As a popular form of entertainment, gambling has a rich history, and every player has the potential to become a winner in the blink of an eye. There is nothing else quite like the rush of adrenaline that can accompany the gambling experience! The gaming industry has grown exponentially for the past two decades, and the lure of gambling has drawn more and more people to the casinos as well as racetracks and Internet gambling web sites. Gambling is a fascinating pastime in many respects, and the list below will introduce you to some of the historical, statistical, and humorous tips and trivia that make this pastime special.
Did You Know?
1. At least 65,000,000 people in the United States play poker on a regular basis.
2. Playing cards as we know them today are still greatly influenced by the French, even though playing cards were invented in China. According to French lore, the cards with Spades represent royalty. Diamonds represent Merchants, Clubs represent Peasants, and Hearts represent the Clergy.
3. Former United States President Richard M. Nixon used money he had won playing poker in the Navy during World War 2 to finance his run for Congress in 1946. He must have been a good player, for it is never inexpensive to get involved in politics!
4. 87% of the people who visited Las Vegas during the year 1996 gambled.
5. Surveys reveal that 38% of the people who live in the United States have visited Las Vegas, typically to gamble.
6. The game called craps usually has some of the best bets in the casino.
7. Poker tournaments that take place on the Internet and on television have caused the Texas Hold’em variation of poker to have an enormous surge in popularity.
8. There is one slot machine in Las Vegas, Nevada, for every 8 people who live there. In 2005, the estimated population for the Las Vegas Valley is 2 million people. That’s a LOT of slot machines!
Gambling Bits and Pieces
9. Blackjack, or 21 as some people call it, continues to be the most popular table game in both online and offline casinos. It is also the game with the best odds.
10. You will see many versions of video poker in a casino, but every one of them is based upon the game of Five Card Draw.
11. In the English gambling dens during the 18th century, one employee had the unfortunate job of dice swallower. That’s right – dice swallower! He was to swallow the dice if and when a police officer raided the den.
12. If played correctly, video poker can offer some of the best odds in the casino.
13. The first slot machine in the world was invented by a Mr. Charles Fey in the year 1899. He was an automobile mechanic who wanted his customers to have something to amuse them while they waited for their cars.
14. Groucho Marx, one of the Marx Brothers, loved to play poker. He kept his poker money on him at all times, carrying it in a ‘grouch bag”. This is how he got the nickname of Groucho.
15. There are only two states in the United States that do not offer legalized gambling. These are Hawaii and Utah.
16. 57% of people in the United States bought a lottery ticket in the last 12 months. This fact, which was discovered by a Gallup Poll audit on gambling, proves that the lottery is the most popular form of gambling in the United States.
17. 68% of the folks in Las Vegas who gamble play the slot machines.
Fun and Interesting Facts
18. 24% of those living in the USA admit that they have participated in illegal gambling.
19. When studying the percentages of people who visit Las Vegas, it was discovered that the largest percentage group, 22%, was made up of senior citizens, those who are 65 and older.
20. One of the largest slot machine payouts ever recorded took place in Las Vegas back in 1998. A woman who had spent around $300 at a casino that day hit a $27.6 million dollar jackpot! No wonder slot machines are so popular!
21. Most historians have come to the conclusion that the legendary and colorful figure of the Wild West known as Wild Bill Hickock was not a very good poker player.
22. In the United States, it is not possible to take out a patent on any kind of gambling machine.
23. The card game of Texas Hold ‘Em was played for the very first time in a Texas city known as Robstown. This happened in the early 1900s. Texas Hold ‘Em was brought to Texas from Las Vegas by a small group of Texas gamblers.
24. Back in the 1970s, the average age of the people who enjoyed casino gambling ranged from 30 to 55. Nowadays, that age ranges from 17 all the way up to 70.
25. 80% of a survey group said that all gambling should be legal, and that casinos are perfectly okay.
26. A word of warning – You are not allowed to use your cell phone at a gaming table. This is generally true in all casinos. Of course, if you are playing at an online gaming table, you can do what you wish.
27. The largest casino in the world is located on the outskirts of Hartford, Connecticut in the United States. It is called the Foxwoods Casino.
