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The relationship between pool tables and gambling has a long and intricate history, ranging from 19th-century saloons to present-day mobile games. This blog will examine the progression of both pool tables and gambling and how they have impacted each other throughout history, starting with the etymology of the word "pool" originating from gambling, where individuals would gather their money to make bets, up to the current digital state of pool gambling. Whether you're an experienced billiards player or just a curious reader, come along with me as I explore the world of billiards, betting, and more, while approaching the topic with a neutral, analytical view rather than a moral stance.
Into The Halls
In the 19th century, people would gather in poolrooms to place bets on horse races. Poolroom owners introduced billiard tables to keep patrons entertained while they waited for the races to start or end. The sport of billiards soon became a popular pastime in these establishments, and people would often play while they waited for the results of the races. Over time, billiards became synonymous with poolrooms, and the term "pool" eventually became synonymous with billiards. The presence of billiard tables in poolrooms helped increase the sport's popularity and solidified its place in history as an integral part of the world of gambling and horse racing.
In the early 1900s, a number of states in the US prohibited the existence of poolrooms and gambling establishments due to increasing worries about the effects of gambling on society and morality. This isn't a new issue as billiards has a long history of being criticized by the Church. Right from its inception, the game was frequently criticized as being wicked, perilous, and morally depraved.
These concerns led to widespread raids on poolrooms and the arrest of many of their patrons and owners. The ban significantly impacted the sport of billiards, which was closely associated with poolrooms and gambling.
Despite the ban, some poolrooms continued to operate in secret or in states where the ban was not in effect. However, law enforcement often raided these illegal operations, and many poolroom owners and patrons were arrested and convicted of gambling-related crimes. The ban on poolrooms and other gambling establishments had a lasting impact on the sport of billiards, which lost much of its popularity and cultural significance during this period.
In the decades that followed, attitudes towards gambling began to shift, and many states began to reconsider their stance on poolrooms and other forms of gambling. Eventually, the ban on poolrooms was lifted in many states, and the sport of billiards made a resurgence. Today, billiards is once again a popular and widely played sport, and many people enjoy playing the game in local pool halls, bars, and private homes. Despite its history with gambling, billiards is now largely seen as a recreational activity and a form of social entertainment, and the negative connotations associated with poolrooms and gambling have largely faded away.
Onto the Digital
Nowadays most of the gambling isn't even happening in the billiard halls but more so on your phones...
8 ball pool, as well as other online pool games, have become increasingly popular in the past decade with an astounding 70 million active player base. In the game, players can wager in-game currency on matches, with the winner taking the pot. This creates a gambling-like experience within the game, as players can potentially win or lose virtual currency based on their performance. When you launch the App, you might find yourself questioning whether it's a pool game or a casino disguised as one. The game features wheels that promise a shot at something shiny, as well as the opportunity to make lucky shots, all tied to real-world currency.
In conclusion, the relationship between pool tables and gambling has come a long way from its early roots in 19th-century saloons. Today, billiards continues to be a popular form of social entertainment, and the digital age has brought a new twist to the world of pool gambling with the advent of online pool games. With an active player base of over 70 million and earnings of over 400 million dollars, it's clear that the love for billiards and gambling continues to thrive in new and innovative ways.