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Poker history digest

Poker history digest
The historians believe that the fundamentals of this paramount casino table game were evident as long as a Millennium ago, in the social life of people of several cultures on different continents. Read our article further and familiarize yourself with the history of Poker.

  • 10th-century China. It is alleged that some rulers, and their families, were marking some special holidays with a game that vaguely corresponded to the Poker game, but utilizing tiles and leaves, rather than real cards.
  • Poker like card games were spreading in India and Persia during the 16th century. The closest to a Poker product proclaimed as his predecessor was the Persian card game As Nas. This game was played like the present-day 5 card stud with 25 cards and 5 different suits, or in some variations with 20 cards, 4 suits and so, the whole deck is being dealt out. Despite some deviations similar to Poker hands with a contemporary structure like 3OAK were introduced, and naturally, the best hand was winning.
  • Poker in 17th and 18th century
    During the next 2 centuries - 17th and 18th, spin-offs of the 3-card As Nas game sprang off, and drifted further to some regions of Europe after Middle Eastern traders began steady dealings with French, Italian and British merchants.
  • Poque (in France), Primero (in Italy) Pochen (in Germany), Brag (in England) were the European variants, adopting the ancient Persian game elements. They all featured cards, dealt between few players and involved betting and bluffing to some extent. In the English-speaking versions, the term ante was already heralded as an important part of the game, along with the reception of the 5 card gameplay with 52 card deck, i.e. Poker's glossary/principles gradually crystallized.
  • The actual thriving of Poker, however, took place in America, where the gambling/betting part of the activity replaced the recreational usage reasons once and for all.
  • Poker in the old days
    After the period of initial acceptance (the 1800s-1820s) in several frontier states in the South-West (Arizona, New Mexico, California, Colorado), followed by the prohibition regulations and bouncing the gamblers out of the region, the Poker scene shifted to the Mississippi River gambling steamboats. From Minneapolis, down to St Louis, Memphis, and finally to New Orleans.
  • From the floating saloons to the cargo riverboats via the great Mississippi waterway, the Poker unfurled throughout the entire country. Even during the Civil War (1861-65), to fill the long hours between marches and clashes, soldiers on both sides - the Union and the Confederation often played Poker (along with 21, and keno), for fun and for money, as cards were the easiest to hold and carry from camp to camp.
  • By the 1870s and 1880s, Poker affirmed itself as the central game not only of the Wild West saloons but also at all betting halls at the new important US settlements. By this time were introduced several additions/variations of the game: Draw Poker, Stud Poker (the 5 card variant), and Straight Poker.
  • Later the Americans cultivated additions such as the wild card (in 1875), lowball, and split-pot poker (in 1900), and finally, the community card made an appearance in the Poker games around 1910-20.
  • So, the game was immensely important for the Americans, and they were trying to commit the rest of the world too. That’s why seems ironic that during WW I, American soldiers were showing the ropes of the game to the Europeans (who brought it to America in the first place), eager to excite them and turn them into passionate players as well. It seems that Poker made a full circle landing back at the doormats of the European gambling houses.

Last stage of the Poker evolution

The game of poker nowadays is remarkably transformed. In the dawn of the 19th century, Poker was played by low-life scoundrels, being their side source of income. Today many players made it their primary income generator, participating as professionals at tournaments and other events.

The regular Poker player is reinstated from status outlaw (on the Mississippi riverboat) to the celebrity status of the Poker star (since the WSP -World Series of Poker) in the 1970s. The technology advance and the online casino advent blasted off the Poker development even higher, as hands were no longer dealt by cunning double-dealers but by a software algorithm, on a platform that connects myriad players around the world.

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Written by Kamen Valev
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