Gambling History, It’s hard to say when gambling started, as it is simply the wagering of money or something of value on an event that has an uncertain outcome. There is a lot of things that are hard to predict to pinpoint accuracy, meaning you can gamble on almost anything. All you need is three things: consideration (what you think the outcome will be), chance (the outcome can’t be guaranteed), and prize (there has to be something worth gaining).
Because it’s so vague, you can argue that we have been gambling since the dawn of our existence. “I’m gambling that If I expend a certain amount of effort, I can climb this tree for it’s fruit”. The consideration is weighting up how much effort it will take to receive the reward, if the tree is strong enough to carry your weight, and if you are skilled enough to make the climb. The chance is that the tree branch might break, you might expend more energy than the fruit is worth, or you might fail to climb the tree and fall. The prize is the fruit.
“I gamble that I can hunt that large cat”. You can imagine all the things that can go wrong in that scenario, and the gamble is for the prize of food.
“I gamble that my clan can defeat our neighbouring clan”. Etc.
However, gambling in what can be considered a game probably doesn’t go back quite as far. Most of what we consider gambling in modern casinos originates from Europe and China. Games like craps, baccarat, roulette (look up the geometrical definition of roulette if you have chance, it is fascinating. Here is a great video by Adam Savage and Vsauce), and blackjack originated from Europe. A version of the ancient Chinese game Keno is played in casinos today.
The earliest record we have of gambling comes from China. Around 2300BC, more than 4000 years ago.
However, there is evidence that even our great ancestors from pre-recorded history some 40,000 years ago where gamblers. Dice-like objects made from bones, typically the ankle bones from sheep or dogs called Astragali. There are even cave paintings depicting gambling.
It should as no surprise that cheating was big, even back then. Dice have been found in the ruins of Pompeii that suggest they are “loaded”, or designed to fall a certain way. Where there is something to be gained, cheating will occur. But even cheating is a gamble, as you’re gambling that you will get away with it.
The ancient Greeks, some 1000 years ago, enjoyed gambling with dice even though gambling was illegal.
In ancient Rome they loved gambling so much that even the Roman Emperor Claudius was a fan, to the extent of adjusting his carriage to allow for dice to be thrown.
Another famous Roman emperor to indulge in gambling was Caligula, who was so addicted that he would confiscate property to pay off his debts.
Roman lawmakers decreed that all children were to be taught how to gamble.
Things haven’t changed much since those Roman emperors were throwing dice, or even our cave dwelling ancestors. There are laws in place today to try and make gambling as fair as possible, though the saying “the house always wins” seems to true more often than not.
Gambling History Statistics Vs Dreams
Gambling can bring on many feelings. Happy for the winner, and sad for the loser. However, the thrill of winning can quickly turn you into a loser. The difficulty people have with gambling stems from our “logical” thinking of statistics, which is quite often wrong. Our brains didn’t develop to understand statistic, but to judge the behaviour of our pray and our fellow man (“Is that a friend in that bush, a predator, or an enemy. I gamble that it’s a friend and will approach the bush”).
For example, if I flipped a coin and heads came up 10 times in a row, most people bet that tails is going to come up next, because it only seems logical for it to happen after heads has been flipped 10 times. Seems like simple statistics. However the odds of tails coming up on the 11th flip is the same as it has always been, 50%. It’s just as likely to be heads again.
This why people who are on a losing streak don’t want to give up, because they feel that a winning number HAS to be just around the corner.
This addictive nature of gambling is why it has persisted for thousands of years, and wont be going anywhere soon.
So when gambling keep in mind that the more you know about what you’re gambling on the better you can asses the circumstance, the easier it is to judge the chance, and win the prize.
A good example of using your knowledge to judge the chance, is in sport. Certain sports teams perform better in certain weather, in their home town, and against certain teams. Nothing is definite in gambling, but everything is calculable. Gamble smart, and quite while you’re ahead.