If you were to ask one hundred people to name the first card game that comes into their head, chances are, Poker would come up most often. Over the years, it has developed dozens of variations and has established itself as the most popular card sport in the world with the eye-watering tournament cash prizes.

The international nature of card games allows for them to transcend language barriers and country borders. Combine this with the advent of the internet where people come together within online sites like the Poker 888site and you’ve got a pastime that can be enjoyed by anyone.

The thousand year long history of Poker is just as interesting as the game itself.

The origins of Poker

The genesis of the card game, historians do not agree on. One school of thought places the game in China, in the 10th century, where an emperor adapted an early form of Pai Gow. Pai Gow, sometimes referred to as Chinese Poker, is an ancient game played with Eastern variants of dominos. It doesn’t take a huge leap to think the word “Poker” could have derived from “Pai Gow”.

Another theory hails from the Middle East and a card game called “As Nas”, some six hundred years later. The As Nas deck consisted of only five suits and five identical cards within each suit.

The As cards, or the aces, usually depict some sort of animal, since “As” is Persian for animal. And the Nas cards were court cards portraying people from different social classes, from royalty to dancers – Nas being the word for people.

This deck and the game played with them has clear similarities to Poker with the only difference being, sequences like flushes and straights didn’t exist. It’s likely a combination of these origins contributed to the modern form of Poker we are now familiar with.

Poker reaches Europe

A French game, Poque, was garnering popularity in the 17th century. Poque and the German Pochen were both loosely based on the Spanish game, Primero. This was where the all-important aspect of betting and bluffing was finally integrated into the game and combined with the outcome of the cards dealt.

It was the French colonists in the New World that brought the game of Poque to the shores of North America, specifically to territories around the Mississippi river which would become part of the United States in 1803. Over the following half a century an anglicised form of the game, Poker, evolved along with the 52-card deck that we know today.

Poker in the present day

The game was played in saloons up and down the states and across Europe for the next hundred years but it found its true home in the casino. In the 1970s, the most popular variant emerged, Texas Hold’em.

During Texas Hold’em matches, each player receives two ‘hole cards’ (the ones dealt blind) which are then combined with the communal cards which arrive incrementally. No limit Texas Hold’em tournaments currently offer the highest cash rewards to the pros.

In the late 1990s, the pocket cam played an integral role in the growth of poker as a spectator sport. During televised competitions, a transparent section of the table with small cameras mounted underneath allowed the audience to see each player’s hand. Prior to this, commentators could only guess at what cards were held based on the bets they were making.

Poker and the internet

Perhaps the most important piece in the puzzle is the internet. The world wide web has brought people from the furthest reaches of the planet together and attracted an unprecedented number of new players to the sport. It is common now to learn that today’s professional players honed their craft online before even playing a hand with a real deck of cards.

Popular culture and poker

The game has established an elevated status in the world of TV and cinema. Movies like Casino Royale, Molly’s Game and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels show both the best and worst sides of the sport – but imagery of huge stacks of chips and subsequent hands being revealed, and phrases such as “I’m all in” have entered the popular zeitgeist.

The future of poker

People are continually looking for ways to bring players together and also to combine more of the real casino feeling to the home. Live casino successfully does just that. Real life dealers in custom built studios are filmed in hi def and streamed to players’ devices to bridge the gap between the virtual and the real world.

Consumer virtual reality (VR) technology is also a big growth factor for the casino industry. The tech has improved substantially in terms of brands such as Oculus VR and become more affordable which has led some of the bigger online casinos to develop online versions of casinos for players to patronise.

It’s a game enjoyed by so many, worldwide and has even become a viable career choice for those that take it seriously. With the level of funding that casinos and poker institutions are in receipt of, we’re sure if there are developments to be made, they’re good places to keep an eye on and we’re excited for what the next big change might be.



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