Friday, Aug. 9, 2013

A Brief History of Poker

The origin of poker is uncertain. What is clear is that its many origins have come about from a combination of different games from different countries. A popular belief is that poker was invented by the Chinese in 900 A.D. Others claim that is came from the Persian game “Nas”. Another belief is that it originated from the French game “Poque” which sounds similar to Poker and has similar rules. This article goes into more detail about the origins.

Poque seems to have had the strongest influence and basis for this belief is that the French ruled large parts of North American until the beginning of the 19th century, including New Orleans where the game was popular at the time. After France sold its French territory in 1803 in what was known as the Louisiana Purchase to fund its European Napoleonic wars, the game spread by riverboats throughout the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

The game also travelled by wagon and train around the rest of the country.  One of the earliest references of poker is by Jonathan H. Green in 1834. Green described the rules of a game in his writings that was played in the Mississippi riverboats that he referred to as “the cheating game”.

The game was outlawed both in Nevada and California during the early part of the 20th century. However, soon after the Attorney General of California allowed draw poker because it relied heavily upon skill and therefore was not based on luck. Imagine, we are still having the same arguments 100 years later. As a result of the decision, draw poker became to spread quickly and grow in popularity.

Poker has stood the test of time and has developed from a game played by drifters and riverboat passengers to people from all walks of life. It has become the most popular card game in the world and will be around for a long time to come in its different variations. Texas Hold ‘Em is by far the most popular variation but many analysts and players argue that Pot Limit Omaha is the game of the future.