There’s a lot of mythology and interesting facts around every game that you’ll find in any decent casino, from sightings of Bugsy Siegel’s ghost at the Flamingo to seeing the words “Help Me” appear on several mirrors at Circus Circus. For basic information you could do a lot worse than to look at the specific pages dedicated to different games on the Cabaret Club interface, and for less practical and more intriguing titbits you just need to keep reading here!
The Origin of Keno
Keno is said to go all the way back to Ancient China in 200 BC, when General Leung Cheung developed the first version of the game to raise funds for his constantly-battling army. The original games were based on the first 120 symbols of the Thousand Characters classic poem, used to teach children the traditional Chinese alphabet.
The game was so popular that carrier pigeons were needed to take the results to more rural areas, giving it the nickname The White Pigeon Game. Needless to say, the General was able to keep his army going and even had enough left over to fund the building of the Great Wall of China.
The Devil’s Game
The link between gambling of all kinds and dark practices or amoral behaviour is well-known, but you might not be aware of how strong this is with Roulette in particular. The numbers on the Little Wheel add up to 666, the number traditionally associated with the Devil, which is taken to be a sign of his hand in the game.
Cards for Castes
The 4 different suits in a typical deck of cards are believed to have evolved in France, to represent the 4 different social classes in that country. The nobility is believed to be represented by Spades, the clergy by Hearts, the merchants by Diamonds and the peasant class by Clubs.
In Good Company
The 4 Kings in a deck of cards are also supposed to represent 4 great leaders of ancient times: the Spades, Diamonds, Hearts and Clubs were said to originally be the visages of King David, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne and Alexander the Great respectively.
It turns out that Poker was essential to kick-starting Richard Nixon’s political career! He won $6,000 from his old navy buddies in a Poker game, and put all of it into his first foray into politics, being elected to the House of Representatives in 1946.
The River Card
The 5th card in a hand of Poker is often called the River. The name goes back to the early days of the game, when it was spread around America on the huge boats that sailed up and down Old Man River, as the mighty Mississippi has become popularly known.
Players would often exchange a bad 5th card for something better, concealed in their sleeve. If they were caught the punishment was quite severe; they were thrown overboard, into the river. The connection between the actual river and the 5th card gave rise to this moniker.
And finally, let us leave you with the origin of what is arguably the most important word in gambling: Casino. The word is Italian and originally meant a summerhouse, a pavilion or a small villa that was less grand than the main casa was.
The smaller buildings would be purely for pleasure and recreation, and were usually within the grounds of a larger property. During the 19th century the meaning of the word expanded to include any public building used for amusements including gambling and sports, and today we have casinos.