Poker History

a popular theory concludes that poker originated in China around 900 A.D...

Poker history is not well defined as there is no written record of its beginnings. However, the popularity of poker is rock solid. And while the history of poker is clearly unknown, there are many unproven theories. The origin of the name of the game is likewise debatable. Currently, tradition determines the rules and players pick their games.

 Many Possible Origins of Poker

The origins of poker amount to a guessing game. Some people think poker originated in Persia, as an offshoot of the card game As-Nas in the 17th Century. As-Nas was a 5-person game played with a deck containing 25 cards and 5 suits. This theory capitalizes on the possibility that New Orleans settlers in America received the game from Persian sailors.

A more widely-believed theory concludes that poker originated in China around 900 A.D. Yet another school of thought places the history of poker in India, possibly originating from the card game Ganjifa.

Other historians credit France as the country of poker’s beginnings. Poque, the French card game, has many similarities to poker. Both games concern betting and bluffing.

Poque was the first card game that used a deck containing spades, clubs, diamonds and hearts. A gentleman by the name of Jonathan Green made the first written record of poker, calling it the cheating game. In 1834, Green noted the rules of a game that was played on Mississippi River boats.

What's in a Name?

There are as many theories involving the name “poker”, as there are concerning the origins of the game. The name is thought to have originated in France: Poque; Germany: Pochspiel; India, from the Hindu word Pukka; or pickpocket slang: poke. There are also those who believe that the name poker came from the word poke, as in the hocus-pocus of magicians.

The Evolution of Poker

The rules of poker are traditional, rather than organizationally formed. The 3 types of poker are determined by the betting limit – fixed limit, no limit and pot limit. There are several poker variations. The standard poker game is 5-card draw or stud. Texas Hold’em is the most-played poker game in America. Other poker games include 7-card stud, Manila, Omaha, Razz, Stud Poker, and Draw Poker. Any way you cut it, poker is arguably the most popular card game in the world.