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Poker

The origins of playing cards and poker are difficult to pin down. There are dozens of theories. Some say playing cards were developed by the Chinese as a variation on dominoes. In Europe
Tarot decks used for fortune telling are an obvious link in the lineage of the playing card. Gaming has been popular in every culture throughout history
so it is likely that different versions of the playing-card deck were developed independently by different cultures at different times.


Deck of playing cards

Early French settlers who came to New Orleans played a card game called poque
which involved bluffing and betting. Persian sailors
at port in New Orleans
taught the French settlers the Persian game called s
which uses decks of cards comprised of five suits. Most likely
these two games came to be melded together into one
and as travelers spread the game up the Mississippi River
they changed it to suit their own purposes. Con men who plied the riverboats adapted the game
using it to relieve their victims of their “poke
” or cash. At some point
this Anglicized version of the word poque became “poker.” The first written mention of “poker” was in 1834.
In the 1800s
the game quickly spread to the western frontier. The “wild west ” period of American history was a boom time for poker
with a poker table in almost every saloon.
Legendary Las Vegas casino owner Benny Binion decided to host a poker tournament for the best players in the world. In 1970
he held the first ever World Series of Poker . This $10
000 buy-in
no-limit Texas Hold’em game is now televised on ESPN.
Poker Basics
Right now is the best time to be a poker player. In fact
new players are entering into the game every day in large numbers. As more people seek opportunities to play poker
more poker rooms and Web sites are opening up. As a result
the coverage of poker on television and the number of books and amount of information made available increases
which in turn bring more players into the game. This cycle continues to feed itself so that the popularity of poker is now at an all-time high.
This article will cover many of the basics of poker — from rankings of poker hands to the card game’s terminology. But to put everything in its proper context
we’ll lead off with a quick primer on the history of poker.
Poker Origins
Many people were introduced to poker by seeing it played in the saloons in Western movies
and the poker game played was most often 5-Card Draw. Some people may also have heard stories of riverboat gamblers on the Mississippi River. For these reasons
a lot of people grew up believing poker began in America in the 1900s
and the only poker game ever played was 5-Card Draw. Actually
both assumptions are false.
The actual origin of poker is not known. Some say the Chinese played with cards as early as the tenth century a.d. In another part of the world
archaeologists recovered fragments of cardlike items dating to the twelfth or thirteenth century in Egypt. Of course
we don’t know what the Egyptians used these cards for
but it could have been the first form of poker. We do know that in the sixteenth century people in India played a game called Ganjifa
which used a deck of 96 cards; and in the seventeenth century the Persians played a five-player card game
which they called As Nas
using 25 cards in five suits.
The current 52-card deck is often credited to European countries. In the fifteenth century
France introduced the current suits of clubs
diamonds
hearts
and spades in a game called Poque. It is quite possible that the word “poker” is derived from that word. Others
however
claim that the word “poker” comes from the German card game pochspiel or the German game pochen
which dates back to the sixteenth century. Also
the British are credited with the introduction of games called “Brag” and “Faro
” which were played in many saloons in the Old West.
Eventually
poker migrated to the United States in the late eighteenth century and continued to spread throughout North America. Variations of poque called “draw” and “stud” became popular during the Civil War. These terms are still used today.
Next
we’ll move onto the fundamentals of playing the game
specifically the rankings of poker hands.

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