How to play Poker

Poker is a collective group of gambling card games which has a diverse and complex family tree. Its roots can be traced back to China, where playing cards were invented in the early 12th century. Colourful illustrations were added to the cards by royal families in India, and the ornate Asian decks soon reached Europe via the merchants of Venice and Crusaders returning from the Middle East.

The Italians deserve credit for developing the modern 52-card “Latin” deck with its four suits—Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs. Much later, following the French Revolution, Parisians would finalize the ranking of the “court cards,” with the Ace outranking the royals—King, Queen and Jack.

Such Renaissance games as Basset and Brelan from Italy and Pochen from Germany are considered to be antecedents to Poker. They led to variations called Glic and Piquet in France. In turn, the English came up with Primero, Bragg, Lanterloo, Gleek and Ombre.

These distant cousins of Poker featured “action rounds” of betting, which became extremely popular for socializing as well as gambling in the 17th century.

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How to Play Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is the Americanised version of Pai Gow played with playing cards rather than traditional Chinese dominoes.

China has made huge contributions to the world of gambling, not the least of which was the invention of paper used to make money and playing cards more than a thousand years ago.

Prior to that, marked tiles, dice and coloured stones were used for games of chance, some of which are still played to this day. Mahjong, Fan-Tan, and Dominoes are good examples.

One ancient game that has survived virtually unchanged since the Song Dynasty (960~1279) is called Pai Gow (pronounced “pie gow”), which means “make nine.”

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Mega Progressive Jackpot Slots

Slots or the term “slot machine” is a simplification of the phrase “coin-in-the-slot machine,” which was used to describe some of the earliest mechanical gaming devices.

In the 1870s, these took the form of mechanical “punch boards” that allowed players to win prizes, such as candy, gum, cigars or credits for free play.

Today, the “coin slots” have been replaced by electronic mechanisms for insertion of paper currency, and the “prizes” include cars, comps and cash in the millions.  It has been estimated that slot machines and their younger cousin, video poker machines, are responsible for about 70~80 percent of the gambling profits earned by casinos annually. 

The opportunity to win big with a small bankroll, along with highly entertaining formats, has made slot play the most popular form of gambling worldwide.

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How to Play Video Poker

Of all the different types of slot machines invented for gambling, Video Poker is the world’s most popular.

It offers players all of the thrills and strategy of the table game, but without the need to sit down with other players, no waiting for shuffling and dealing, and no danger of losing to bluffers or bullies.

That’s because Video Poker is played one-on-one against the machine. It has the added assurance of fixed payouts based upon the size of the bet made and type of winning combination held, not the size of the pot.

The number of Video Poker variations has grown exponentially in recent years. In addition to straight “Jacks or Better” and the wild-card favourite “Deuces Wild,” you can choose 100-Play Poker, Spin Poker, Reversible Royals, Triple Bonus Poker, and a myriad of other poker spin-offs.

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How to Play Mahjong

Mahjong, also spelled majiang or mah jongg, as it is played around the world today, is not the ancient Chinese pastime you might think it to be.

Stories are often told of a lonely Tang Dynasty princess who invented the game to ward off boredom more than twelve hundred years ago. Many say Confucius himself enjoyed the game as Ma-chur, and there are even a few who claim the game entertained Noah and his family on the Ark.

In truth, however, the current game was invented only about 150 years ago. In 1846, the rules of a set-forming card game—Ma Tiao, which was similar to Gin Rummy and very popular in Shanghai—were applied to a ceramic tile game by a clever imperial servant named Chen Yu-Men.

Decades later, when China became a Republic in 1912, the game took off as a welcome diversion from troubled times. It was called “mahjong,” which means “hemp bird” or “sparrow,” because getting the winning piece is as difficult as catching the Chinese bird of cleverness.

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