The game of poker has been around for over ten centuries and, as is the case with most old games, the history of poker is full of controversy and uncertainty. Where did the game of poker originate? The answer is not known for sure. However, there are many different ideas about where the game of poker originated. Read on to learn all about the history and origins of poker.
The oldest record of a poker-like game goes back to 969 AD in China, when the Chinese Emperor Mu-Tsung played a New Years Eve game with domino cards. This domino card game was poker-like in that the emperor and his wife competed for the best possible hand and bluffing was a major strategy.
However, it was not only the Chinese that played early poker games. In the 1100s and 1200s the Egyptians also played several betting games with their own style of playing cards called Ganjifa or “Treasure Cards”. Many of these games included hierarchical hand rankings as well as betting rounds. The Persians also played similar games during this same time period, including the popular 25-card game of As Nas.
A little later on, in the 1600s and 1700s, games reminiscent of Poker began to be played in Europe. The French played a game known as “Poque”; the Germans played “Pochen”; and the Spanish played a game known as “Primero”. Bluffing was an important strategy in all of these games. However, the Spanish game of Primero is considered to be one of the first ancestors of modern day poker and Poque and Pochen developed from this Spanish game.
It was the French who brought the game to North America, with French colonials in Canada. However, it wasn’t until French-Canadian settlers came to the United States and founded New Orleans in the 1700s that the game of poker truly took off. It became incredibly popular in New Orleans and then spread up the Mississippi River and to the rest of the country. As the game spread on Mississippi riverboats it was originally a game for sailors. However, it did not take much time for it to spread to virtually every city in the country. It was played in saloons until the casinos of Las Vegas opened and different poker variations were regulated and grew even more in popularity.
Over the years a large number of new poker variations have been born. In the beginning, 5 Card Draw was the most popular poker game. However, new variations like 7 Card Stud and then Texas Hold’em have risen to the top. Today there are a huge number of poker variations played in casinos, poker rooms and tournaments around the world. Poker games have made their way through history and come out on top as the most popular games in the modern world.