History of Poker

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History of Poker

"If, after the first twenty minutes, you don't know who the sucker at the table is, it's you." ~Author Unknown.

Poker- a " cheating game" first mentioned as being a card-game played on the Mississippi riverboats , by Jonathan H. Green in 1834, (however two slightly later publications showed it had well been in use by 1829 ) poker was already recognized as a game in which cardsharps would routinely take advantage of their unsuspecting novice victims and relieve them of their money in a variety of ways.

It appears that Poker sprung up from a certain discontent of people taken by the then popular Three -Card Monte- who figured that the new 20 card game was a more legit one. Poker was then played with 20 cards using the tens, the Jacks , Kings, Queens and aces. Each player was dealt five cards and it could be played by two to four people.

By the time Jonathan H. Green first wrote about it, it had already surpassed the Three-card Monte in popularity . He soon realized that his account was the first ever of this game, and he was the first one who recordedly called it " Poker".

The origin of this word is subject to debates to this very day. Some say it comes from the French " poque" an 18 century game, other debate it is more likely to originate from the German "Pochspiel" - also a game involving an element of bluffing - or even the hindu word " pukka".

Yet another - more down-to- earth, or less scientific approach suggests that the word might have been invented by the very cardsharps who used the game to relieve suckers of their poke. The idea was that adding an " r" at the end of the word would fool even those familiar with the underworld slang. The unsuspecting victim wasn't supposed to understand what the " seasoned Vets " were communicating among each-other.

The game of poker went through a natural evolution process over the years first moving from the original 20 cards to 32, and then to 52, -today's poker deck. The change was possibly made to accommodate more players, and ultimately, to make sure there were enough cards for the draw. This change also made a significant contribution to poker becoming more of a game of skill than one of chance.

During America's Wild West era, there was hardly a saloon in any town or village that would lack the poker table. It was then that the Draw Poker version appeared, nowadays being the most widely spread video-poker genre. It is first mentioned in 1850 in Bohn's New Handbook of Games.

You get dealt five cards for starters , then you get to choose a few you want to hold on to and exchange the others in hope of getting a better five -card hand.

Poker came a long way from a back-room " sucker-trap" game in the past to partly recognized sporting event in the present. The amount of money circulated by poker tournaments yearly rivals that of any leading edge sports.

Nowadays different tournaments are held on an almost weekly basis, and it's quite safe to say Poker has become a global phenomenon.

There's still a lot of debate surrounding poker on whether it is more of a game of skill, thus eligible for being considered a legitimate sport, or more of a game of luck - which requires no more than blind chance to master.

Having gone through all the above, we must specify that regardless of all the evidence presented, the exact origin of poker, or any other classic game for that matter cannot possibly be pinpointed with accuracy. The reason is that people who first started using it never imagined it would someday be a classic, and the set of rules it is made up of ,probably didn't originate from one single person.

What this present article is aiming for is to get players better acquainted with the roots of the game of poker by painting an approximate history of it based on available evidence.


Written by Honest Casinos

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