28. Las Vegas has two nicknames – Las Vegas and Lost Wages.
29. Slot machines range from penny slots all the way up to those that range from $50 to $500 for each spin! These high-priced slots are usually located in what is called the ‘High Roller’ room or rooms of a casino. As a general rule, you will not see too many of these machines.
Gambling Facts and History
30. In 2007, more than $170 billion dollars was placed in bets in Las Vegas by gamblers. ‘The House’, or the casinos, won about $7 billion dollars of that money.
31. Online gaming is cool. Where else can you play video poker in your pajamas?
32. Casinos in Las Vegas are under no legal obligation to pay off any of their gambling debts.
33. The state of Nevada in the USA, home of Las Vegas, made gambling legal in the year 1931.
- During that same year, the Hoover Dam was being built by the US government.
- They didn’t want the men who were working on the dam to get involved with gambling, so an entire town, Boulder City, was built as a place for the dam workers to live.
- It was made illegal to gamble in Boulder City in the hopes that these workers would not squander the 50 cents an hour they were being paid.
- Today, Boulder City is the only city in the state of Nevada where it is illegal to gamble.
Fascinating Gambling Facts
34. To this day, the Italians and the French will still argue over who invented the game of Blackjack.
35. Millions of people are using the Internet to gamble 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
36. Those who play the slots online as well as offline will find that a majority of the time, they will win more often playing online.
37. In horseracing or any type of sports gambling, you need to win a percentage of about 52.4% of the bets you make in order to break even. This is because a commission is charged by the house on every bet.
38. There is no rhyme, rhythm, or pattern to playing the slots. It is almost impossible to predict when you are going to win.
39. When playing poker, the Dead Man’s Hand is Aces and Eights.
40. Most people who take a vacation to Las Vegas gamble for 4 hours a day, each day they are there.
41. Some say that the game of roulette was invented by a man called Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician and inventor. Others say he merely decided what order the numbers would go in.
42. And still others claim that the game of roulette came from China. Another group swears that roulette was invented by a group of Venetian monks! It appears that no one knows the real truth.
43. Even though a line of slot machines may look identical, every one of them looks different on the inside.
44. Dice are the oldest gaming tool available to use today.
45. Blackjack was banned in America back at the turn of the 19th century. Already a hugely popular game, it went underground as folks continued to play it illegally. The ban was lifted in 1939 as Nevada prepared to introduce Las Vegas to the world.
46. Craps is an American game, but was devised as a variation of a European game played in the 17th and 18th century that was known as ‘hazard’.
47. Legend has it that a fellow by the name of Francois Blanc made a bargain with Satan in order to find out the supposed ‘secrets’ of the roulette wheel. The basis of this legend is that when you add up all of the numbers on the wheel, you end up with the number 666, a number that has always represented the devil.
48. Slot machines are capable of revealing millions of possible combinations for every minute the game is played. This is because of the random number generator, or RNG, that is inside the machine.
49. Craps got its odd name from a nickname given to the French Creoles of New Orleans, Johnny Crapauds.
50. There are two types of dice, casino dice and ‘drugstore’ dice. Casino dice are precisely made by hand to insure that they are balanced and are a perfect cube. Drugstore dice are smaller than casino dice, and are made by machinery.
Gambling Facts and Figures
51. Historians have found documentation that tells us Napoleon really enjoyed playing a game or two of 21, or blackjack when he was in exile.
52. If you add up all of the opposing sides of one dice, you will always come up with a total of 7.
53. Roulette has rules that are easier to follow and understand than most other forms of gambling.
54. Video poker has been a part of the gambling world ever since the early 1970s.
55. The game of Baccarat was once played with Tarot cards.
56. Caribbean Stud Poker is a poker variation that is very popular worldwide. It was developed from a 16th century game called Primera.
57. There are 38 numbers on an American roulette wheel, 0, 00, 1 to 36.
58. There are 37 numbers of a French roulette wheel, 0 to 36.
59. Those who live in Nevada bet around $846 each year at the casinos.
60. The game of Baccarat was invented during the middle ages by Felix Falguiere, an Italian gambler.
61. One of the fastest growing forms of entertainment all over the world is casino gambling.
62. There are 11 different ways to make a wager in the game of roulette.
63. The British call slot machines ‘fruit machines’ and ‘one-armed bandits’.
64. The gambling game of strip poker originated in New Orleans, Louisiana around 1830.
65. Backgammon is the oldest recorded game in history. This game, which originated in Mesopotamia, is called by many different monikers.
