Poker is one of the best-loved card games out there, and it’s also become such a varied game over the years. If you were to talk to twenty people about poker in different parts of the world, they may mention three or four different varieties of poker.
Even though Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular poker games, there are other varieties as well. Five-card poker is still popular, while online versions of the game have gained a lot of popularity in the past four or five years.
Below is a guide that explains the evolutions of poker as a card game, and what the future may hold for this beloved pastime.
The History of Poker
If we look back at the history of poker over many centuries, it’s clear that it has roots in parts of the Middle East, Europe, and China.
Card games have been popular for a very long time, and poker (in one form or another) might go back as far as 1,000 years. The present versions of the game, however, trace their roots to New Orleans in the 1800s.
Most historians agree that poker was created in the United States of America in the 1800s. The game is derived from a French parlor game called Poque.
When many French sailors and traders came to New Orleans in the early 1800s, they brought with them games such as Poque. A British game, Brag, was also popular among people in the area at that time.
Such influences are thought to have led to the creation of poker, which was first played using a 20-card deck. Within a few years, poker was a popular regional game in New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana. At the time, it was the Louisiana Territory, but the area would soon join with the United States.
A major shift in poker occurred in the mid-1800s when the game went from a 20-card deck to a 52-card deck. There is no definitive reason why such a change was made, but a strong possibility is that more players on a table meant the need for more cards resulting in a bigger deck.
The original poker played in New Orleans was five-card poker, where players get all five of their cards in the deal and then bet on who may have the best combinations to win the game. Ever since poker was played in New Orleans in the 1800s, the winning hands have largely remained the same.
American Civil War
Another expansion in the popularity of poker occurred in the American Civil War, which ran from 1861 to 1865. During this war, both rebel and federal soldiers would play poker during their off time, as they had many moments in between battles where they had little else to keep themselves occupied.
Poker eventually made its way throughout the United States becoming the go-to game for card enthusiasts, saloon goers, and gamblers alike. When people thought of the “wild, wild West” in the United States, poker was one of the first games that came to their minds.
The last major shift in poker happened in the early 1900s in Texas, where the game of Texas Hold’em was invented. Even though there are some differing stories on the game’s origins most historians agree that it came to be in the town of Robstown.
An interesting note about Texas Hold’em is that it existed for a good number of years without much recognition. The game slowly became more popular in Texas, but it took until the 1950s and 1960s before it was a nationwide phenomenon.
By 1967 Texas Hold’em had made its way to Las Vegas and become one of the most popular varieties of poker in the United States. People who were prominent in gambling culture in Las Vegas at the time saw Texas Hold’em as a “thinking man’s game,” as it required a lot of strategy throughout each contest.
Online Poker – Is The Game Now at Its Peak?
There are no fundamental differences between modern-day poker and the poker that was played in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The game last went through a big shift when Texas Hold’em became the dominant version over five-card poker.
A significant change that has occurred in the past decade is the advent of online poker. Rather than having to visit casinos, poker halls, or the houses of friends or colleagues, people can play poker from anywhere in the world.
All a person needs is a smartphone or computer, internet access, and an account at a poker site. Playing for free or for money is possible anywhere in the world, with players able to access games at the skill level or financial cost that are most comfortable for them.
Poker enthusiasts strongly believe the game may be at its very peak at present. Not only are in-person poker tournaments still very popular, but online poker is reaching an entirely new audience.
The younger generation, who may spend more time on their phones than interacting with others in person, is in love with online poker. The game is so easy to play, while there is enough combination of luck and strategy to keep all types of players interested.
Will Poker Evolve Again?
There is no telling what the future may hold for poker. While Texas Hold’em is still the most popular version of the game, online play means that a new variety of the game may come to the forefront in the coming decades.