Like many casino games, the history of Poker is somewhat of a mystery. It’s believed that the game descended from a 16th Persian card game called As Nas but the name is thought to come from the French Poque which in turn stems from the Spanish game Primera.
French colonists took their card game to North America and from there it spread up the Mississippi River and into the whole country. It quickly became the most popular game at Wild West bars and Civil War soldiers played it to pass the time. The first literature on the subject was written in 1834 when Jonathan H Green published An Exposure of Arts & Miseries of Gambling. Poker hit European shores in 1871 but it only became popular when American soldiers began routinely playing it in Europe during WWI.
The World Series of Poker started in America in the 1970s and this resulted in the rapid growth in popularity of Texas Hold’em – the game of choice for the tournament. During this decade the first Poker strategy books were published. This was a turning point in Poker history. Online Poker and televised Poker revolutionised the game because they provided a worldwide audience. Technology like the hole-card camera was another catalyst in Poker’s popularity because it gave people at home an unprecedented sneak peak at a player’s cards during live tournaments.
Today there is a thriving Poker community and many people play Poker online for fun and as a way to make money. Poker has become so integrated into our lives that it’s even crept into conversations with terms like “Poker Face” and “Wild Card”. There are hundreds of versions of Poker but the most widespread are Texas Hold’em, Five-Card Draw and Seven-Card Stud. Other variations include Omaha, Razz and Stud Poker.