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Old 06-01-2012, 07:06 PM   #11
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

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Originally Posted by robkelk View Post
I'd be surprised if poker chips existed before then. It's more likely people would be using actual coins instead of tokens that represent coins.
It's not as if literal penny-ante poker games have not been played in living memory.

Also, check out the histiory of cards. The conventional history si that hand-painted Tarot cards existed in the TL4 period but were used for fortunetelling instead of gaming.

A TL4 European-style gambler probably works mostly with dice games rather than cards. They might be made dice rather than simple sheep's bones such as Roman soldiers used.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:50 PM   #12
Polydamas
 
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

You might want to google Donald McBane, a Scottish infantryman who ran brothels and gambling sites on the side around the year 1700. His memoirs have a lot of allusions to how gambling in an army camp worked.

The fun thing is that until about 1700, there was no mathematics of probability and statistics. The John Law of the Missippi Bubble made some money by applying rudimentary probability theory to some popular games.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:06 PM   #13
sir_pudding
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Also, check out the histiory of cards. The conventional history si that hand-painted Tarot cards existed in the TL4 period but were used for fortunetelling instead of gaming.
There were plenty of card games in the Renaissance through Baroque, including as I said earlier, the Poker ancestor: Primero.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
There were plenty of card games in the Renaissance through Baroque, including as I said earlier, the Poker ancestor: Primero.
After the invention of the printing press maybe. Before that when all decks are hand-painted I doubt that decks are common at all. Very dificult to play card games when you don't have a deck.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:18 PM   #15
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
It's not as if literal penny-ante poker games have not been played in living memory.

Also, check out the histiory of cards. The conventional history si that hand-painted Tarot cards existed in the TL4 period but were used for fortunetelling instead of gaming.

A TL4 European-style gambler probably works mostly with dice games rather than cards. They might be made dice rather than simple sheep's bones such as Roman soldiers used.
Almost all farmers had silver coinage; only in small amounts, but easily enough for gambling with.

As for poker chips, it's easier to keep tracks of chips at the gambling table than paper money, but coins are as good as chips in this regard, especially if there is only one kind of coin, the silver penny, or possibly only one coin occasionally cut into halves or quarters. Unless you want to get into the whole trade-by-weight-not-count thing, but for my Ärth setting, small trades are done by count, that is I tell you the beer costs 2 farthings, and you give me two pieces of silver, and if they look farthing-sized then that's good enough.

I also dislike primitive cards for gambling, because I can't envision the cards being of uniform manufacture so that they can avoid the "marked" effect where one can quickly learn, e.g., that the two of clubs has a corner bent at a 75 degree angle.

To the extent that sophisticated gambling takes place in my Ärth setting, and I haven't yet made up my mind as to how common it is, it uses cubic dice covered with beakers, with a game, or several variants of the same game, that are in principle like poker, where the goal is to outbid or bluff the other players. And it's not casino-based; there is no house. At best you pay a deposit to rent beakers and dice (you need a set of dice for each player) from the bartender at the drinking house, and you get most or all of it back when you return the tools in good order, but the only way to profit from it is to participate as an equal player.

That's skilled gambling, though, which is at best rare in Ärth. Almost all gambling consists of pure-random dice rolling, coin tossing, or wagering, and is therefore disconnected from all character skill, and from all character traits (even luck traits) unless one character wishes to cheat or has specialist knowledge that lets him know what to bet on.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:20 PM   #16
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
No, it just requires keeping track of those games where the house wins. You need statistics to determine ahead of time what the odds are, but bookkeeping and time are sufficient to identify winning patterns.
Life insurance is a similar sort of betting, when you examine its economic logic; but in fact, life insurance did not become a viable business until the first systematic collection of mortality statistic in London during the Restoration, which was TL4. In fact, both probability theory and statistical methods are properly TL4, not TL5.

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Old 06-01-2012, 08:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
After the invention of the printing press maybe. Before that when all decks are hand-painted I doubt that decks are common at all. Very dificult to play card games when you don't have a deck.
The printing press is in fact one of the characteristic technologies of the Renaissance—and, more to the point, of the Reformation, which happened more or less at the same time. Francis Bacon cites gunnery, navigation, and printing as the three great triumphs of European technology. Of course now we know that the Chinese came up with all three first. . . .

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Old 06-01-2012, 08:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
The fun thing is that until about 1700, there was no mathematics of probability and statistics.
In fact, years and years ago, I edited a journal article that translated one of the early studies of odds in dice games. They figured like this:

1, 1 gives 2: that's 1
1, 2 gives 3: that's 1
1, 3 or 2, 2 gives 4: that's 2
1, 4 or 2, 3 gives 5: that's 2
1, 5 or 2, 4 or 3, 3 gives 6: that's 3
1, 6 or 2, 5 or 3, 4 gives 7: that's 3
and so on, for 21 outcomes; so they had 1/21 chance of a 2, 1/21 chance of a 3, 2/21 chance of a 4, and so on. I think most of us can figure out what the true odds should be, but it wasn't obvious back then.

The scary thing is that I think this was an early essay by Blaise Pascal. . . .

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Old 06-01-2012, 10:51 PM   #19
sir_pudding
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
After the invention of the printing press maybe. Before that when all decks are hand-painted I doubt that decks are common at all. Very dificult to play card games when you don't have a deck.
No different from corduroy or embroidery and Primero was a court game (especially in the French royal court). Period card games existed. For example, it's well documented that James I was obsessed with Maw (a trick taking game that's so bizarre people think I'm making it up as I go along).

Tables games (backgammon and it's relatives) were also very popular in the 16-17th centuries.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:07 AM   #20
Hans Rancke-Madsen
 
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Default Re: TL4 Poker Chips

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I guess it really depends on how you define "casino". The modern casino where "the house always wins" really requires TL5 statistics, I'd think.
What are TL5 statistics? The kind of probability calculations you can use for dice and card gambling can be performed with a stick and a scratchable surface.

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Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
Poker chips as such weren't invented until the 18th or 19th century, making them TL5. However, tokens used as markers for games and quite possibly gambling, which can be though are not necessarily coin-like, go back to the Romans. Dedicated gambling houses are of similar vintage. They're a matter of economics more than technology.
So poker chips are implementable at TL0 even if they weren't invented until TL5 in our world.


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Last edited by Hans Rancke-Madsen; 06-02-2012 at 03:13 AM.
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