The History of Poker
Although the ‘Poker’ played today was shaped in America, it finds its roots back to China, the Middle East and Europe. Poker has travelled through the continents and undergone several changes to finally settle to its present form. Read on to know more about its journey.
Poker From Empires to Merchants
While there are still speculations on the origin of the Poker, the game holds the record of being played as far as in 10th century China. Although slightly different from what is known of Poker today, the Chinese emperors and their concubines played this game through tiles. Later, it went on to flourish across China and was played using the leaves. This game also got a pet name know as “leaf game” due to the usage of leaves as cards to play it.
Fast forward to the 16th century, Persia and India were playing a similar game. While Persians called it as Ganjifa (translated to “Treasure cards”), Indians called it as Ganjapha. Persian’s Ganjifa is also considered a precursor to another famed card game “As Nas”. These games in Persia and India were played using various materials like palm leaves, wood, sometimes also through turtle or ivory shells.
In the next few decades, many card games derived after Ganjifa and As Nas were carried by Middle East merchants to European nations like France and Italy during their trade. Now, several similar games were forwarded from Europe to America, of which the important ones that helped shape Poker include Poque and Brag.
From consolidating colonies to introducing Poker
Poque is a French game which was brought by French traders and sailors to the beautiful city of New Orleans. Another similar card game called Brag played with a 20 cards deck was carried by the British merchants and colonists to America during the 1800s.
New Orleans and Louisiana territories were part of French colonies and during subsequent decades of the 18th century, they fell into the hands of Spanish rule. In 1801, this was reversed by French leader Napoleon and brought these territories again under French control. Later in 1803, Napoleon sold New Orleans port to Thomas Jefferson, the then US President, to curb some financial needs.
New Orleans is one of the vital and busiest ports on the banks of river Mississippi, saw an increasing amount of traders and merchants visiting there. These men carried the game of poker and went on to introduce it to other ports and towns along the Mississippi River.
Modelling the 52 – Card Poker game
During the mid 19th century, the 20 cards a deck game – Poker went on to become 52 cards game. Other happening features like drawing, betting rounds, flush (same suit cards of five), and straight (sequential cards of five) were added to the game.
The American Civil War from 1861 to 1865 also helped the growth of Poker game. The soldiers played the game during the war and the survivors took it back home which lead to its flourishing throughout the USA.
Apart from a few changes that have occurred since the 19th century, this amazing game has now been standardized with the rules and styles. Not just in land-based casinos, Poker is now a successful part of the online casinos too. Players across the world are able to play this amazing game from anywhere with the help of their gadgets like smartphones, desktops and tablets.
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Blog Name: The History of Poker
Posted On: 24/12/2018
Author: Robert Bowron