Poker has always been a popular card game when it comes to playing for either fun or money. More recently the gaming world has seen a massive upsurge in the popularity of this card game due to tournaments played around the world.
One of the most famous poker events is The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Tournament, held annually at Las Vegas, online, and at other venues around the world.
Let’s dig into a little history on the game of poker and see just how it’s evolved into the worldwide phenomenon it is today.
No one knows for sure just when and where the card game of poker began, although it’s thought to have its origins in 16th century Persia, where a similar game was called As Nas.
Persian sailors visiting New Orleans brought the game to American shores soon after. There it was introduced to French settlers, with the version of poker being very similar to the modern-day 5 Card Stud.
The French term for the game was Poque, and the game was really embraced in Americans. “Poker” is likely the English language version of the French name “Poque”.
Poker Grows In Popularity
Just a few centuries ago, poker was dominated by cheats and outlaws. America really fuelled the poker rage, and its popularity quickly spread when the game emerged from the frontier towns and onto riverboats.
Many towns banned gambling, so to get around these bans, games were played on board steamboats on the Mississippi River. Poker was just one of a number of gambling games played on riverboats, with roulette also being popular. Being easier to set up, poker soon dominated the riverboat gambling scene, and the deck was eventually increased to 52 cards.
Poker Continues To Evolve
During the American Civil War, the game of poker really started to evolve. Additions were made to the game, including things like:
- Stud Poker (5 card variant)
- Draw Poker
- The “Straight”
- And more…
1875 saw the introduction of the wild card, while in the 1900s split-pot and lowball poker joined the fray.
Poker Becomes Widely Accepted
In the 1800s and 1900s, poker moved away from cheats and outlaws and became a more widely embraced card game by the greater community. It was still played as a gambling game, but now it was also being embraced for recreation as well, with community poker games emerging in 1925.
The popularity of poker spread to other countries and became just as popular around the world as it was in America.
Poker In the Modern Day
Poker has become one of the world’s most widespread recreational games, as well as exploding onto the gambling scene with professional poker tournaments being played in American casinos and other parts of the world.
This has given rise to the ever-popular World Series of Poker Tournament, the most popular and prestigious poker event in the world. The tournament has become a worldwide circuit, attracting the very best players and a global television audience.