Note: This article was not written by me (Greg, the PokerBank guy). It's not formatted as well as the other articles on this site, but it does give a solid overview of the history of poker. Enjoy.
The history of poker is greatly disputed. No unambiguous date can be agreed upon for when the first poker game took place. Nevertheless, the general consent is that the game originally came up as a combination of several other games and has been sprouting in different directions ever since. As an example, today’s popular games such as Texas Holdem and Omaha are very much analogous yet diverse leaves on this tree.
In 1829, a game with four players betting on whose hand was the best is reported to have been played in New Orleans. Less than two decades afterward, the book An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling (Jonathan H. Green) informed of the ways along which the game spread to other states up the Mississippi river. Floating casinos were common on the river boats and regarded as an amusement.
After the game had stretched to the north and caught the attention of western-moving settlers, it rapidly spread through the newly arisen United States. Subsequent to this, American card players adopted the 52-card English deck which introduced the concept of suits and flush. Soldiers on both sides in the Civil War grasped the stimulating cards game and started inventing variations that are now called 5-Card-Stud and 5-Card-Draw.
When the soldiers returned home after the war, poker became more popularized and quickly expanded across the rest of the nation. Then came the wild-card games, split-pot games (such as high-low variations) and low-poker games. Community card games saw the light of day around 1925. The rising recognition of poker in Asian countries also arrived through US military involvement from the 1940s and forward.
A rapid expansion of poker popularity in US land-based casinos started with the inauguration of the WSOP in 1970. The tantalizing careers of poker legends such as Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim and Johnny Moss certainly gave no small contribution as well. Brunson is still very active in the outer layers of the poker atmosphere and regarded as possibly the most significant personality of all in the world of professional poker.
Lately the popularity of poker has absolutely exploded with the introduction of spectacular poker television using hole card cameras as well as the progression of the online poker. This has made poker much more welcoming for onlookers and makes it possible for anyone interested to find a game and start playing. Poker pros are today’s celebrities, more often than not endorsing their own poker sites and appearing in all forms of popular media.
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