Have you ever thought that when holding a deck of cards you are in fact holding a history book? Every card in a deck of cards is a result of a long journey that involved the efforts of thousands of people around the world! These fifty-four pieces of paper can tell us a lot about history. They also have the power to reveal stories of cultural and economic changes, social upheavals, the industrial revolution, and much more. Poker is not just a game, it embodies a journey of humankind.
There are shreds of evidence that suggest that cards are in existence since the 14th century. Poker’s earliest ancestors came from Europe, the Middle East, and China. But the game as we know it today finally took shape in the early 1800s in America. There are as many as three main forms of poker. Pretty much every single variant of the game will fall into one of these categories.
One of the earliest forms of poker called ‘poque‘ was played in gambling dens in New Orleans, in the early 1800s. The game spread from New Orleans gained popularity among soldiers during the American Civil War and eventually migrated to the western frontier. The rest, as they say, is history.
As time passed gaming houses dedicated to poker were built in and around New Orleans. But as the game attained popularity some people raised their voice against this game, rightly so! As cities around the US passed ordinances against gaming houses in town, American gamblers took their lifestyle to riverboats in the Mississippi River. This eventually gave birth to Poker!
In a world where change is the only constant, these games haven’t changed a bit, well, at least not in the last 100 years. Well, the decks and rules have become standardized and the popularity of individual games has changed over the years. But in the end, everyone is still trying to achieve the same goal – make the best possible five-card hand!
Today poker stands as a billion-dollar industry with shows being telecasted on prestigious media channels like ESPN. Poker has indeed become incredibly popular around the world. Just to provide some insight, according to World Poker Tour, the premier brand in televised poker games, from online poker alone there are more than 60 million players in the United States alone and over 100 million worldwide. This claim means that there are more people who play this game than play golf, billiards, or tennis, according to the WPT.
Thanks to the advances in computer technology and the advent of the internet in the late 20th Century, it exploded on the international scene with the introduction of online poker sites. For the first time, a player can engage in a virtual gambling game without leaving their home. They do not need physical items like playing cards, chips, and a table to make a game possible. As technology improves, players can play anywhere with a mobile device such as a phone or tablet.