A Brief History of Poker in GemdiscoPH
Today, we’re going to be exploring poker’s roots, going back centuries and looking at how it grew in popularity across America. We’ll look at how the game influenced popular culture, like film, television, and the music industry, as well as look at some of the legends in the game, different versions of poker, and our opinions on the future of the game.
So, whether you’re a poker enthusiast wanting to learn more about your beloved game, or someone who’s got no clue how to play – but wants to know the history – this blog should prove insightful!
Online Poker History
In today’s blog, we will be looking at the history of poker – and this will, naturally, include online poker history. Today, online poker games are easier to play than ever, and with the US opening up to online gambling, this is a trend we’re only going to see continue to increase.
Today, we’ll trace the murky origins of poker back to the 16th century, look at how it expanded via riverboats, the Wild West, and the military, before becoming the beloved American game it is today, played both online and in land-based poker rooms. Without further ado, let’s get started!
Poker Origins: Where Did The Game Originate?
The exact origins of poker are uncertain, in definitive terms – but historians have been able to link it back to several similar card games played hundreds of years ago. References to games resembling poker first appeared in the early 1800s in the United States, but the vast majority of experts believe that poker clearly derived from older European card games.
Some historians claim to have traced poker origins back to a 16th century Persian game called As Nas, which required five players, and ranked hand values in a remarkably similar fashion to modern day poker hands. This game then likely evolved into the French game of Poque, which experts believe likely arrived in New Orleans via French settlers in the late 1700s.
After this, it spread up the Mississippi River, as it was a great gambling game – and it allowed poor Americans a chance to gamble and escape the harsh conditions they lived under.
When Poque reached America, the name started to gradually evolve into poker – and the rules started to change slightly, too. In addition, the English game of Brag also started to influence this new card game in America – and poker drew its bluffing and betting elements largely from this game.
By the early 1800s, early versions of poker were being played along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, although they used a deck containing just 20 cards. Chips were also used, which is where the history of poker chips begins. However, it wasn’t long before the game saw an explosive growth in popularity and spread to all parts of the US.
Poker origins is a topic not all historians agree on. However, what can be said with certainty is that there’s no way the early players of As Nas and Poque would have thought in a million years that one day we’d all be playing this great game on little devices powered by some strange electrical charge! Nor would they have guessed that all the best US poker sites are listed right here on this very website!
Poker’s Evolution Over Time
In the decades after poker took hold in America in the early 1800s, new variations emerged as the game continued to spread. The early game of Three Card Monte, with only three cards dealt to each player, represents a transitional, stripped-down form of poker focused heavily on bluffing. Later in the 1830s, another version called Straight Poker became pretty popular – and this was when the flush was first introduced to the game.
Draw Poker first appeared in the 1840s, allowing players to improve their hands by exchanging cards – something that, at the time, was loved, as it allowed players to extend the game. Around twenty years later, in 1860, Stud Poker was developed, and this is when the format of players being dealt a face-up card and four face-down cards came from. This was designed to introduce a greater strategy element into the game.
In the 1870s, Jackpot Poker introduced the format of using an ante to generate action on every hand, and 50 years later, in 1920, the first game with community cards appeared. This is where the poker game we know and love today really starts to look familiar.
As poker’s popularity boomed, newer variations emerged, including some unusual ones like Pineapple and Chinese Poker. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until the 1990s that Texas Hold ’em became the mainstream poker format – although today, it almost holds a monopoly in the industry, with other games very hard to find outside of Vegas and away from online casinos.
Thankfully, regardless of whether you want to play online poker in Nevada, Pennsylvania, or elsewhere, there are plenty of great poker sites that do offer numerous variations of the game like Omaha, Stud, and Draw – and here on our website, you’ll find links to the best and most trustworthy poker sites serving the US market.
Influence of Poker on Pop Culture
Beyond being just a popular card game, poker has had an enormous influence on American and global culture – and pop culture in particular. Poker references and phrases can be found in endless examples of literature, film, music, television, and art. Indeed, by the mid-19th century, poker’s role in gambling culture was already inspiring literary works like Edmond Hoyle’s strategy guides.
However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that poker’s cultural identity really began to form. The 1973 film The Sting featured a high-stakes poker game – and it coincided with the same era where legends like Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese were gaining a name for themselves. The popularization of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) did even more to fuel poker’s popularity – and televised poker games soon became common on TVs across the country.
