and generates more than three times the amount of revenue annually that Las Vegas does. Vegas generates annual Gross Gaming Revenues (GGR) in excess of $6 billion while Macau’s GGR can exceed $28 billion. ✓Pachinko Rolls Around Japanese Gambling Laws Japanese residents are avid gamblers however access to local land-based casinos is strictly regulated. Gambling fans are only allowed to visit a licensed casino once a week and must pay a hefty entrance fee for the privilege. However, Pachinko machines are legal as patrons purchase trays of silver balls to play with but cannot win cash from the machines, only more silver balls which can be traded in for a variety of items or prizes. On an interesting but totally unrelated note, there are always curio shops not far from the Pachinko parlours willing to buy these trinkets from lucky players for cash. What a fortunate coincidence. ✓The Great Wall of Keno While modern gambling companies are seen to donate large sums of money to local charities, programs to support the prevention of problem gambling and other honourable causes, however, this is far from being something new. Keno was invented in China during the 2nd century BC and soon became a favoured game with nobles and peasants alike. So much so that when the Great Wall of China was being built the Emperor used taxes on Keno as a way to supplement the project. ✓The Rise and Fall of Archie Karas While it is true that what goes up must come down the story of Greek gambler Archie Karas is one of the dangers of chasing wins and losses while gambling. The 1950s saw Karas go on what has become known simply as The Run, a gambling streak that saw him turn $50 into more than $40 million in less than three years. Unfortunately, his streak of luck turned sour and Karas lost it all in less than three weeks. The moral of the story is to know when to cash in your chips and enjoy your success. ✓Playing the Long Game We have all heard the tales of how skilled poker players can face off against one another over extended periods of time, however, the truth, in this case, will sound stranger than fiction. The longest recorded poker game in history was played in Arizona and began in 1881 when all was said and done more than $10 million had changed hands over a period of nearly eight and a half years! ✓A Million Dollar Lotto Lesson NN ran the story of Glenda Blackwell, who protested her husband's ongoing fascination with the lottery by buying a ticket of her own. Intended to be a lesson in the pointlessness of playing the lottery Glenda had to eat her words when her $10 Carolina Millions Scratchcard paid out a staggering $1 million! If ever there was a lesson worth learning this was one of them. ✓Craps Hall of Fame When it comes to gamblers who have defied the odds and carved out a niche for themselves in the gambling hall of fame nothing compares to tales told at the Las Vegas Desert Inn of an anonymous sailor from the 50s. As the legend goes this lone sailor made 27 consecutive winning passes while playing Craps, the odds of this astounding feat are 12,467,890 to 1. In honour of his amazing streak, the dice are on display in a glass case at the Desert Inn till today. ✓Gambling on the Go The term ‘gambling on the go’ is most often associated with mobile gambling today given the burgeoning mobile casino market, however, it is a label that perfectly fits the world’s smallest casino. Birmingham’s Grosvenor Casino unveiled their smallest gambling location in 2016, a converted local taxicab. The casino-cab features a gambling table, its own dealer, a bar, television screens for sporting events and access to online casino games. What is your favourite tall tale or unbelievable gambling fact? Create a free GamblersPick account today and share your stranger than fiction factoids in the comments section below.
  3. The roots of poker go back hundreds of years, but would you like to know which game is older? Believe it or not, the game of keno has its roots in one of the most notable and ancient lotteries in the world. You might not usually think about these origins when you sit down to play, but it's worth learning about one of the most popular casino games on earth. Read on for a quick (and fascinating) history of keno games. What Is Keno? In case you're not familiar with keno, here's a quick rundown. Keno is played with cards or tickets that have numbers in squares, generally between 1-80. Players mark as many numbers as they wish, up to the maximum allowed, and registers his selection before a drawing. Twenty numbered balls are selected at a time, usually once daily. Prizes are given based on how many of each player's chosen numbers are drawn. Where Did Keno Start? That's how we play keno today, but where did this popular casino game begin? For the answer, we have to travel back over 2,000 years to the Han Dynasty in China. Its ruler, Cheung Leung, needed more money to fund an ongoing war. To get his subjects to willingly provide the money, he devised what many consider the first government-run "lottery" in history. The name of the game was baige piao or "white pigeon ticket," named for the bird that appeared on the card. It also featured the first 80 characters from Qianziwen, the Book of a Thousand Characters. Cheung Ling promised the chance of a huge return on a small investment, so the game was an instant success. It provided enough income not only to finance the war but also the rebuilding of the Great Wall. How Did Keno Spread? When the first Chinese immigrants arrived in the US in the 1800s, they brought their favorite game with them. Despite the fact that gambling was illegal, it thrived during the era of westward expansion. The US government legalized gambling in 1931, and the first keno-based games arrived in Reno, Nevada, in 1933. It was first called Race Horse Keno, showing names of horses instead of numbers so it didn't conflict with existing lottery laws. When the laws changed again in 1951, the number-based keno games we know today were reintroduced. Today you'll find keno games in every casino in America, as well as gambling facilities in Australia, South Africa, and eastern Asia. Many online casinos also offer versions of keno so players can enjoy the game from anywhere. Keno Casino Games: Here to Stay Online casino games may be a modern invention, but the game of keno is just the opposite. With roots stretching back thousands of years to ancient China, it's one of the oldest numbers games on earth. As it spread across the world, it gradually evolved into the game we know and love today. So the next time you're hanging out at the casino with your friends, mention a few of these fun facts about keno. Everyone is sure to be impressed with your knowledge of the game! Ready to learn more about all things gambling? Browse our blog for more great information.
