The History of Poker

The Early Years of Poker

The history of poker has been much debated, but poker is
thought to derive from a number of European games including the English game,
Brag, which involved bluffing.

An English actor told of an early form of poker being played
in New Orleans in 1829, and the game spread from the city to other states along
the Mississippi River, as well as westwards with the gold rush.

The early forms of poker used 20-card decks, but soon the
52-card English deck was adopted, allowing for the flush.

During the American Civil War, draw poker and five-card stud poker came onto the
scene, while the straight was
added to the list of possible hands.

Community card
poker games
such as Hold’em – currently the most popular form of poker –
only came about in 1925.

Rising Popularity of Poker

In the years after Benny
Binion
created the World Series of
Poker
in 1970, modern tournament play enjoyed a dramatic increase in
popularity, changing the course of the history of poker.

In the late 1970s, books such as World Series of Poker
champion Doyle Brunson’s
Super/System provided the general public with access to the know-how and
strategies of the professionals.

Community card poker games quickly won over the poker fraternity
with their exciting game play when they were introduced in Californian casinos
in 1987. Games such as Texas
Hold’em
were certainly a factor in the poker revolution.

The Online
Poker Revolution

Poker really took
off at the turn of the 21st Century. This marked a watershed in the
history of poker; the game would never be the same again.

Online poker
revolutionised the game by offering normal people the chance to qualify for professional tournaments.

Online qualifier Chris Moneymaker’s shock
victory at the 2003 World Series of Poker Main
Event
gave millions of part-time players hope of success and did wonders
for the game’s popularity.

The ever-younger
champions emerging at major tournaments, such as 19-year-old World Series of Poker Europe
champion Annette Obrestad, can
only help to increase poker’s popularity!

The invention of
the hole-card camera turned poker into an exciting and marketable spectator
sport, by allowing television
viewers to see the cards held by each player.

Today, approximately 80 million people play poker regularly,
making it the world’s most popular game, while according to Forbes.com the
online gambling industry is worth over $12 billion annually.