Poker playing has drastically changed from the days when Wild Bill Hickok played in small saloon bars in the Old West. In fact, the image of gambling has changed fundamentally.
Today if people want to visit a casino they don't head to New Orleans or a paddle-steamer on the Mississippi, instead they go to Las Vegas, a city which has become synonymous with gambling. It is so well known for its huge number of casino resorts, it has billed itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World.
Las Vegas only officially became a city in 1911. It is remarkable that by the end of the century, Las Vegas was already the most populous US city founded in that century.
In 1931 gambling was legalized in Nevada, which is when casinos really started to pop up in the area. Many casinos sprung up in the 1940s in particular, this was believed to be because of the number of scientists and staff from the World War II atomic bomb research.
It is thought that the success of the early casinos in the area was due to organized crime. At the time, the first large casinos were managed by mobsters, or if not run, they were funded by them.
It wasn't until the 60s when businessman Howard Hughes came along that things started to become more legit. He bought a lot the casino-hotels, taking over from the mob.
It wasn't long before the city's open tolerance to adult entertainment earned it a nickname it didn't like - Sin City. This is the side of Las Vegas we may be familiar with from the movies.
Today people travel from all over the world to visit the Las Vegas Strip - the area where you will find the most famous casinos in the area. There are also larger casino-resorts outside the city, where you will find absolutely massive hotels, with thousands of rooms and the largest casinos you'll ever see.
In the Fremont Street Experience, which is downtown, you'll find some of these hugely popular casinos, which are interspersed with bars – Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel, California Hotel and Casino, El Cortez, Fitzgeralds Las Vegas, Four Queens and Fremont Casino.
If you haven't been to Las Vegas and you're not planning on any time soon, don't worry. Today it is really easy to get that casino experience right from your own home with the online casinos. It'll cost you a lot less to go online to play casino games and you'll still have loads of fun.