Many of us play poker every day of our lives. We live for the game and spend a good amount of time playing it. For something that takes up a huge part of the day, how many of us have thought about where poker itself came from? What happened to create such an excellent game that so many love to play? This is something I have found pretty interesting and will elaborate on today.
So first let us ask ourselves where poker itself came from. The origins of the game seem to have a number of influences that established the variety of games we see today. One game that seems to have the most influence upon the various styles we have would be the Persian game of as nas. The name poker itself stems from the German game of pochen but is not clear whether the origin of the game we know now comes from this game directly. Poker originated in the New Orleans settlements and flourished in the heavy gambling sites that were established there. Other games sharing similar roots would include the game of primero and the game brag, which originated in England.
Not all of the games shared the same style of deck we usually see today. The number of cards varied from 20 up to the common English deck numbering at 52 which we are most familiar with. The creation of the 52 card deck was likely established to allow more players to participate in a given hand. It also allowed a number of other hands such as the flush and later on, the straight, to be used in regular game play.
Many associate poker with cowboys and the old west legends of the United States. There was a number of gambling casinos established in the US, and as stated before, the first opened up in New Orleans. Gambling, drinking and guns were just another part of the clientele in these joints which is a common theme in any western movie you might happen to see. This is a relatively true notion and reflects the lifestyle associated with poker in the early years of the so called Wild West. Poker flourished both in and out of the casinos during this era and even small campsites would feature a poker game in the evening.
Professional gambling was as big a thing then as it is now. There were a number of people who did just what many of us do now and play poker to earn a solid living. Whether they rode up and down on the riverboat casinos established in Louisiana or hit the casinos at every camp and town out west there was a living to be made. This leads right into our current day poker “history” as you would call it. With professional poker being a hot topic on television and the internet there has been a poker boom. More people play poker now then ever before and with the invention of exciting things like pocket cameras and regular televised events it’s even easier to get interested then ever before!
Poker has become a mainstream sport in the recent years. With huge television ratings and large crowds gathering for big events it’s hard not to get excited. The good players have become well recognized and respected. The loud and obnoxious players have also gotten such recognition, but for different and obvious reasons. With a lot of skill and a little bit of luck the average Joe off the street could win thousands of dollars and be easily recognized in day to day life. It’s hard to believe this transformation has happened in such a short amount of time, but I for one am happy about it. Maybe I will have that chance someday in the future, or it might even be you!