The Fathers of Casino Gaming

Today’s post on Father’s Day, we look back at the Fathers of Gambling – those who either invented a game or made it prominent in the industry’s casinos.  Some were inventors, some were just the first or the best at it. Here are some important Fathers in the development of casino games :

The Father of the Slot Machine – Charles Fey 

1895 was a year of slots invention when Charles Fey represented his own brainchild called Liberty Bell. It is significant to know that the popularity of the slot machine was so astounding that allowed the inventor to open the factory of slots manufacturing in 1896. The first slots were designed and manufactured by Fey himself. They were soon placed into the local gambling establishments on the basis of the 50 rent percent. Hence, in addition to being the first inventor, Charles Fey was recognizable as the first proprietor of the slots.

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Charles Frey and a picture of the famous “first” slot machine the “Liberty Bell.”

A little know fact is that in 1901, Charles Fey added a Draw feature to his very popular Slot machine. This allowed some of the drums to be held when taking a second spin. This feature greatly increased the popularity of the Slot machines and turned them more into a skill-based gambling machine, and this development set the stage for the future history of video poker.

The Father of Card Counting – Ed Thorpe

It was during his tenure at the MIT that he came up with the thought of using his knowledge of mathematical principles to come up with a model that could help decrease the house advantage. Former mathematics professor Edward Oakley Thorp brought card counting to modern Blackjack in 1962, when he published his book, “Beat the Dealer.” Although it has been succeeded by other methods since it was introduced, Thorp’s Ten Count System is regarded as the first mathematically proven system for card counting made available to the general public.

Ed Thorp’s ground-breaking counting system.

The Father of Modern Craps – John H. Winn

It was American dice maker, John H. Winn, who developed the rules further to allow betting for or against the shooter, thus becoming the father of modern Craps. His influence on the game brought us the game as we know it today, a full table setup in the air-conditioned comfort of a casino.

The Father of Roulette – Blaise Pascal 

So, how did he get that title as the father of Roulette? At 16, Blaise Pascal actually presented a paper about geometry that blew away the best math minds in Paris during that period! He ended up making many math formulas and ideas that are still used today. More importantly to us, he was also the inventor of probability which led to his connection with Roulette. A friend of his, Chevalier de Mere posed a question to him about gambling. Blaise Pascal created a formula to show the probability of two people winning in a casino game, and this has become the essence of probability theory! So, when Blaise Pascal was trying to invent a perpetual motion machine, he invented Roulette instead!

The Godfather of Texas Holdem Poker – Benny Binion.

Benny Binion went to Vegas after the Second World War. Little did anyone know he would change Sin City forever. His motto “If you want to get rich, make little people feel like big people” quickly turned the Horseshoe into one of the best casinos in Las Vegas. But the biggest achievement of his marketing genius was the invention of the World Series of Poker. He, more than anyone else, was responsible for putting the game of Texas Holdem Poker on the world map.

Some recent Fathers (Inventors) of games you may play in a casino:

  1. Sam Torosian (Father of Pai Gow Poker) was the owner of the California Bell Casino in Bell, California, near Los Angeles, in 1985. Sam Torosian had a brilliant idea: he took certain ideas and methods of play from the game of Pai Gow and mixed them with elements of poker to create a brand new casino game: Pai Gow Poker. This new casino game was a perfect blend of old and new, East and West, luck and strategy, and it was an instant hit
  2. The casino variant of Three Card Poker was first “invented” by Derek Webb in 1994 and patented in 1997. He had a vision for a game that combined the excitement of poker and the speed of regular casino games.
  3. The first person wanting to take credit for the invention of Caribbean Stud Poker is noted poker author and poker player David Sklansky. He claims to have invented a game known as Casino Poker, which is fundamentally the same as Caribbean Stud Poker, albeit it with the dealer exposing two cards instead of just the one and also without the progressive jackpot feature which Caribbean Stud Poker players know and love today.  But the beginnings of this island card game is cloudy at best.  Matter of fact, there are many variants on the origin of the game.
  4. Let It Ride – The game was invented by Shuffle Master founder John Breeding, with the goal of fueling demand for the company’s shuffling machine.

I’m sure there are more, but for now we tip our NETG hat to the father’s of gaming.

That’s all for now.

Binbin

 

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