Origins of Poker
Poker has experienced some remarkable growth in this decade. It has become a part of popular culture. The annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas draws thousands of entrants, including many celebrities. The sport has even taken off on television. It isn’t too hard to find some kind of poker tournament to enjoy, whether its the World Series event or a more intimate tourney featuring some of the superstars of the game.
Of course, millions play the game online or at casinos throughout the world. The popular game that is enjoyed today had a foundation that arguably dates all the way back to the 10th century.
The evolution of the game
There is some belief that a game similar to poker was first played by the Chinese in the second half of the 10th century. Another game with some of the elements of poker has been traced back to Germany in the 15th century. In the following century, card games were played in Spain and Persia with aspects of modern day poker. The Spanish game Primero is generally regarded as the real forerunner of modern day poker.
While these early games had some of the basics of poker, the development of the modern game really began in the early 19th century when the betting aspects of modern day poker were introduced. French colonials introduced poker style games in the New Orleans and Mississippi River regions over the first two decades of the 1800s. The games were played in gambling halls and riverboats in the area. These early versions were played with a 20-card deck that featured tens, jacks, queens, kings and aces. In the 1830s, poker style games using a 52-card deck began to be played.
Further growth during Civil War period
The development of poker continued in the 1860s and the latter half of the 19th century. The game was commonly played by the soldiers of both armies during the Civil War. It was during this time that stud poker was introduced. Also, the straight became an element of poker during this period. Poker also became very popular in saloons across the Wild West in the last two decades of the 19th century.
The popularity swing of various poker games
With many different variations, poker has seen a few specific games stand out over periods of time as part of the evolution process of the game. The first poker game that dominated was 5 Card Draw. This style of poker was generally viewed as the most popular poker game from the Civil War era through the 1930s. Shortly before World War II, the poker community began to embrace 7 Card Stud poker. This form of poker would lead the way until the early 1970s. Then, Texas Holdem poker became the trendy game of choice. The game was used as the title game for the initial World Series of Poker in 1970. Today, Texas Holdem is widely viewed as the most popular poker game in the world.