Poker is nowadays one of the more popular card games and is being enjoyed by many people all around the world. Especially since the popularization of online poker rooms, which had made the game more accessible to everybody, the card game has experienced a huge boom.
Poker is not a new game and in fact has evolved a lot since its creation, given place to many different versions. The more popular ones are: Omaha Hi, Omaha-Lo, Seven card stud, Seven card stud-hi-lo, Caribbean stud poker and Texas Hold’em among many others, being the last the more commonly played. The different versions differ in the way cards are dealt, how the hands are formed, how many round bets there are and so on.
The origin of the game is not clear and many different theories exist. One of the most commonly theories which try to explain the beginning of this card game goes back to 900 AD, when the Chinese Emperor Mu Tsung is said to be playing “domino cards” with his wife.
After that, the next prove of card games being played date back to the 12th and 13th century, after a few painted cards which resemble the Ganjifa deck were founded in Egypt.
The Persian game known as As Nas which started to be played in the 17th century is also one of the games believed to inspire the poker. The As Nas was played in different betting rounds and different hand ranking could also be identified. This game was soon expanded to Europe, were it evolved in different game variants using different card suits according to the countries. For instance, in Spain and Italy the following suit was used: swords, batons, cups and coins. In Switzerland the four suits were: shields, flowers, bells and acorns; and in Germany: hearts, leaves, bells and acorns.
However, the strongest theory regarding the origin of poker dates back to the 15th Century in France, where a game named Poque started to be very popular. In this game a deck of four suits was also used: hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs. Moreover, bluffing and betting were part of the game, which will see its biggest evolution after the French exported it to the American continent. There, a professional gambler named Jonathan H. Green came across the game, which he referred to as the “cheating game” as he mentioned in his book “An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling”. What we still don’t know is when the cheating game became known as poker.
Independently of its origin, what it is clear nowadays is that poker, whether online or played at land based casinos, is the most popular cards game.