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History Of Poker

What is the history of Poker? What are its origins? Where did Poker come from? Who invented it? Here is the history of Poker.

Poker History

Table of Contents


What are the basic rules of Poker?

Although there are different versions of poker, the most common is Texas holdem. Texas holdem involves a maximum of 10 players with a stack of 52 cards. The cards have different suits, which are the emblems on the cards. These include diamonds, hearts, clubs, and spades. The diamonds and hearts are red while clubs and spades are black. Each suit has cards ranging from numbers two through ten, and the face cards of jack, queen, king and ace.

Knowing the order of the cards is one thing, but you must also know how to the hands, or your card sets, are ranked. Every player gets two cards and five community cards are placed in the middle. Your cards and the community ones make up your hand. Below are the 10 poker hand rankings in order from highest to lowest.

  • Royal Flush: When you get A, K, Q, J, 10 in the same suit.
  • Straight Flush: Any connecting cards (ex: 1 through 5) in the same suit.
  • Four-of-a-kind: Four cards of the same ranking, but not in the same suit (ex: A, A, A, A, 5).
  • Full House: A pair and a three of a kind (ex: 5, 5, Q, Q, Q).
  • Flush: Any five cards in the same suit but not in order.
  • Straight: Five cards in numerical order but different suits.
  • Three-of-a-kind: Three cards that have the same rank (ex: A, A, A, 2, 5).
  • 2 Pair: One pair of cards with the same rank, and another pair with a different rank (ex: 7, 7, 10, 10, A).
  • One pair: One pair of cards with the same rank (ex: 3, 3, Q, A, 5).
  • High Card: This hand is made of any five cards, but so you gain leverage with the highest ranking card (ex: A, Q, 6, 5, 10).

Now that you know the order of the cards and how the hands rank, it is time to get situated at the table.

Once seated at the table, you will notice that everybody starts with the same amount of chips. These chips are used to bet or raise during the game. After the dealer is established, two mandatory bets needed: the small blind and the big blind. The small blind is usually the person to the left of the dealer, and the person to the left of the small blind is the big blind and this bet is double the amount of the small one. The amounts are usually established before the game starts.

Once everybody places their mandatory bets, the dealer gives two cards to every player, and the preflop begins. The preflop is a stage in poker where everybody around the table either call (match the bet of the big blind), raise (put in an equal or additional amount to the pot), or fold (get rid of their cards so they do not lose money).

Then the flop stage begins. This is where the dealer pulls out three community cards from the deck. Then it is up to the players to see where their cards currently rank, so they can either check (pass the action), call (match the bet if someone already has bet), raise, or fold. This is all done clockwise from the dealer.

After the flop is the turn stage. Another community card is drawn, now making the total four, and another round of betting occurs.

The river stage is when the final community card is placed, and players now see what five card hand they can make out of what they have, if they have made it that far.

Finally, the showdown occurs. After the river stage, players show their cards, and the highest ranking hand wins the pot, or the money in the middle of the table. Then, another round starts.

There are two ways to win at poker. You can either bluff by betting or raising and making your opponent fold, or you can have the best hand in the showdown stage.

Poker Basics

Which Country Started Poker?

Historians have different facts about where poker actually originated, some say that the 10th century Chinese game of Mahjong was the earliest ancestor of poker. A lot of evidence also points towards the Persian game of As Nas which was developed in the 16th century. Eventually, the game of primero was developed in Spain. This had major influences on the French game of poque, and the German game of pochen.

In 1803, Thomas Jefferson purchased the port of New Orleans and other land from France because Napoleon needed money for the wars that were occuring in Europe. This would be called the Louisiana Purchase and is the reason why poker began to spread in American culture. In 1834, the deck was changed from 20 cards to 52 and from that moment on poker was revolutionized.

Who Invented Poker?

No one really knows who invented modern poker, but it is known amongst historians that it was developed in New Orleans in the 1800s. The new 52 card game was spread all through the United States as traders and merchants were traveling along the Mississippi River and played it in other towns. Also, poker was played by both rebel and union forces during their downtime in the Civil War.

Different variations of the game such as stud poker. This was a five card game that was very popular during the gold rush in 1849, and it eventually turned into a seven card game. Eventually, Texas holdem, the most popular form of poker, would be introduced and this allowed up to 10 people to play.

When was Poker Established?

At first poker was seen as a lawless game because of the violence it brought. The gambling often attracted criminals and hustlers of the wild west. Gambling was already very controversial in the United States, but not until the World Series of Poker was established in 1970. It was originally owned by Benny Binion and competitions were held in the Binion's Horseshoe Casino. They held yearly high stakes competitions and one of the first champions was Johnny Moss. In 1973, three years after its founding, the World Series of Poker was televised for the first time on CBS. This officially marked poker as an established sport.

Poker became popular around the time that the World Series of Poker was founded. After the World Series was televised for the first time in 1973, it quickly began to rise in popularity throughout the United States. Larger prize money also came with the rise in popularity. In 1982, all events awarded $2.6 million to the first place winners.

The sport also grew exponentially when the company was bought by Harrah's Entertainment in 2004, and by 2006, there were 45 tournaments and $100 million in prize money was won.

Although poker is extremely popular in the United States, particularly Las Vegas, it has had a global impact, so people from all over the world participate in the sport. Here are some of the most popular countries that participate in poker.

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Brazil
  • Czech Republic
  • Mexico
  • Holland
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Uruguay
  • Morocco
  • France
  • Spain

Poker History Key Facts and Timeline

Poker is believed to have been started by a Chinese emperor in the 10th century with the development of the game called Mahjong.

Persians eventually developed their own game called As Nas in the 16th century, and the Spanish called their game primero.

Primero is believed to have a direct influence on the French and German games of poque and pochen.

Eventually, poque made its way to the United States because of the Louisiana Purchase and was spread by merchants along the Mississippi River.

Poker was deemed a lawless sport by the public and was not really an established sport until the World Series of Poker began holding competitions in 1970. From there, popularity skyrocketed and eventually with the emergence of technology in the 2000s, people could play poker online.

Key Facts:

  • Texas holdem is the most popular variation of poker
  • Modern poker is played with a 52 deck card
  • The cards are separated by suits and rankings of numbers and face cards (King, Queen, Jack, Ace)
  • You have to be 21 years old to play poker in most states


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