Sunday, April 17, 2011
The History of Gambling: Tools and Games
Just as gambling evolved from divinatory practices of early societies, so too did the tools of gambling evolve from ritualized objects–stones, sticks, nuts, shells, and bones. Small bones, particularly knucklebones (astragali) became the direct predecessors of modern dice. Astragali have irregular, non-symmetrical shapes, with four large sides and two more-or-less rounded ends. When thrown, an astragalus will land on one of its four big sides, delivering a seemingly random outcome of the throw. Over time, the sides of an astragalus were given value and markings; the lowest value “1” assigned to the largest side of a concave shape because of a higher chance that the bone will rest on it, the highest value “6” given the smallest side of a convex shape for its greater odds–thus "Roll ‘em bones!" Read more . . .