Games of strategy and planning, like poker, are all very well. But sometimes, you can’t beat an instant win. There’s rarely a moment more exciting than discovering you’ve won an instant jackpot – like many players do every day.
After all, this is the appeal of one of the most popular of all casino games: roulette. As the wheel spins, the ball goes round and round, and the tension mounts. Then it falls into the number and the players soon know whether they’ve won a life-changing jackpot, or whether they’re prepared to have another go.
But roulette doesn’t appeal to everyone. And thankfully, in today’s gaming era, there are hundreds of other options. Let’s take look at a few of the most popular, and how they came into the gaming market.
When do you think the first lottery was held? 1990? 1950?
However long ago you thought it was, you’ll likely have to go back even further. There’s evidence that China’s Han Dynasty used it as a way to raise money to build The Great Wall of China between 205 and 187 BC.
Today, most national lotteries work in a similar way. People pay to buy lottery tickets – and the amount of money generated is split between the winners and good causes.
Part of the fun of playing the lottery is the opportunity to pick your favourite numbers. Maybe it’s the house you live in, the birthdays of your family, or just numbers that have been lucky for you in the past. So if you’re someone who likes to live your life by intuition, then the lottery could be the game for you.
Keno is another game that’s said to have originated in Ancient China. It shares a number of similarities to the lottery. Here’s how it works:
- You’re handed a card with the numbers 1-80 printed on it
- From this you choose a series of numbers from your card
- The Keno caller draws 20 numbers
- The more numbers you match, the more you win
In Keno, you get more control than you do in the lottery, because you can choose how much you want to bet on each number. You can also choose to put your numbers together with so-called “way” tickets and if those combinations come up you can win even more. So if you want a sort of turbo-charged lotto, this could be the game for you.
Many people think games like Keno and the lottery are games of chance that are impossible to strategize around, but they’re wrong. Certain approaches can make you a winner. These include ‘risk sharing’, which spreads the risk and potential among a group of players – increasing the chances of each taking home a prize. For example, gambling expert Nicolas Colon’s guide to winning at Keno and the lottery guides players around these strategies – you might want to check it out if you’re a regular player.
Anyone who’s ever played bingo will know exactly what a fun and sociable game it can be – and it also shares lots of the same principles of the two previous games. But instead of choosing the numbers yourself, you’re given bingo cards with random numbers on them. If these match the numbers called out and you’re the first person to complete a line, row, or even the full card, you’ll be a winner.
The game has a long history. It was first made popular in the US in the 1930s when it was called “Beano” because players had to place a bean on each number as it was called out and then shout it when their card was complete. But when its inventor, a man called Edwin S. Lowe, heard a player shout “bingo”, its new name was born.
Today’s scratch cards are a distant relation of another great American invention of over 100 years ago: the slot machine. While slot games generate a series of random symbols – some with much higher values than others, in a mechanical format – scratch cards do this in a much simpler way.
These are available in both their printed format and online. The printed version was first patented in the US in 1987 by a company called Astro Med – and the online versions started to appear from around 2010 onwards. To play either kind you have to remove a specified number of panels from a wider selection. If you reveal one of the winning combinations of symbols – or, quite often, actual amounts of cash – you’ll win that amount, and the figures can be incredible.
One of the great things about scratch cards is that they can be themed around special interests which might be things like films, football or even lucky symbols. This all adds to the fun, especially if you reveal a winning combination.
The Wheel of Fortune
Like roulette, the Wheel of Fortune relies on the way that the outcome is decided to create excitement. As the wheel spins, no-one quite knows which prize the pointer will end up indicating. As it gradually slows and stops, the tension mounts.
It’s a favourite kind of game at local fairs and events, and there are lots of online equivalents. These are often offered as loyalty rewards for players – a bonus to thank them for playing.
Wheel of Fortune first really started to gain widespread exposure after the 1975 launch of the TV programme of the same name, which had a spin of the wheel as the ultimate reward for playing. The fact that it was a TV show that was franchised all round the world just shows how appealing the wheel is a concept.
So hopefully these have given you a few ideas about what kind of instant win fun is waiting for you out there. If you’re someone who just likes going with your luck, then the lottery, scratch cards or the wheel of fortune could be the best choices for you. If you want a little more control, then Keno could fit the bill. But if you want an added element of sociability then bingo could be perfect. Whichever you choose, you can look forward to a whole lot of fun – and maybe even some big prizes too.