Poker History

Have you ever wondered where the phrases "pass the buck, poker face, wild card, call one's bluff, stack up, beats me, and cash in" come from? Where else but from one of the most popular card games in town: poker. The origin of the name poker, up to this day, is still highly debated. Some say the word poker was derived from the word 'poque' which means 'trace blow'. Others contend that it came from the German 'pochen', which means 'to knock'.

In game play, poker closely resembles the Persian game of 'as nas' and it is said that Persian sailors taught French dwellers in New Orleans how to play the game. Regardless of these contentions it is commonly believed that poker share the same ancestry with the game of primero and the French brelan.

It has been reported that poker has been played in New Orleans in 1829 with only 20 cards in one deck and with four players wagering on which of them had the best hand. Jonathan H. Green, in his book An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling, reported that poker playing spread to the rest of the United Stated through the Mississippi riverboats where gambling and card games were a pastime.

After the said period, the game became widely known and poker players began to use the English deck which has 52 cards. This paved the way to the introduction of the flush. The American Civil War marked the birth of different additions to poker playing. This included 'wild card' around 1875, 'split-pot poker' around 1900, and the 'community card poker' games around 1925. It is also said that poker games spread to Asia because they were introduced by the American military.

The year 1970 marked the beginning of the World Series of Poker, a tournament for poker playing. This started the popularity of modern poker tournaments. It was also about this time that poker strategy books came out such as The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky, Super System by Doyle Brunson and The Book of Tells by Mike Caro to mention a few.

With the introduction of computers, internet poker games proliferated and increased its followings. Media coverage and press exposure helped a lot in bringing poker to what it is now.

Poker has come a long way from its early beginnings and stands to be one of the world's most loved card games and pastime.