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Gambling Trivia: Did You Know?
Yes, along with every other human endeavor, gambling has its own myths, legends, and trivia.
Cards and Kings
Did you know that the four kings on a standard pack of playing cards actually represent famous kings from history? The king of spades represents the biblical king David and the king of clubs represents Alexander the Great. And for the red team, Julius Caesar is supposedly depicted by the king of diamonds, while the king or hearts is purported to represent Charles the Great, king of the Franks, otherwise known as king Charlemagne.
These historical links go back almost 500 years to the time when the modern pack of cards was designed in France. The suits themselves apparently equate to four historical cultures with clubs, spades, diamonds, and hearts representing Greece, the Middle East, Rome, and the Holy Roman Empire respectively.
The six-sided dice also have a fascinating history. Traditionally carved from animal bones, they have been used by man as a means of predicting the future as well as the outcome of games of chance. These lucky cubes have been fashioned from all kinds of materials ranging from fruit pits, ivory, jewels, and even human teeth. The oldest known dice were uncovered by archaeologists in Iraq where they were possibly used with a game similar to the modern game of backgammon. These dice were made from baked clay and are approximately 5,000 years old.
Slot machines have been with us for over 100 years with the earliest version attributed to American Charles Fey. Fey devised the first slot machine in San Francisco in 1899 and it comprised a three-slot device containing an image of the famous Liberty Bell, a well-known symbol from the American Civil war. In fact, Fey's machines were so popular that for many years slot machines were called Bell machines.
The bar symbol, which is the other classic slot machine design, is derived from the logo of the Bell Fruit chewing gum company. The gum was delivered through slots in a machine designed by Herbert Mills of Chicago in 1910. The use of fruit symbols is also linked to the Mills machine as these represented the different gum flavors produced by the Herbert Mills company. The fruit flavors gave rise to the other common name for these devices - fruit machines.