When, and where, did craps originate?

Craps is, of course, a casino game in which players bet on the outcome of a roll, or a series of rolls, of a pair of dice. The name ‘craps’ is believed to be an Anglicisation of the French word ‘crapaud’, meaning ‘toad’ which, in turn, is derived from how a precursor of craps, called ‘hazard’, was played by people crouched on floors or pavements in seventeenth century France. However, the origins of hazard are believed to be much older. The invention of the game is credited to William of Tyre, during the siege of the castle of Hazarth – after which the games was probably named – in the early twelfth century.


Fast forward five hundred years or so and craps was a simplification of hazard created in France in the late sixteenth century. In the early nineteenth century, the game was introduced to New Orleans by French-American nobleman Bernard de Marigny who, as an errant young man, spent time frequenting the gambling houses of London. In the early years of the twentieth century, John H. Winn, a.k.a. ‘the Father of Modern-Day Craps’, remedied an obvious flaw in the game, by allowing ‘pass’ and ‘don’t pass’ options. His innovation revolutionised craps and encouraged its spread throughout French Louisiana and along the Mississippi River. Fast forward again, to the early Thirties, and the legalisation of gambling in Nevada further increased the popularity of craps and it has remained a rollicking, social game on the tables of Las Vegas ever since.


Which is the most profitable casino in Atlantic City?

Gambling was legalised in Atlantic City, New Jersey following a referendum in 1976 and, two years later, Resorts International, now Resorts Casino Hotel, on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk became the first legal casino in the United States outside Nevada. Fast forward four decades or so and, according the latest report by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, far and away the most profitable land-based casino in Atlantic City is The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa which, in the year to April, 2019, grossed $53.37 million, or nearly double the revenue of its nearest competitor.

Opened in July, 2003, making it the newest casino in Atlantic City, The Borgata is one of three casinos in the marina district of the city, the others being Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City and the Golden Nugget. Harrah’s, which opened in November, 1980, is the oldest of the three and was, in fact, the first casino in Atlantic located away from the boardwalk. At one point in its history, Harrah’s was the highest-grossing casino in Atlantic City but, as of April, 2019, ranked second behind The Borgata, with annual revenue of $27.18 million.

Third on the list comes Tropicana Atlantic City, with annual revenue of $24.02 million. Originally opened, on the Boardwalk, in November, 1981, nearly two years after original owners, Ramada, acquired the Tropicana Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip in December, 1979, Tropicana Atlantic City is, nowadays, one of the largest hotels in New Jersey, with 2,400 rooms.

What’s the largest amount won in a single poker tournament?

The Main Event of the World Series of Poker, held annually in Las Vegas, is considered the unofficial ‘world championship’ of poker and, since its inception, has produced some of the largest payouts in poker tournament history. However, the distinction of the largest single payout ever belongs to another World Series of Poker event, known as The Big One for One Drop.

Staged in aid of the One Drop Foundation – an international non-profit organisation that provides access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation – The Big One for One Drop is a $1 million buy-in, no limit Texas hold ‘em poker tournament. In 2012, The Big One for One Drop was contested by 48 players, competing for total prize money of $42.67 million. The winner that year was Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari, who took home $18.35 million.

Esfandiari was chip leader, by some way, heading into the final table and confidently predicted that he would win the tournament. His confidence was not displaced, because he quickly dispatched six of the eight finalists and, although he briefly lost the chip lead to British poker professional Sam Trickett during heads-up play, finally triumphed in the eighty-fifth hand of the final table. On the button and holding 7, 5 off suit, Esfandiari made trip fives on the flop and, after a series of raises and re-raises, raised all in against Trickett, who had Q,6 suited in the hole and flopped a flush draw. Trickett called, but failed to fill his flush draw and had to be content with $10.1 million, the biggest consolation prize in poker tournament history.


When, and where, did Keno originate?

Nowadays, keno is a popular casino gambling games in which players attempt to ‘spot’ between one and ten numbers, from a pool of 80 numbers, 20 of which are drawn, randomly, at regular intervals. The name ‘keno’ is an Americanism, coined in the early nineteenth century and derived from the French word ‘quine’, meaning ‘five’, and the word ‘lotto’. Nevertheless, keno is of Chinese origin and has a history dating back at least two millennia.

Keno was originally known as ‘baige piao’, which translates into English as ‘white pigeon ticket’, reflecting the use of homing pigeons in the early form of the game.

Baige piao was popular throughout China from the third century BCE onwards; so popular, in fact, that under the auspices of Cheung Leung, ruler of the Han Dynasty, it reputedly financed the construction of a portion of the Great Wall of China.

Baige piao travelled to America with Chinese immigrant workers in the mid-eighteenth century, where it was initially played, illegally, by the Chinese community and hence became known as the ‘Chinese Lottery’. Over time, Keno became more widely accepted and the original ticket, which featured the first 80 Chinese characters in the so-called ‘Book of a Thousand Characters’, was modified to include Arabic numerals instead. Of course, Keno is a game that can be played alone, without interaction with others, and requires no special skills, yet offers the potential of a huge payout for relatively small outlay; these factors have led to the enduring popularity of the game.

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