Tracing the Origins of Poker
Trying to determine the history of most casino games can be difficult, and the history of Poker is no exception. A lot of myths and half truths have surrounded its origins, and while this can make precise determination of all the facts difficult, some can be stated with certainty.
The exact source of Poker may never be agreed upon or resolved, as the genesis of card games are a mystery itself. However, it is known that during the early 16th century, there was a card game in Persia being played called As-Nas. Its exact relationship to the history of Poker is still debatable, but it was played with 25 card divided into 5 suits, and some of its rules were very similar to 5 Stud Card Poker.
In addition, it also had some combinations that are still used in modern Poker, such as the set. When the game spread to Europe it became known as poque, and some believe that that is where the name Poker came from. However, there are also other possible sources, including the Tarot decks.
From Europe the game made its way to the New World in the 1800s, where it was most welcomed by the people, particularly in New Orleans, eventually making its way to California. However, during the early history of Poker in the United States, the game was played with a variety of decks, from 20 to 25 and 32.
However, by the 1840s the 52 card deck was becoming the standard. The reason for the increased number of cards used points to the fact that more people wanted to play the game, testament to its growing popularity.
After the American Civil War, Poker history entered its most important period, as innovations came quick. Whereas before the winning hand was the unbeatable Four Aces, it was superceded by the Royal Flush. The flush and the straight were introduced, and the concept of bluffing became very popular.
During the 19th century, the history of Poker witnessed the emergence of Draw and Stud Poker, and in 1919 came the first references to shared card games, which would eventually spawn games like Omaha and Texas Holdem, currently the most popular Poker variant in the world.
The early history of Poker shows that innovations and changes were a constant part, and as the years go by, it is certain that more Poker variations will appear.
However, with all the change remains the constant element of unpredictability and excitement that will always make Poker the hand to beat in all casino card games.