Casino gambling has been surrounded by intrigue and excitement for centuries. One lucky night on the casino floor can quickly change a player’s life.
Before you head out the door on your next casino adventure, here are 10 casino gambling facts that will impress your friends.
The 14 Year Poker Game
Many of us have received the text message or seen the dreaded eight missed calls from our significant other while at a real money poker game.
Usually, this means it’s time to wrap it up and call it a night. Sometimes it requires a quick phone call and a delicately crafted response about why you won’t be home before 2 a.m.
Now imagine being part of the eight and a half year poker game. The game, which is rumored to have lasted eight years and five months, took place in Tombstone at the Bird Cage Theatre.
The game ran day and night non-stop. I’m fairly certain the divorce attorney would have served me somewhere in year two.
That’s a tremendous poker game, but it’s not even the longest game ever. That distinction belongs to a game at Dun Glen Hotel in West Virginia.
Verified by the fact-checkers at Guinness, the game lasted for over 14 years.
Craps Players Would Eat the Dice to Slip the Cops
If there’s one thing that prohibition has accomplished, it’s to show us all that it doesn’t work.
Alcohol, drugs, and gambling have all endured a widespread prohibition at some point. Complete with the full cooperation of law enforcement.
However, alcohol had speakeasies and bootleggers. The drug trade has mules and vast networks of organized crime like the cartels.
The dice players quickly understood that the police would need evidence to convict anyone of wrongdoing and began to swallow the dice to eliminate the evidence.
This is how the phrase “no dice” got its start. I suppose swallowing dice beats going to prison.
Nevada State Prison and Casino
We all know how big casino gambling in Nevada is. Your friends will be shocked just how popular it is, though.
At one time, there was a fully functioning casino (minus the cocktail servers) inside the Nevada State Prison. No, this wasn’t some marketing ploy by Harrah’s to draw in a macabre casino crowd.
The casino was for the prisoners. Between 1932 and 1967, inmates could enjoy blackjack, poker, and craps at their temporary home.
The prison casino even offered a sportsbook for inmates to lay their wagers.
Prison officials touted the program as leading to far fewer incidents of disciplinary violations thanks to the program. Prisoners and guards seemed to get along pretty well while the casino was in operation.
In 1967, the new warden decided that the casino was detrimental to the prisoners and dissolved the program.
Doyle Brunson Back to Back WSOP Wins With the Same Hand
Not many poker stars have the honor of having a poker hand named for them. Of course, not many poker stars are on the level of Doyle Brunson.
This could’ve been a cinderella story of Jesse Alto, a car salesman that won the WSOP. Instead, Brunson gained a two on the turn and another on the river for a full house.
Winning one hand, even for a WSOP Main Event bracelet, isn’t enough to name a hand for someone. Do it two years in a row, and you’re going to gain some attention.
That’s precisely what Brunson accomplished in 1977 when he again won the WSOP Main Event with 10-2.
Again, Brunson started behind and caught winning cards on the turn and river for a full house.
Vegas Used Atomic Testing to Draw Crowds
This may sound crazy at first but stay with me for a moment. Las Vegas actually became a tourist attraction in the 1950s for something vastly different than blackjack or slot machines and buffet dining.
The United States Department of Energy began testing nuclear bombs in the Nevada desert at a tremendous rate. Thousands of massive explosions transformed the desert into the surface of the sun.
Being Americans and all, we rushed to the desert to bask in all of our atomic glory, from a safe distance, of course.
Obviously, Las Vegas saw the opportunity and seized. Vegas casinos began offering atomic themed packages with views of the explosions and signature cocktails.
There was even a “Miss Atomic Energy” beauty pageant where contestants wore mushroom cloud inspired outfits.
How uniquely Las Vegas to capitalize on nuclear proliferation.
Smallest Casino in The World
You might have that friend that just can’t stop gushing about the quaint casino the recently visited. They’ll bill it as a hidden gem and speak of how it must be among the smallest casinos in the world.
However, you’ll be sure to remind them that it’s definitely not the smallest. In fact, it’s not really that close.
In any event, these tiny mobile casinos have everything a gambler on the go could want. Your dealer will warmly greet you at the casino table, where you have a vast selection of games.
If you’re in the mood for a drink, the casino has a fully stocked bar. There are even satellite television and a dedicated line for sports bettors to place their wagers.
Steve Job’s Dad Was a Casino Billionaire
Steve Jobs was definitely a charismatic and divisive leader. The Apple founder brought us tools that changed the way we work, communicate, and live.
From the iPod to the iPhone, Jobs was a visionary. At the very least, he had an eye for spotting the brightest forward thinkers around.
Many people don’t realize that Jobs was adopted. Even fewer people are aware that Jobs’ biological father was billionaire casino executive Abdulfattah John Jandali.
Jandali served as Vice Chairman for Boomtown Casino and Hotel in Reno, NV. Boomtown, as you may know, is best known for its all you can eat Lobster Buffet.
The Sandwich Was Born in a Casino
Enjoy eating slices of cured ham or salami as much as playing cards? Looking for a convenient way to enjoy both simultaneously without making a mess?
Well, John Montagu was in the same predicament. The fourth Earl of Sandwich loved his regular card games.
I should note that people had been eating meat in bread for ages. Fortunately, none of them had a killer name like Sandwich to attach to the delicious concoction.
Welcome to Fabulous Paradise
We’ve all seen the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Many of us have visited the sign ourselves for that great photo op.
However, many people don’t realize (even those who have visited the sign) that the sign and much of The Strip itself are actually located in Paradise, NV.
I know, it’s like finding out Santa Claus isn’t really a cheerful guy that lives at the North Pole with his flying reindeer.
I wouldn’t particularly mind if they did change the sign to read Paradise. After all, it’s Las Vegas, and that’s close enough. Or is it Paradise?
The First Slot Machine Was in a Service Station
Charles Fey was a car mechanic from San Fransisco. He invented the slot machine as a means of keeping his customers entertained and out of his hair while he repaired their ailing automobile.
The Liberty Bell was a hugely popular success, and casinos began to take notice. They began purchasing the machines and installing them to keep gamblers distracted while the table games were full.
Within a few years, the casinos were full of the fun and easy to play games. The rest, as they say, is history.
Armed with these 10 casino gambling facts that will impress your friends, you’re ready to share your knowledge amongst them indiscriminately.
What are some of your favorite bits of casino trivia that aren’t on my list?
The great thing about casino gambling is that one amazing day or lucky pull, and you instantly become a nugget of Las Vegas lore that others will talk about for decades.