  4. Lotteries have been around for centuries. There's evidence that the ancient Chinese, ancient Romans and ancient Egyptians all had some kind of game. People love to take chances, and they love the idea of becoming an instant millionaire sitting on a pile of cold, hard cash. Every country has its own legal gambling games including lotto, drawings, bingo and number picks. Here are some fascinating facts about lotteries around the world. Europe's Lotteries Are Big, Multiplayer Affairs There are big lotteries with big prizes in America, but it's hard to top the massive, multiplayer jackpots of some European lotteries. Italy has its famous SuperEnaLotto, which is a simple game that pays off hugely if you hit it. Each player only has to pick six numbers from a group of 90. Does that sound easy? It might, but the odds are high on ever hitting just those six. That's why the payoffs on the SuperEnaLotto can be mind-boggling. The ease of playing and low entry price has made it attractive to people across Italy and Europe. Spain's Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad (Extraordinary Christmas Game) is the biggest game in the world in terms of payout. It's so big it goes by the nickname “El Gordo,” meaning the Fat One. In 2012, it paid out the equivalent of $941.8 million. The game involves a series of tickets with preprinted, five-digit numbers. The government issues each set of numbers several times in a number of runs called series. As a result, the winning prize gets divided among all the holders of the winning numbers in each series. In Spain, El Gordo is more than just a drawing. It's held on December 22 every year, and it's considered a national pastime that families and groups of friends participate in together. You won't mind sharing your winnings when you see how huge they are. In 2016, El Gordo paid over $2 billion to its lucky winners. Powerball Has the Highest Starting Jackpot It's no wonder the Powerball is a favorite for most players. Its high starting jackpot of $40 million makes it attractive to millions of gamblers despite the low odds of winning. In 2016, it hit a record-breaking payout of over $1 billion. The French Lottery Is Tax Free and Gives You Two Shots to Win France has had a national game, called the Loto, since 1505. The modern version of their game gives you two chances to win. Each slip doubles as a raffle entry with the chance to win 20,0000 Euros or about $40,000. Best of all, prize winnings on the Loto are never taxed. Speaking of France, one of the earliest people to win the big game there was the famed writer Voltaire. He and a group of friends figured out a way to rig the game. Voltaire enjoyed winnings in the millions that allowed him to quit working and devote himself to writing, philosophy and other pursuits that don't generally pay that well. We're pretty sure the French closed those loopholes, so don't try to repeat his trick. Powerball Was Once a Power Cookie In 2005, 110 people ended up splitting the winning Powerball payoff of $20 million. Eighty-nine people got $100,000 each and 21 players got $500,000 each. This was nicknamed the “Fortune Cookie Powerball.” Powerball remains the most popular game in the USA. In total, people in America spend more than $70 million on games of chance including drawings, quick picks, bingo and lotto. The UK Game Has Funded Famous Films The UK's national game has raised money for many important cultural events. During the Elizabethan period, it raised money for libraries and theaters. In modern times, it has funded the production of movies like The King's Speech and The Last King of Scotland. Maryland's Keno Game Pays Off Every Three Minutes If you don't feel like waiting around for a big drawing, try a Keno game. Maryland is one of a handful of states that offer continuous Keno games with quick payoffs. Others are Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia. It Could Happen to You and It Did In the movie It Could Happen to You, a cop promises half his game winnings as a tip to a diner waitress. This movie was based on a true story. It happened again in Oregon, when a bar customer left a winning lotto ticket as a tip for a bartender. It was worth more than $17,000. Germany Only Has One Lottery Unlike most countries that have several smaller lotteries, gambling games and jackpots in addition to their big national one, Germany has only one state-run game. It draws every Wednesday and Saturday night. EuroMillions Is Bigger Than Mega Millions The enormous EuroMillions game has twice-weekly drawings and involves players from all over Europe including the UK, Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. Mega Millions is no slouch, either, as it's the second biggest USA game after Powerball. It creates a new millionaire almost every week. Japan's Lottery Has No Age Limits The Japanese Year End Jumbo, called Jumo Takarakuji, is the biggest game in Asia. It's held only once a year with a New Year's Eve drawing. In one recent drawing, there were 68 winners who received 400 million yen each, which is the equivalent of almost $4 million. By law, half the money collected for every game must go to organizations that serve the greater good. Japan's gambling games have no age limit. Even children can buy a ticket. Best of all, you don't pay any taxes on your winnings. Unfortunately, you can only take part if you live in Japan. You Can Buy Into Some of These Can you buy a chance at these foreign games in Asia, Europe or Australia? It depends on the country. For instance, you can play Oz Lotto, the national game of Australia, online. A recent Oz Lotto payout was $5 million. For other countries, check gambling websites that specialize in these games. Read the fine print to make sure you can collect your winnings as a foreigner. You might have to travel in person to collect them. Some countries don't allow anyone to take part unless they're in the country. Before you fork over your cash, be sure it's legal.
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