The history of card games and their evolution within the casino is an interesting one. Man’s love for gambling can be traced as far back as 600 BCE but when the first legal casinos came onto the scene in the early 1930s gambling was able to move from back streets and shady saloons into legitimate venues. Over the years casino gambling has grown to indclude a large variety of games, in particular card games. From the back streets to the growth in popularity of new casino games online, the evolution of casino card games has been grand.
The cards that are used in card games themselves are sold today either made of card stock or plastic. Most countries have their own modern deck formats but the French format of Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs and Spades is most commonly used in casinos around the world and have been since the beginning. The earliest playing cards are believed to have originated in Central Asia and the first playing cards existed in China before 1000AD. See our article on The History of Cards for more.
There are many different types of card games played in casinos: Adding games like Blackjack; Fishing games; Card exchange games; Draw and discard games; and Matching games like Poker. Many people believe that Blackjack was first played in 17th century France, known as vingt et un (21). Early blackjack had a few minor differences to today’s game – only the dealer was allowed to double up and there were many different methods for betting. As well, the players were allowed to bet after each , something no longer allowed. Modern blackjack is now the most widely played casino banking game (where each player plays against a banker, or dealer) in the world and is known as a Comparing Card Game which compares the players cards to the dealers cards to determine a winner.
The extremely popular game of poker was first played in the United States in the early 19th century. Originally, poker was played with five cards to each player from a twenty-card pack. Gambling was a common pastime on riverboats and in saloons during the gold rush. Eventually the full 52-card English deck began to be used and the flush was introduced. In modern casinos, poker is still one of the most popular games to play and the beginning of the World Series of Poker in the 1970s led to the game becoming more popular than ever. This event attracts players of all types, from professional gamblers to A-List celebrities trying their hand at winning the game. Today, poker is not only played online around the world, it has turned into a spectator sport with broadcasts of poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour watched in pubs and bars everywhere. In addition to the increase in live poker events and tournaments that are being broadcast through televisions, new streaming sites such as Twitch are getting in on the action, bring yet another a new phase of evolution to the card game.
The evolution of card games has been exciting. The popularity of play in casinos and online grows every year and the classic card games that the world has known and loved for centuries will almost certainly undergo more change as a direct result of new technologies. Watch for virtual reality poker in the near future!