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Poker card games have a past stretching back hundreds of years. Understanding
how it came into being helps to see why it is so popular all over the world.
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Poker Card Games -- History and Background
There are as many variations regarding the possible birthplace of Poker
as there are of the game itself. The most popular belief is that the
Chinese invented the game around 900 A.D., possibly derived from the
Chinese dominoes. Others state that Poker originates from the Persian
game "as nas". This is a 5-player Persian game, which requires a
special deck of 25 cards with 5 suits. However, this is only recorded
back to the 17th century.
Another theory calls on the French "poque". The French who settled New
Orleans around 1480 played Poque, a card game involving bluffing and
betting. This was stated to be the first use of a deck consisting of
spades, diamonds, clubs, and hearts.
Fragments of cards have been tentatively dated to 12th or 13th century
in Egypt. Some propose that modern cards originated from the Indian
card game of Ganjifa. With so many claims, narrowing down on the exact
birthplace of Poker is akin to pulling a royal straight flush.
The earliest reference to Poker
Jonathan H. Green makes one of the earliest written references to Poker
in 1834. In his writing, Green mentions rules to what he called the
"cheating game," which was then being played on Mississippi riverboats.
He soon realized that his was the first such reference to the game, and
since it was not mentioned in the current American Hoyle, he chose to
call the game Poker.
The game he described was played with 20 cards, using only the aces,
kings, queens, jacks and tens. Two to four people could play, and each
was dealt five cards. By the time Green wrote about it, poker had
become the number one cheating game on the Mississippi boats, receiving
even more action than Three-Card Monte. Most people taken by Three-Card
Monte thought the 20-card poker seemed more a legitimate game, and they
came back time and time again. It would certainly appear, then, that
Poker was developed by the cardsharps.
The Evolution of Poker
The game of Poker has evolved through the years, through many backroom
games to the present day casinos around the world. Its history is rich
with famous places and characters. For example, during the Wild West
period of United States history, a saloon with a Poker table could be
found in just about every town from coast to coast.
Today, Poker is carefully regulated by gambling laws, and saloons have
given way to casinos and card rooms, but Poker is played more than any
other card game in the world. It has grown into a sporting event, with
competitions and tournaments all around the world. Tournaments take
place almost every week of the year somewhere in the world.
If you compare the prizes of major sporting events around the world,
you will find that the monetary outcome of any given event in Poker
would (pardon the pun) stack up. Poker today is one of the fastest
growing, but hardly recognized sporting events. The World Poker Tour
is changing that. The WPT is a series of televised championship poker
events throughout the world and the mission of the WPT is to turn
tournament poker into a televised sport (like the PGA did for golf and
NASCAR did for stock car racing.)
The pinnacle of the poker world is The World Series of Poker. This
annual event attracts players from all over the world every year to
compete for money and titles as the world's top Poker players. Once a year,
the only place poker players want to be is at the World Series of
Poker at The RIO! Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.
Thanks to our friends at a1poker.com for this contributing article!