History of Poker Game Guide

Early Poker History


Early Poker History The Forerunners of Poker

Whether poker dates back to the 10th century or the 15th century, it is certainly a popular card game that has undergone many developments in its history.

The Origins of Poker

There is much debate over the origins of poker and how far back the game can be traced. There were games as far back as the tenth century that used a combination of ranked cards and bluffing. In fact, the Emperor of China around 969AD was said to have played a domino type game with his wife. Egyptians in the 12th and 13th century are known to have played gambling type games using playing cards of some sort. In the 15th century, a German game known as Pochspiel incorporated betting and bluffing, along with hand rankings. In the 16th century, the Persians played "Ganjifa" or "Treasure Cards" for a number of betting games. "As Nas" was another Persian game which from descriptions found from the 1890s onward, appears to closely resemble poker. The English game of Brag (or Bragg) which was derived from the French game of Brelan also made use of bluffing.

Other theories of the origins of poker argue that poker is associated more with the playing cards than with the concept of bluffing and its origins therefore cannot date back further than the first playing cards. Playing cards may have existed in Egypt in the 12th and 13th century, but they are only positively attested to in 13th century China.

Primero "Poker's Mother"

In the 16th century, in Spain, a game existed that closely resembled modern day poker and has, in fact, been referred to as "poker's mother." It dates back to 1526. Three cards were dealt to each player and they had to bluff or bet high stakes while they were hold low-ranking cards in order to mislead their opponents. From Primero, a French game named "Poque" and a German game named "Pochen" developed and these were popular during the 17th and 18th century.

The Spread of Poker to the New World

French colonials brought the game of Poque to the new world when they settled in Canada. These French-Canadians then founded New Orleans and the game spread further from Louisiana up the Mississippi. One of the first references to the game of poker was made by Jonathan H. Green in his book "An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling" in 1834. In his book, he referred to the game as "The Cheating Game." The US army is believed to have spread the game to Asia.

Poker in American History

Just about every town in the Wild West was home to a saloon and in each of those saloons a poker table could be found. During the Civil War, poker was a favorite game among soldiers. From this time, the game of poker developed and new variations were created. The flush was added to the game soon after it spread up the Mississippi. By 1850, the draw was added and during the Civil War, stud poker and the straight were introduced. In 1875, when the joker was introduced as a wild card, the game of poker branched further away from its European ancestors. Low-ball and split-card poker made an appearance around the 1900s and community card poker games were popular from around 1925.

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