Online gambling and gaming represents huge business in modern times, with in-play and sports betting worth a staggering £2 billion in the UK industry alone. The cumulative global value of online gaming is estimated in excess of £26 billion at present, and this is likely to grow further in the coming decade.
Despite this, it is important to remember the history of gambling and its origins as a bar or saloon past-time. Saloons first emerged in western American towns towards the end of the 19th century, and it is in these dimly lit establishments where the formative versions of today’s classic gambling games were first played for real money.
Thanks primarily to technological advancements and the emergence of mobile gaming; the worlds’ most famous gambling games are now available in numerous formats that have also been replicated offline. This has not only opened up the gaming market to female players, but it has also led to the creation of some incredibly unique and innovative experiences.
Tarneeb, which translates into ‘Trump’ in Arabic, first originated in Levant as a primitive version of spades. It was initially played in the early part of the eighteenth century, where two teams of two played with a 52 card deck. Bidding goes around the table at least once in a counter-clockwise direction, and at the end of each round the dealer is afforded the opportunity to match the highest bid. This process continues until all thirteen tricks are revealed, and it is usually the first team to reach 31 that wins.
Ship Captain Shrew
Texas Hold’em Poker stands as the most popular card game in the modern world, both offline and through mobile and online platforms. There are some less well known game formats that boast cult appeal among knowledgeable gamblers, however, with Ship Captain Shrew providing one of the best examples. A quick look at Full Tilt’s bar games map suggests that the game originated in the U.S., and players compete by rolling dice in an attempt to secure a six (ship), a five (captain) and a four (crew) in order. Once this has been achieved, two additional dice are rolled and the sum is added to each player’s score, while the winner is determined over the course of three rounds.
While Russia is not considered as a mecca for gambling, Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently presented a new law to create a designated gaming zone in Crimea. This is good news for the fans of obscure bar games such as Gorodki, which originated Russia and remains a cult favourite throughout Eastern Europe. The word Gorodki translates into ‘little cities’ and the game has been popular in Russia since 1923, while it can also be formatted in one of 15 unique configurations. As a general rule, players must launch a baton the Gorodki in an attempt to knock the blocks out of a two-metre square. The player who can achieve this in the fewest attempts, and while it may sound simplistic is has uniform appeal both offline and potentially as an online experience.