The History and Development of Poker
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The History and Development of Poker

Pokers historical lineage has often been debated on; the true origins of poker are still shrouded in mystery. One of the earliest games said to have a resemblance to the modern day poker was a domino cards Chinese game, dating as far back as the 10th century. Twelfth and 13th century Egyptians played something similar to poker, with playing cards. The Persian game of As Nas, which incorporated hierarchical rankings and rounds of betting, has a striking similarity with poker. There were other gambling card games played out in ancient Persia, such as Ganjifa or Treasure Cards, back in the 16th century.

The French game Poque, and the German Pochen, were the popular gambling card games in the 17th and the 18th centuries. These games have said to develop from the Spanish Primero, which was a betting game in which three cards were dealt to players. All these games used bluffing, or betting considerably high stakes while holding poor card ranks, in a bid to deceive opponents. Some believe that Primero, the 16th century Spanish game was the mother of poker. In fact, the earliest recorded versions of the game, in the year 1526, relate directly to contemporary versions of poker today. The French took Poque, which became their national game in the 18th century, with them to the new colonies. The highly popular game spread to the new world of Canada, and from there to the United States brought in by French Canadian settlers in New Orleans, to evolve into its modern day avatar.

Poker began its journey from the Mississippi boats, where it was played with enthusiasm by anglers and sailors, to reach the mainstream card tables of the country. The game of poker, nicknamed the cheating game began to overshadow some of the most popular gambling games of that period, such as the 3 card monte. Gamblers began playing this new game as they found it more challenging and more honest, when compared to the crude gambling games prevalent then. When Jonathan H Green began to formally record and document the new game in his book An Exposure to the Arts and Miseries of Gambling. This was a turning point in the history of the cheating game; when it was actually brought to the notice by the people of the world.

The Wild West saw numerous poker salons spreading quickly across the land. The poker theme has been explored by countless Hollywood Western movies, where you get a fictional rendition of what a Wild West poker game was actually like. Poker was also the number one game with the soldiers of the Civil War, who played it with their European counterparts. One influence that the European style of play had over the now domestic version of poker was the use of joker as a wild card.

There have been countless variations of a single version of poker, with varied rules and game outcomes. However, some of the most popular versions of poker that dominate the poker tables around the world today are the 5 Card Draw, 7 Card Stud, and the Texas Holdem (whose No Limit version is by far the most popular) poker games. Other variations include Omaha Holdem, Manila, Draw Poker, and Razz. Today professional players can enter the World Series of Poker and other international contests to win serious money while displaying their poker talents.
May 3, 2008, 6:12 am

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