Poker Through the Ages and Poker Rules

A subject of much debate, popular belief states that poker developed over many centuries and is a combination of a variety of games. A widely accepted ideology is that sometime prior to 969 AD, Mu-tsung, the Chinese Emperor, played a game of “domino cards” with his wife. What is certain is that poker blends the basic rules of ranked card or domino number sequences alongside an element of “bluffing.”

The History of Poker

During the 12th and 13th centuries, it was common for Egyptians to use special types of playing cards. This was followed by the Persians in the 16th century who played two card games: Ganjifa, involving 96 playing cards, and As Nas, with a reduced amount of 25. The latter of the Persian games is known to have incorporated a form of betting and hand rankings.

Also during the 16th century, the Spanish were using playing cards in a game called Primero. The game was played with 3 cards per player and involved gambling high stakes when in possession of low ranked cards. As Primero has direct links to today’s game of poker, it is frequently referred to as being “poker’s mother.” Primero, which dates back to 1526, laid the foundation for the French game called “Poque” and German equivalent “Pochen,” both of which became fashionable in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The first examples of modern day poker are felt to have landed on western shores at the beginning of the 18th century, introduced by French colonists arriving in Canada. Then, following the foundation of New Orleans by French-Canadian settlers, the game of poque began to make its way along the Mississippi from Louisiana and across the rest of the US.

Spreading rapidly during the early years of the 1800s, the earliest reference to poker was written by Jonathan H Green in 1834. His citation makes reference to the rules of a “cheating game” that was feverishly played on the Mississippi riverboats. Such was his interest in this “cheating game” that Green felt it necessary to mention it in the book “An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling”. The “cheating game” soon gained popularity and eventually took the place of the traditional 3-card game. Recognized as an honest gamble and more demanding to the player, the introduction of the “cheating game” is often credited as being the beginning of poker.

Poker spread like wildfire across the US and, throughout the Wild West, poker tables could be found in the saloons of almost every town. The Civil War was also a big stepping stone for the game as soldiers from both sides would happily while away lost hours betting and gambling.

From its early beginnings in New Orleans and along the Mississippi, poker has developed immensely. In 1875, the game witnessed a milestone event. By introducing the joker as a wildcard, any European influence was effectively terminated. Modern day poker has never looked back and today there are a host of variations in existence. Of the many variations and sub-variations, three games stand out as being the pioneers of modern poker: 5 Card Draw, 7 Card Stud and Texas Hold’em.

Starting out as a little known game during the American Civil War, 5 Card Draw experienced a dramatic rise and became the country’s most popular game for the best part of a century. Aided by the flourishing casino industry taking storm in Las Vegas, 7 Card Stud took over from 5 Card Draw just before WWII began. Seven Card Stud remained at the top for almost 40 years before eventually losing the throne to Texas Hold’em. Gaining popularity in the 1970s, Texas Hold’em, otherwise known as the “Cadillac of poker,” shot to fame with its role in the World Series of Poker.

Poker has not been without its setbacks though and in the early days. Nevada introduced a law prohibiting any form of betting game. This was combated by the Attorney General of California who intelligently deemed draw poker to be a game of skill and therefore free from anti-gambling rules.Stud poker, however, remained illegal, which saw the rise of draw games. By 1931, Nevada withdrew its law and opened the door for legal casino gambling.

Today, Texas Hold’em, boosted by the televised World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour, prevails as the number one poker game. Manila, Omaha and Razz are a few of the numerous variations that exist, yet none have reached the popularity levels of Texas Hold’em.

Poker is the latest craze sweeping the globe and it would seem is a game that is here to stay. Information on poker is readily available through online sources and there is a continually growing community of online players, especially across Europe. There has never been an easier time to play against a like-minded player. So, click the link to one of our top poker and casino rooms and play online now.