Poker Origins

bigarrowPoker, the father of card games, has a long history over the centuries. ReadMore>>

Numerous Games

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Mobile App for Android

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New Game: Spaghetti

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Deal five cards face down to each player. On every betting round, the dealer flips two cards and each player must discard one card from his hand. Players can use their...

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History of Poker

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pokerThere seem to be differences of opinion concerning the origins of Poker. Many historians believe that it originates from a 16th century Persian card game called As Nas. That game was played with a 25 card deck containing five suits, the rules were similar to today's Five Card Stud and possessed similar poker hand rankings, such as three-of-a-kind. In 1829, the English actor Joseph Crowell reported that the game was played with a deck of 20 cards, and four players betting on which player's hand was the most valuable. Jonathan H. Green described the spread of the game from there to the rest of the country by Mississippi riverboats, on which gambling was a common pastime. Soon after this spread, the full 52-card English deck was used and the flush was introduced. The draw was added prior to 1850 (when it was first mentioned in print in a handbook of games). During the American Civil War, many additions were made including stud poker (specifically five-card stud), and the straight. Further American developments followed, such as the wild card (around 1875), lowball and split-pot poker (around 1900), and community card poker games (around 1925).

The origin of the word Poker is also debated. A French game called “poque”, from the 18th century, seems to be the most accepted root of the word. In addition, another card game called “poka” in Greece shows many similarities with what we call today “dealer’s choice poker”. Moreover, in German “Pochen” is a verb meaning primarily to hit, strike, or knock on the table, and secondarily play, bet or raise.

old texasModern tournament play became popular in American casinos after the World Series of Poker began, in 1970. Notable champions from these early WSOP tournaments include Johnny Moss, Amarillo Slim, Bobby Baldwin, Doyle Brunson, and Puggy Pearson. Later in the 1970s, the first serious poker strategy books appeared, notably SuperSystem by Doyle Brunson and Caro's Book of Poker Tells by Mike Caro. By the 1980s, poker was being depicted in popular culture as a commonplace recreational activity. In the 1990s, poker and casino gambling spread across the United States, mostly in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Nowadays, poker has many variations, all following a similar pattern of play and generally using the same hand ranking hierarchy. There are three main families of variants, largely grouped by the protocol of card-dealing and betting: Draw, Stud and Community poker. Draw poker includes games in which players are dealt a complete hand, hidden, and then improve it by replacing cards. Stud poker has games in which each player receives a combination of face-up cards and face-down cards in multiple betting rounds. Finally, Community card poker includes games in which each player's incomplete hidden hand is combined with shared face-up cards.

Poker's popularity experienced an unprecedented spike at the beginning of the 21st century, largely because of the introduction of online poker and hole-card cameras, which turned the game into a spectator sport. Not only could viewers now follow the action and drama of the game on television, they could also play the game in the comfort of their own home. Nowadays, poker has evolved through legitimate casinos and backroom games to its many present variations. Over the last decade several states have reintroduced gambling in limited formats and the fastest growing gambling opportunity today doesn’t even require you to leave your home, as you log onto your computer to tempt the fates. Carefully regulated by gaming laws, poker is now the most popular card game in the world.

 

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