Poker is enjoyed formally and informally by millions of players around the world. Played in casinos, at kitchen tables, and online, it is often thought of as an ancient game, but the truth is that it is quite young compared to Baccarat and Blackjack.
Some game historians thought that it is a modern version of an ancient Persian game, but that theory has since been debunked. Let’s find out more about its fascinating history.
The Game’s Early Days
The general consensus regarding the story of Poker is that it developed in the American south during the mid-1700s. By 1800, it had become a popular card game in the region through which the Mississippi River flows, and it seems that stud and straight Poker had already developed.
The standard game in which several players participated used a deck of 52 cards. However, games between two players followed the English tradition of reducing the deck to 20 cards.
In 1829, an English actor travelled to New Orleans and wrote that the game was played in the city. According to his description, four players used a 20-card deck for the game in which they bet on who had the strongest hand.
Changes In The Wild West
A more complete description of the early form of Poker was included in An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling, a book written by Jonathan H. Green and published in 1843. When the gold rush lured more and more people to the West, they took the game with them.
At that stage, the use of 52-card decks had become standard. It is also likely that the draw was added to the game in that decade, because it is mentioned in a game handbook published that year.
The Civil War And Beyond
The American Civil War was a time of upheaval for the country, but also was a period in which Poker saw significant developments. A number of new variations were created, such as the 5-card form of stud.
The wild card was added about a decade after the war. This was followed by the development of split-pot games sometime around 1900. Community card games such as Texas Hold’em were created in the early 1900s.
The Later 20th Century
The popularity of Poker increased during the 1970s, thanks to the establishing of the World Series of Poker, a tournament that still attracts scores of players, spectators, and bettors around the world. The burgeoning popularity of the game led to the publishing of several books about technique and strategy.
The 1980s saw the creation of Caribbean Stud Poker on the island of Aruba. The next major development happened in the mid-90s, when the first editions of online Poker were created.
The Third Millennium
In 2000, Stephen Au-Yeung created the Casino Hold’em variation. He patented the game, which later was introduced at online casino.
Within a few short years, mobile and online live dealer Poker were launched. If the game’s history has taught us anything, it is that the future is likely to bring new variations and even more innovation.