ABSTRACT

Now that we have traced the intellectual development of the notion of chance, we can turn to its practical application in various gambling games. In doing this, it will be seen that various parallels and interconnections exist between the social forces that shaped the development of the concept of chance and its codification in probability theory, and those that shaped the development of gambling games themselves. It will be argued that the conflation of chance and determinism reviewed in Chapter 1 is matched by a corresponding conflation of early games of chance and divination. Their gradual historical separation (though never entirely completed) can be regarded as a process propelled by the same dynamic as that which saw the separation of chance from notions of divine providence and fate. It will also be argued that the various games and the people who played them are culturally specific and highly stratified along class lines. Chapter 3 will show that these configurations are continued in the gambling scene of today.