The 1990s film Rounders, about underground poker games, further romanticized poker’s seedy side – and since its release, numerous Hollywood films have featured – or even based themselves around – the game. A good example is the James Bond movie Casino Royale, but when you think about it, there’s pretty much no end to the number of cartoons, sitcoms, and songs that reference poker in one form or another.
Clearly, poker has become deeply intertwined with pop culture, and some experts believe this is due to the game’s emotive, human-like concepts including temptation, risk-taking, lying, greed, and deceitfulness. For better or worse, poker continues to inspire almost all forms of creative works around the world to this day!
Legends of the Poker World
Poker as we know it today was shaped by several influential players who popularized the game in ways many didn’t think possible.
Doyle Brunson, nicknamed “Texas Dolly,” was considered one of the godfathers of poker due to his impact on shaping strategy. His books like Super System taught fundamental concepts like hand rankings, odds calculations, and bluffing. His death earlier this year was mourned by almost everyone in the poker community.
Johnny Moss was another key figure in the development of poker – and he was one of the best players in the world when the early WSOP events ran. Any poker fan will know of Amarillo Slim, the charismatic figure who really popularized the game on American TV – and then you had Stu Ungar, who managed to master both poker and gin rummy, developing – and popularizing – a highly aggressive style of play.
Modern stars like Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, and Chris Ferguson helped shape the world of poker today, as they proved that anyone could earn a living from the game – Chris Moneymaker ended up winning the WSOP Main Event for millions of dollars, after winning entry from a $100-odd satellite tournament online! This was perhaps the biggest moment in online poker history.
Below, we’ll highlight a few of the key names who have rightly earned their way into the poker player history Hall of Fame!
|Doyle Brunson||10 WSOP bracelets, authored “Super System” poker strategy book.|
|Stu Ungar||3 WSOP Main Event wins, known for aggressive style.|
|Chip Reese||Considered best cash game player, 7 WSOP bracelets.|
|Phil Ivey||Highly skilled professional, 10 WSOP bracelets, widely considered the best all-round player of all time.|
|Daniel Negreanu||6 WSOP bracelets, huge online presence and known for his incredible reading abilities.|
The Future of Poker
Poker has come a long way from its murky origins, but where is it heading in the years and decades to come? Many expect online poker to continue growing, especially as more US states legalize and begin regulating it. Improved software, security, and game integrity will likely make online poker even more appealing to new players, and we’re already seeing more people than ever trying their hand at the game.
Streaming of live poker events and gaming influencers on platforms like Twitch will continue to drive interest in the game, and while we might see new poker variations emerge, it’s likely that Texas Hold’em will remain the most popular form of the game – for the foreseeable future, anyway.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve explored poker’s origins, cultural impact, legendary players, evolution, and potential future, let’s recap some of the key points of today’s post. We’re going to be doing this by answering some common questions our readers have about poker – and this section will revisit some of the main topics covered throughout this blog.
How did online poker become popular?
Online poker started gaining popularity in the late 1990s as the internet made it easy for people to play poker from the comfort of home. However, the real explosion in online poker’s popularity came in 2003 with Chris Moneymaker’s win at the World Series of Poker Main Event after qualifying through an online satellite tournament. His rags-to-riches story, known as the Moneymaker Effect, inspired millions around the world to try the game for themselves.
Where did poker originate?
Pinpointing poker’s exact origins is difficult, but most experts believe it evolved from older card games like As Nas, Poque, and Brag. As Nas was a 16th-century Persian game with hand rankings similar to poker, while Poque was a French card game that spread to New Orleans. Some of these games’ elements remain in poker today – albeit often in a very different way.
How has poker evolved over time?
Poker has seen constant change since its modern beginnings in the 1800s. The number of cards and hand values changed substantially in the early years as Draw Poker, Stud Poker and more variations emerged. While Texas Hold’em has dominated the game for the last three decades now, there are plenty of other games available, including some unusual ones like Pineapple and Chinese Poker. Poker continues to evolve today, with live streaming and potential virtual reality integration representing the next frontiers.
Who are some legends of the poker world?
Many skilled players have left their mark on poker history. Doyle Brunson, aka Texas Dolly, authored game-changing poker strategy books while his friend, Stu Ungar, awed players with his aggressive style – while winning three WSOP Main Events in the process! Today, the world’s greatest player is widely considered to be Phil Ivey, who’s won an astonishing ten WSOP bracelets so far.
What does the future hold for poker?
Poker seems like it will continue to enjoy steady growth as online poker sites continue to launch, and more countries and states legalize the game. Advances like crypto poker, improved anti-cheating tech, and better mobile poker facilities will also likely contribute to this steady increase in popularity over the next decade.