Poker - A brief history into the origins of the game
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History of Poker
Click here for a specific History of Texas Holdem. Or read on for a general history of poker...
Poker is one of the most popular of a class of card games with a rich and interesting history. Today with emerging technologies, poker can also refer to video poker, a single-player game seen in casinos much like a slot machine, or to other games that use poker hand rankings. While the history of poker is an issue of some debate, here is a general overview of how the game began.
Origins of Poker
While the exact origins are unclear, poker may have originated from a 16th century Persian card game known as As Nas. It was probably then taught to French settlers in New Orleans by Persian sailors. This game was played like the modern five card stud with 25 cards with 5 different suits. However similar poker hands rankings such as three-of-a-kind were present.
Europeans used to call the game 'poque' or 'pochen.' Poque is a French term which in turn evolved from the German term pochen which means to knock. From this it may emerge that the origins of poker could lie in Europe and Persia, however it truly blossomed in the United States.
How the popularity of poker grew
While America fueled poker playing, it further increased in popularity when American gambling shifted from the frontier towns to the riverboats. While gambling was tolerated on the South-western frontier during the early 1800's, people were less tolerant by the 1830's. As the tolerance reduced, few Western towns passed ordinances against gambling and many towns kicked out known gamblers. Then many gamblers took trade to steamboats navigating the Mississippi river. However carrying heavy equipment like the roulette wheel was difficult aboard the steamboats, a reason that caused popularity of the card game of poker to grow. As popularity of poker grew, the deck of 20 cards was replaced by the deck of 52 cards.
Additions to poker
The time of the American Civil War was also a period when many additions were made to poker. These included draw poker, stud poker (the five-card variant), and the straight. Further American developments such as the wild card was introduced in 1875, lowball and split-pot poker came up in the 1900s, and community card poker games emerged in 1925. The popularity of the game slowly spread to other countries, particularly Asia mainly due to influence of the U.S. military.
Evolution of Poker
The game of poker has evolved through time. Two centuries ago, the game was mainly played by cheats, outlaws, and knife-makers aboard riverboats. Today it is a celebrated 'sport' played worldwide by professionals. The status of the outlaw has been today replaced by celebrity status of the poker player. Also technology has taken things further and poker hands are no longer dealt by professional cheats who manipulate the deck but more often by software programs that connect millions of players across the globe.