The origins of the most popular card game in the world – poker, are somewhat unclear. Not many people can claim they know a lot about poker history. One thing is certain; there doesn’t seem to be a lack of theories as to how this game came to be.
Even though some trace it back to earlier times, experts usually associate the poker we know today with New Orleans in the 1820s. But let’s see what led to the creation of the most influential game of cards enjoyed by millions of people worldwide.
The first poker history records of a card game bearing some similarity with poker date back to almost six centuries ago and the German game called Poch (Pochen or Pochspiel).Three to six people would play it on a so-called Poch-board using between 32 and 52 playing cards. The same game in France goes under the name Poque.
Another potential poker forerunner is brag, an English card game from the sixteenth century and which became very popular one century later. Brag revolutionized card games by introducing wild cards (also known as braggers).
A French card game by the name of Brelan also found its place in poker history as a possible ancestor. It was extremely popular in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and it is actually a predecessor of brag. What this game brought to the table was the concept of bluffing.
Modern Poker History
As you can see, all these games have some elements that you can find in poker even today. For this reason, poker experts believe they were detrimental in its creation. Now, let’s see how modern poker came into existence.
In 1829, Joseph Crowell, an English actor, spoke about a card game that was popular among players on the Mississippi steamboats. He recorded a game in which people would bet on who among the four players had the best hand. This was actually a 20-card deck poker version.
Quickly, this card game reached all the areas surrounding the Mississippi and started enjoying lots of popularity. It was not long before the standard poker 52-card deck joined the scene. This was extremely important as these decks contained suits, so that’s how “flush” came to be and what led to the creation of stud poker.
During the American Civil War, soldiers would spend their free time playing cards and poker was their go-to game. Draw poker and five-card stud were introduced, as well as the wild card and lowball soon after that.
Then, the most popular poker variant came into existence in the 1920s in Texas. You’ve guessed it. We’re talking about Texas hold’em. Robstown, Texas, received the official recognition as the birthplace of the “Cadillac of Poker.”.
And it was in the 1970s that poker received the status of a global phenomenon when the World Series Of Poker, the most prestigious poker competition, was introduced.