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History of Poker

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There seem to be differences of opinion on the origin of this game. And it is more likely that it derived its present day form and name from elements of many different games. The consensus is that because of its basic principle, its birth is a very old one.

The Birthplace

There are as many variations regarding the possible birthplace of poker as there are of the game itself. The most popular belief is that the Chinese invented the game around 900 A.D., possibly derived from the Chinese dominoes.Others state that it originates from the Persian game "as nas". This is a 5-player Persian game, which requires a special deck of 25 cards with 5 suits. However, this is only recorded back to the 17th century.

Another theory calls on the French "poque". The French who settled New Orleans around 1480 played Poque, a card game involving bluffing and betting. This was stated to be the first use of a deck consisting of spades, diamonds, clubs, and hearts.

Fragments of cards have been tentatively dated to 12th or 13th century in Egypt. Some propose that modern cards originated from the Indian card game of Ganjifa. With so many claims, narrowing down on the exact birthplace of this game is akin to pulling a royal straight flush.

Earliest references

Jonathan H. Green makes one of the earliest written references to this amusement in 1834. In his writing, Green mentions rules about the "cheating game," which was then being played on Mississippi riverboats. His was the first such reference to the game. Since it was not mentioned in the current American Hoyle, he chose to call the game the way it is.

The game he described was played with 20 cards, using only the aces, kings, queens, jacks and tens. Two to four people could play, and each was dealt five cards. By the time Green wrote about it, this game had become the number one cheating game on the Mississippi boats. Most people thought the 20-card amusement seemed more a legitimate game, and they came back time and time again. It would certainly appear that this game was developed by the cardsharps.

Evolution

This game has evolved through the years, through many backroom games to the present day casinos around the world. Its history is rich with famous places and characters. For example, during the Wild West period of United States history, a saloon with a playing table could be found in just about every town from coast to coast.

Today, this amusement is carefully regulated by gambling laws, and saloons have given way to casinos and card rooms, but it is played more than any other card game in the world. It has grown into a sporting event, with competitions and tournaments all around the world. Tournaments take place almost every week of the year somewhere in the world.

If you compare the prizes of major sporting events around the world, you will find that the monetary outcome of any given event in Poker would (pardon the pun) stack up. This game is one of the fastest growing sporting events. The World Poker Tour could change that: its a series of televised worldwide championship events.

The World Series of Poker is an annual event attracting worldwide players every year to compete for money and titles as the best players. Every May, the only place players want to be is at the WSP at Binion's Horseshoe in Las Vegas, NV.

Poker will always be around and will continue to grow and flourish like so many other pastimes. There will always be a game to play, money to be won, and crowns to be worn.

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