Short History of the Game of Poker
The exact origin of the game of poker is disputed to this day. On one side, it’s said the game developed in Persia; however the earliest records of a game there similar to poker, called “as nas,” only date back to 1890. Alternatively, the game “Pochspiel” existed much earlier in the 15th century in German-speaking territories as did the game “Poque” in France. These games apparently trace back to community games of the Renaissance and could have influenced the game of poker we know today.
By far most of the important developments in the game of poker have taken place in the more recent past. The game spread in the beginning of the 19th century, starting with the Mississippi steam boats in New Orleans, the Wild West – the world of cowboys, gold diggers and saloons – and went from there on its road to success. Back then, the most widely spread variation was Five Card Draw, although many new variations had already been created by that time.
At that point, poker was played with only 20 cards and hands such as a flush or a straight did not yet exist. The first important advancements came about during the Civil War, such as the introduction of the 52 card deck and hands such as the aforementioned straight. At that time, the first form of the Texas Hold’em game that’s so popular today was also created. Back then, this variation was referred to as “Wild Widow.” The popularity of the game of poker first rose in the 20th century because of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), which started in the beginning of the 1970s. Up until then, the game of poker was regarded as mere game of chance that was not only simple but also dangerous, because in the Wild West and after the game allegedly often ended in shootings.
Wild Bill Hickock was allegedly shot as he held a hand of two pairs (eights and aces); since then this hand in Five Card Draw poker has been known as the “Dead Man’s Hand.” The enormous poker boom of recent years was surely also started by the WSOP victory of Chris Moneymaker in 2003, one of the most unknown amateur players up to that point. Since then, more and more players take part in the WSOP, online poker rooms enjoy growing notariety and the ever-increasing popularity of the tactically-demanding card game seems unstoppable. Online poker is a science of its own, since the online game has a much faster pace than in “real life.” Because of that, many poker professionals get advice from so-called poker strategy programs and external player aids. For more information about this subject, just visit our section on strategy programs.
Without a doubt, the well-known game, strip poker, also began early in the 19th century. In this version of poker, instead of sums of money, pieces of players’ clothing are wagered. Those who lose their stake have to take off the piece of clothing that was wagered. Strip poker can be played with any variation, but is most common with more simple variations such as Five Card Draw.
On August 21st, 2006, the online poker room Paddy Power Poker organized the first Strip Poker Championship worldwide in the noble Cafè Royale in London. After PaddyPower advertized such a championship as an April fool’s joke, the overwhelming feedback they received convinced the poker room’s management to actually start a strip poker championship. The lucky winner of the Texas Hold’em Strip Tournament went home after eight hours with £ 10,000 and won another £ 10,000 for charity after lowering his pants at the end of the tournament.
If you’d like to take part in the next Strip Poker World Championship yourself, register now at Paddy Power Poker and qualify online for the next world championship. Additionally, you‘ll receive an exclusive welcome bonus when you register over our link at Paddy Power.