A Brief History of Poker from Beginnings to the Modern Era
Last Updated: July 14, 2022
The game of poker is a fascinating one! No matter how much you learn about it, there is always more to know.
Whether you're at the beginning of your poker playing journey or consider yourself something of a professional, one of the most interesting ways to gain a deeper understanding of the game is to learn a little about its history of it.
Sometimes you'll find a nugget of information that might improve your personal game, but even if you don't, you'll be sure to enjoy the story.
So without further ado, here's the story of where poker started, all the way through to where it might be headed.
Where It All Began
The very beginnings of poker are hotly debated. Some historians believe that it started in 10th century China, where a Chinese emperor is reported to have enjoyed playing a domino-based game.
Others believe its origins are much closer to the present day, in 16th century Persia, and can be traced back to a game called As Nas.
As these dates are so far back in time, there's been no concrete evidence as of yet that could totally solidify any claims.
One thing we do know though is that wherever it originally came from, by the time the game made it to Europe, that's where things really started to change into the game we know today.
By the time the game reached Europe it was known as Poque and was played a lot in 17th century France, with its German counterpart being known as Pochen, both names suspiciously close to modern-day poker.
These games were both based on a Spanish game from the century before that was known as Primero. This game (along with Poque and Pochen) consisted of, just like poker, three cards being dealt to each player.
Players had to bet and bluff, depending on the strength of the cards they were dealt. However, we know that poker was invented in its final form in America, so how did it get there?
The Invention of Poker
During the French colonization of America, people brought the game of Poque to the city that would become New Orleans.
The game quickly became popular with English-speaking settlers who Anglicized the worked Poque to poker, as we know it today.
The game also changed somewhat, moving from a three-card game with a smaller deck to the five-card version that we are used to nowadays, played with a 52-card deck.
The game spread throughout America and by the 1870s had become fairly standardized. The popularity of the game saw it travel back to Europe during a talk between none other than the Queen of England and the U.S. Minister.
From there poker has gone from strength to strength, thanks to events such as the World Series of Poker taking it to the stage that it's at today.
Nowadays it's possible to play poker all over the world, with opponents from different countries to you, thanks to the invention of online gaming.
Online poker has been around since 1998 but took a good decade to really take off. Nowadays online poker is arguably as popular as playing poker in real life all the way around the world.
For example, sites like Asiabet offer information on the poker sites available in the Asian world, so that not only can players find a site that's available in their country, but they can also be sure they're getting the best deals available.
The ability to play in different countries, and in different languages opens up the game of poker to everyone.
This is great news for those living in countries where it has historically been more difficult to play poker, or for those who travel frequently and don't want to miss out on their favorite game whilst they're away.
What the Future Holds
At Mypokercoaching, we're always interested in making sure everyone has all the info they could need on poker.
This applies whether it’s learning how to bluff, or working out what's on the horizon for poker. Nobody can predict the future, but some trends are already emerging that could shape how poker looks in the future.
One thing is for certain, online poker is here to stay and it's only growing. Private rooms where friends can play against one another online have seen a surge in popularity over recent years, allowing people to socialize within their friendship groups.
Some of these rooms offer webcams so that people can spot bluffs happening more easily and feel more connected with those they're playing with.
Virtual reality has made some tentative steps into the online poker world. And with the games market being such a great innovator, it likely won't be long before we see more virtual reality poker setups appearing.