origin of Poker is
widely disputed. There are as many possible birthplaces
as there are variations of the game. The most popular
belief is that the Chinese invented it around 900 A.D.,
possibly derived from the Chinese dominoes. On New
Year's Eve, 969, the Emperor Mu-tsung is reported to
have played "domino cards" with his wife.
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 1680 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.
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. We can
see that narrowing down the exact origin becomes as
difficult as pulling a royal straight flush.
history of Poker in
the United States has a bit more consistency. Poker travelled from
New Orleans by steamboat up the Mississippi and Ohio
rivers. The game then spread via wagon and train.
Modifications such as stud poker, the draw, and the
straight became popular, during the Civil War. European
influence of poker ended when the joker was introduced
as a wild card in 1875.
1910, Nevada made it a felony to run a betting game. The
Attorney General of California declared that draw
was based upon skill and therefore the antigambling laws
could not stop it. But Stud
Poker was illegal, as it was based solely on
chance. With this decision, draw Poker
games developed and grew. This caused Nevada to reverse
itself in 1931 and legalize Casino gambling.
all the varied theories on the origin of
Poker, one thing comes
shining through. This is a game that has stood the test
of time and becomes more rich and full with each
generation. That is the joy of "Dealer's Choice" Poker.
Each person who makes his or her own variation adds
another piece to the vast and fascinating
History of Poker.
seem to be differences of opinion on the origin of
Moreover, there seems to be no clear or direct early
ancestor of the game. It is more likely that
its present day form from elements of many different
games. The consensus is that because of its basic
principle, its birth is a very old one.
H. Green makes one of the earliest written references to
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
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,
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
seemed more a legitimate game, and they came back time
and time again. It would certainly appear, then, that
the cardsharps developed
origin of the word Poker is also well debated. Most of
the dictionaries and game historians say that it comes
from an eighteenth-century French game, poque. However,
there are other references to pochspiel, which is a
German game. In pochspiel, there is an element of
bluffing, where players would indicate whether they
wanted to pass or open by rapping on the table and
saying, "Ich Poche!" Some say it may even have derived
come the Hindu word, pukka.
another possible explanation for the word
is that it came from a version of an underworld slang
word, "poke," a term used by pickpockets. Cardsharps who
used the 20-card cheating game to relieve a sucker from
his poke may have used that word among themselves,
adding an r to make it
The thought was that if the sharps used the word
in front of their victims, those wise to the underworld
not surmise the change.
are those who also believe that "poke" probably came
from "hocus-pocus", a term widely used by magicians. The
game of Poker
later evolved to include 32 cards, and eventually the
modern day deck of 52, not counting the two Jokers.
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
could be found
in just about every town from coast to coast.
gambling laws carefully
and the Wild West saloons have given way to Casinos and
Card rooms, but
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.
you compare the prizes of major sporting events around
the world, you will find that the monetary outcome of
any given event in
would stack up. Poker
today is one of the fastest growing, but hardly
recognized sporting events. The pinnacle of the poker
The World Series of Poker,
attracts players from all over the world every year to
compete for money and titles as the
Top Poker players.
will always be around and will continue to grow and
flourish like so many other past times. There will
always be a game to play, money to be won, and crowns to