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The History of Poker

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  • The origin of the game of poker has long been a mystery, but history shows that it dates back to nearly a thousand years ago. Moving from country to country, some historians believe the game was first played in the 10th century by a Chinese emperor, while others are of the belief that it originated from the Persian card game ‘As Nas,’ in the 16th century.

    The first actual recording of the game occurred in 1377 when it was played by a Swiss monk named John of Rheinfelden. John used a deck of 52 cards and each card ranged from a value of 1 – 10. This was the first card game ever recorded which used all 52 cards, while the first ever known card game took place in China during 950.

    But how did this turn into the game of poker? Let’s find out!

    The History of the Game

    It was known that during the 17th century, France had a similar game called ‘Poque’ and Germany had an equivalent called ‘Pochen’. Both were based on the 16th-century Spanish game ‘Primero’, which featured three cards dealt and players bluffing to win the game. This was then adapted when French colonists brought it to North America in 1803 and elements of the game evolved to the one we know today.

    Although the game had a bad reputation during the 1800s, as the rules changed depending on where you were playing it, it did finally become standardised. Originally cheating was a common problem and with no set of guidelines players could do what they wanted. However, when the game finally crossed the waters to America and was played in English, a standard game began to form.  

    Played in the US by sailors who were transporting goods by the river, they taught it to the people they met along the way helping it quickly spread across the country. Now played from the north to the south, the game grew in recognition and soldiers played it during both the Civil War and World War I.

    After the game grew in popularity, Wild West saloons realised that it was becoming a form of entertainment and introduced it to their premises in the 1870s and 1880s. This later caught the attention of Queen Victoria and when she heard about the game asked to be told the rules so that it could be played in Europe.

    Modern Poker

    By the 1900s the game had become world famous and was recognised as a game of skill. The problem was that it was gambling and in the early 1910s was made illegal in the state of Nevada. Unable to stop people from playing the game it was later legalised and the game started to spread again.

    Poker moved into the casinos and over time different varieties of the game formed. Developed to be enjoyed by the masses, five-card draw, seven-card stud and Texas Hold’em, were introduced and became even more famous through the World Series of Poker Tournament.

    Texas Hold’em is probably the most well-known modern version of poker and as the name suggests started out in Texas. How the game was invented is unknown, but it was played in Texas until 1967, before it was introduced to Las Vegas. Played in only one casino for a few years, it didn’t receive much attention until a tournament was held in 1969. This sparked enthusiasm from players and started the games huge rise in popularity.  

    Shortly after the World Series of Poker was formed, Texas Hold’em was brought in as one of the main games. Although the amount of entrants was small at first, over the years the tournament grew and now thousands of people compete in the main event. This is how Texas Hold’em became a house hold game and a part of the poker family.

    Online Offering

    Around the 1990s poker changed again and the first real money version of online poker debuted on 1st January 1998 by Planet Poker. With Mike Caro endorsing the site, it quickly became popular and led to other sites following its lead. Including Paradise Poker and Planet Poker Outage, the early 2000’s was filled with major changes in the poker community and by the mid-2000s the online poker world had expanded to thousands of sites

    Influenced by hugely publicised wins, poker suddenly had more players than ever before and offered easy access. As mobile phones and portable devices became more common, poker used this to its advantage and provided the game to anyone anywhere.

    If you want to see what all the fuss is about why not head over to https://poker.paddypower.com/ to see how the game has evolved from the first recorded game. You could compare it to the basic version that has managed to stand the test of time and let us know which type of poker is your favourite.

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