66. Gambling has become a $40 billion dollar per year industry in just the United States alone.
Things You Probably Never Knew About Gambling
67. Blackjack tables have a little in common with baseball games. The seats at the table that are around the dealer are known as ‘bases’, and are known as first, second, and third base.
68. Baccarat came to Las Vegas in 1959 at the old Sands hotel. It probably was not well like by the hotel owners, as the Sands ended up losing $250,000 the first night on the baccarat tables!
69. There are three different varieties of baccarat. They are called ‘Chemin de fer’, or railway, ‘Baccarat Banque, or Adeux Tableaux, and Punto Banto, which means North American Baccarat.
70. Blackjack team play was invented by a man known as Al Franesco.
71. The zeros on roulette wheels are called the ‘House Edge’. The zeros were originally added to the wheel by its inventor in order to increase the house odds.
72. Caribbean Stud Poker found its way to the United States in the 18th century. It first surfaced in Louisiana, and then spread west.
73. Nowadays, you can learn how to play Craps on your Iphone!
74. A pair of dice has several nicknames. They can be called ‘Boxcars’, ‘Snake Eyes’, ‘Mississippi Marbles’, or ‘Memphis Dominoes’.
75. The fastest growing industry in the world in Indian gaming, which is a $27 billion per year industry in just the United States.
76. The name ‘Blackjack’ was derived from a variation of the original game rules, in which a player who had the black Jack of Spades received a payout.
77. The worst roulette bet, and why? It’s known as the 5 number bet, 0, 00, 1, 2, 3, and once made, the house edge jumps from 5.26% to 7.89%.
78. The game of Baccarat gets its name from the worst hand possible, zero.
79. The original name of Blackjack was ‘Ving-et-un’, which translates into the word ‘blackjack’.
80. The largest win at an online casino was $1, 683,524.64.
81. A sailor had 27 wins in a row playing Craps at a Las Vegas casino back in the 1950s. The odds of this happening are 12,467,890 to 1!
82. The game of Bingo originated in Italy during the year 1530.
83. In Australia and New Zealand, the term “Housie” is used for Bingo.
Gambling Trivia You Never Would Have Guessed
84. In the entire time the game of Keno has been played, a prize of $500,000 has been won four times, two times by the same player.
85. Roulette is the oldest of all casino games.
86. Keno was used in ancient China to raise money that was used to build the Great Wall of China.
87. Keno came to the United States in the 19th century.
88. It is possible to come up with 1,474, 200 different Bingo cards.
89. Playing cards as we know them today first appeared in Europe sometime during the 1300s.
90. Modern Bingo was devised from a game known as Beano. When a player mistakenly called out “Bingo” instead of “Beano”, the name caught on everywhere.
91. A little more than 70% of the high rollers in Vegas who enjoy playing Baccarat are Asian bankers and Asian industrialists.
92. Keno goes back to the Han Dynasty in Chinese history between 205 and 187 B.C.
93. In South America and Europe, the game of Baccarat goes by the name of Punto Banco. Punto Banco is usually a high roller game.
94. The age of the youngest person to win the World Series of Poker main event was a tender 24.
95. It is possible to make 2,598,960 poker hands from a standard 52-card deck.
96. The odds of being dealt the hand known as a ‘pocket pair’ in Poker are 16 to 1.
97. There are only 4 possible Royal Flush hands in a standard 52-card deck.
98. The odds of getting a Royal Flush hand are 649,740 to 1.
99. More than 70 million decks of standard playing cards are sold each and every year.
100. That sandwich you ate yesterday got its name from a poker player. The Earl of Sandwich loved poker so much he was loathe to leave the game table, even to eat. So, he would have someone bring him bread and some meat, and the sandwich was born!
101. The nickname for a pair of 8s in the game of poker is Pocket Snowmen.
Cindy Leggett is an inveterate reader, writer and information ad