How it all began: what types of gambling were popular among ancient warriors

Gambling has been around for thousands of years. This is how they had fun even in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Games were especially loved by warriors who needed to relax and distract themselves from wars, battles, and duels.

With the support of Kapowcasino, we will tell you about gambling games that were popular with ancient warriors. Some of them not only have a thousand-year history but have become prototypes of modern entertainment.

Ancient Egypt

Gambling was widespread in Ancient Egypt, and not only warriors but also almost all segments of the population played them. They had plenty to choose from. Today, historians have evidence that the Egyptians had many games, the analogs of which are difficult to find in other civilizations of that time.

The most popular games were tyau, mehen and senet. It has not yet been possible to find out their rules, but a glance at them is enough to intuitively guess the principles of the aviator game.

Thiau, similar to modern chess, was played on a compact square board. It was divided into 20 sectors, along which players moved different figures.

Another game, Senet, is somewhat similar to the previous one but is more reminiscent of checkers. The senet board was rectangular and had 30 square sectors, and the pieces for the game were like pawns.

Mehen most closely resembles roulette, which was played behind a disc with notches. Balls or other figures were thrown there, moving along a trajectory and then stopping in a random place.

Another entertainment of the Egyptians was the hub-em-how, which was a copper bowl into which special disks had to be thrown. The players made several throws in a certain sequence, each time increasing the distance to the bowl.

They also played dice in Egypt, but they looked a little different from the six-sided dice we are familiar with. Archaeologists have found bones that were much larger and had many more edges, making them look like a ball.

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greek myths are replete with references to gambling, so it is not surprising that the gamblers there considered it the entertainment of the gods and attached special significance to it. According to their beliefs, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades agreed to divide the world precisely through gambling. They divided the sky, the ocean, and the underworld among themselves by playing dice.

Even then, large Greek cities had their kind of gambling establishments, where soldiers and ordinary citizens spent time. But the most popular meeting place for players was the Sanctuary of Athena Skirados. The most popular games of that time were dice and barbut, similar to modern craps, and telia, which is reminiscent of the familiar backgammon.

It is clear that in the homeland of the Olympic Games, they could not do without the ancient betting. The Greeks bet on the results of the competitions, and in between they found other events, including fights between people or animals.

Ancient Rome

Among the Roman legionnaires, there were quite often avid players who loved to spend their free time in the company of like-minded people. They never got bored, because in Ancient Rome there was a considerable selection of gambling games.

Due to their simplicity and unpretentiousness, games in which you had to guess something were popular. To organize such entertainment, no additional tools were required – the warriors used everything that was at hand. For example, a player had to guess how many nuts or stones his opponent was holding in his hand, or which way a tossed coin would land.

Dice occupied a special place in the ancient Roman gambling assortment. There were even tournaments and competitions for this game in Rome, and they attracted many participants and spectators. The rules were simple – the one with the highest number on the dice wins. All players were trying to see sixes on the dice.

Another gambling page in the life of Ancient Rome was betting. Sports events, gladiator matches, or animal fights – here you could bet on anything. The Romans saw this as an opportunity to combine business with pleasure – both to watch an interesting spectacle and to earn money.

Over the history of its existence, gambling has changed, developed, and improved. Now, to gain access to hundreds of different games, you only need to have a gadget and an Internet connection.

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Amrat Gupta

I'm a PS4 gamer who enjoys reading Economics. I have a strong pull towards writing and rocking out on the guitar. You can contact me at

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