Contrarily to the popular believe that the game of poker began in the 19th century in the US the roots of the game go much further in history and originate from the 10th century AD in China during the emperor Mu-Tsung login hoki222. Although at the time it was played with dominos, not cards, the principles, rules and strategies of the game were very similar to the modern day poker. It is believed that the emperor himself enjoyed playing this domino game with his wife and the court officials. This was the start of the poker history.
The game of what will be known as poker in the future travelled through times and continents to Egypt, India and Persia where it became known in the 12th-13th centuries as “Ganjifa”, which can be translated as “The Treasure Cards”. Such cards were made of very thin pieces of rare wood or even ivory and were only affordable to the very rich. The game reached Europe in the 16th century and became very popular first in Italy and Spain known as “Primero”, then in France named “Poque” and in Germany called “Pochen”. It was Europe that introduced suits to cards from the Italian tarot cards.
When French colonials moved to Canada at the start of the 18th century they took their “Poque” with them. It then travelled further south to the New Orleans and spread at first all around Louisiana where it was played in the famous floating saloons and than later all over the country. One of the earliest contemporary mentions of poker happened in J Hildreth book “The Dragoon Campaigns to the Rocky Mountains” in 1836. The game of the time seemed to be a 20 card deck variation played with Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks and Tens which were divided between the players to make the best hand, there were no communal cards.
Jonathan Green described poker at the as the “cheating game” in his book “An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling” and then later in his “Reformed Gambler” book. In 1857 Allen Dowling in his guide to New York City described 20 cards poker “one of the most dangerous pitfalls to be found in the city”. However during this time the 52 cards deck games started to increase their popularity and during the Wild West period and especially during the Civil War poker saloons could be found in every town in the US from the east to the west coast.
The middle of the 19th century saw introduction of new variation of poker games such as Stud, a cowboy invention from Ohio and Indiana, 5 Card Draw, which began during the Civil War period Although winning poker hands were not as we know them today. The 1864 edition of The American Hoyle gives the following winning hands rank “one pair, two pairs, straight sequence or rotation, triplets, flush, full house, fours.” It adds “When a straight and a flush come together in one hand, it outranks a full” but not fours.
Hi-Lo poker games, where a player can make a winning hand through getting wither the highest or the lowest hand began in 1903 and became most popular in the thirties and forties of the 20th century.
The beginning of the 20th century saw the birth of the Texas Holdem which became the Poker game for many years to come. Originated in Texas it stayed a mainly a local variation of poker unknown to the rest of the world until the 1960s. Poker legend Crandell Addington who first played it in 1959 said “They didn’t call it Texas hold ’em at the time, they just called it hold ’em.… I thought then that if it were to catch on, it would become the game. Draw poker, you bet only twice; hold ’em, you bet four times. That meant you could play strategically. This was more of a thinking man’s game.” And how right he was!
It took a few years for Texas Holdem to establish its grounds and become The Poker Game. For a few years Golden Nugget Casino was the only casino in the whole Las Vegas to offer Texas Holdem games. But those were the days before poker tournaments began. 1970 was the first year of World Series of Poker, WSOP, set up by Benny and Jack Binion in their Horseshoe Casino. Texas Holden entered the centre stage for the first time. Although the first World Series of Poker did not attract a huge number of players, only 6 players took part in the first Series, it was the figures like Doyle Brunson, Jonny Moss and especially Amarillo Slim, who won the bracelet in the third Series, that drew the world’s attention to Texas Holdem. From then on poker and especially Texas Holdem went from strength to strength.