Poker is one of the world’s most popular card games. The game, as we know it today, came into existence in the early 19th century. However, it is believed that the game of poker is a version of several different games developed over ten centuries.
One of the first varient of poker is associated with the Chinese domino cards invented prior 969 A.D. The Indian card game „Ganjifa“ or „Treasure Cards“ is also considered to be an antecedent of poker. 96 painted playing cards were used for various betting games. Another theory claims that poker came from Spain, from the 16th century card game called “Primero” which dates back from 1526. It involved three cards being dealt to each player. Bluffing to trick other players was the essential part of the game. From the latter, two games developed and became very popular in the 17th and 18th century – „Pochen“ in Germany (meaning „to bluff“) and „Poque“ in France which became a national card game. Furthermore, around 1700, the card game of „Brag“ was played in England and the main aspects of it were betting and bluffing.
At the beggining of the 18th century, the French colonials spread „Poque“ to the new world, initially to Canada and, afterwords, to the United States, from the state of Louisiana up the Mississippi river and eventually all over the country.
One of the earliest known references to poker is given by Johnathan H. Green in his book 'An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling' in 1834 when he mentions rules to the “Cheating Game“. The game was played with the modern 52 card deck that included 5 cards for each player; all the cards were dealt, and the players bet on who had the best five-card combination. The new game’s rules were considered to be more challenging and honest than Poque’s rigged 3 card rules. Poker was born.
The game became so popular that every wild west saloon had at least one poker table. During the American Civil War, the game was widely played amongst the soldiers of both armies.
Until 1920's, poker was considered a gambling game of men; however, since then, its popularity has been extended to both sexes and all levels of society.
Numerous varieties of poker have evolved over the past two centuries. Today, the most popular and the most frequently played poker game in the world is Texas Hold’em. While there is no clear evidence about the invention of the game, the story goes that its birth place is Robstone, Texas, dating the game to the early 1900’s. Texas Hold’em was introduced to Las Vegas in 1967 and it gained popularity in 1970 with the World Series of Poker, a tournament which featured several games including Texas Hold’em. Not just the popularity, but also the manner in which the game can be played has evolved too. With modern technological innovations, today it is possible to play Texas Hold’em directly on the Internet enabling people to gamble from their own living rooms.