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The History of Poker

The origin of Poker is shrowded in mystery, there are many possible birthplaces are claimed for the game.

The most popular belief is that it was invented by the Chinese 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.

Another clain is that 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.

The French game "poque" is also claimed to be the source of Poker and indeed the French who settled New Orleans around 1480 played Poque, a card game involving bluffing and betting. This was said to be the first game to use of a deck consisting of spades, diamonds, clubs, and hearts.

Fragments of cards have been tentatively dated to 12th or 13th century in Egypt.

Other suggest that modern cards originated from the Indian card game of Ganjifa.

Even the origins of the word Poker are contentious. Many dictionaries indicated that it was derived from and eighteenth century French game, poque. There are also many dictionaries that make reference to a German game known as pochspiel. Others say it may have originated from the Hindu word, pukka.

The earliest references to poker were allegedly made by Jonathan Green way back in 1834. His writings mentioned the rules of a game he referred to as the "cheating game." A card game which was being played in riverboats all along the Mississippi River during this time. After discovering that he had assumedly made the first references to the game he chose to call it poker.

It appears that Poker traveled 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.

In 1910, Nevada made it a felony to run a betting game. The Attorney General of California declared that draw poker 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.

Through all the varied theories on the origin of Poker, one thing comes shining through. This is a game which has stood the test of time and becomes more rich and full with each generation.

It is now widely accepted that contemporary poker was a derivative from many different games.

The game of video poker was made possible by of the invention of the computer chip, thus its origins can be traced back to the mid 1970's. The actual term "video poker" is used to refer to the many variations of the original poker game.

Video poker is a combination of slot machines and the normal five-card draw poker game. The obvious differences are that video poker is played against a machine apposed to humans. The primary goals are still the same - to achieve the certain hands indicated on the payout table for the particular game you are playing. Each game may have unique rules and payoffs, but all are played in a comparable manner based on the original poker game.

So as you can see from the text above there are many possible sources for the game so until someone can provide definative evidence the debate is likely to continue, but as long as people get pleasure and profit from poker it will continue to thrive and evolve.

Visit our Poker Hands, Poker Odds and Poker Tips pages for advice that should help you improve your game and our Poker Rules page and Poker Versions for some of the many variants of the game.


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