When Was Poker Invented: The Complete History of Poker

When was poker invented and by whom? How did the game become as popular as it is now? Who came up with other poker variants?

If you’re searching for questions – we’ve got the answers. Let’s take a look at the complex ways the game of poker became what it is today.

When Was Poker Invented?

First things first, let’s answer the question of when was poker invented.

The most important thing to know about poker’s history is that it’s a contentious one. There are countless different theories as to when and where poker came about.

Some say poker originated in 10th-century China while others say the game became what it is on 19th-century Mississippi river boats.

So what is the truth?

Well, the game that most closely resembles the poker we all know and love today was created in America in the 1800s as a derivative of Poque, a French parlor game. It was imported to New Orleans by French sailors and traders.

Back in the 19th century, New Orleans was a significant port, located on the Mississippi river’s banks, the largest waterway in North America. Travelers and merchants coming into the port started introducing poker to ports and towns along the river.

As a result, the mid-19th century is considered to be the rise of the steamboat gambler phenomenon.

All of these factors combined led to the moment in the mid-1800s when a deck of playing cards was expanded from 20 to 52 cards. These events caused the five-card poker game to evolve into a drawing game and people added an additional round of betting.

At this point, for the first time ever, the hand rankings included a flush. Soon after, in the 1860s, a straight was also added to the hand rankings.

Poker was played mostly during the American Civil War, after which the soldiers took the game back home with them. That was the first time poker began spreading out through the US.

Poker’s Bad Reputation

In the late 1800s, poker became synonymous with the expansion of the western frontier. The game was an integral part of the lore associated with the wild, wild west.

Even though poker was gaining popularity, the game attracted criminals, card sharps, and crooks. It became incredibly difficult to find a legitimate game and in an attempt to keep the game a bit honest, players started taking their weapons to play. 

These players didn’t hesitate to turn to violence if they felt that they were being cheated. In turn, poker had become associated with violence and lawlessness and earned a bad reputation. It was an unfortunate turn of events and it would take another century before poker became a legitimate game again.

Other Poker Origin Theories

When looking up when was poker invented, you’re bound to come across many different theories of how the game came about. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular theories and the game’s cousins.

Poker’s most direct cousin is the French game Poque, which itself is a variant of several games, most notably the European Primero and the Persian As Nas. The French also played the game Brelan, which is a true distant relative of Texas Hold’Em.

French sailors also introduced the game As, an adapted version of As Nas, which was played with a 20-card deck. The games were four-handed and each player was dealt five cards. They wagered on their hands using hand rankings similar to today’s, modern ones.

The first game that put bluffing at the forefront like poker does was the German game of Pochen. However, when the English adapted Pochen, they changed its name to Brag

The English would then bring Brag along with them when colonizing the Americas, and the game, mixed with the Poque rules, is how the game of poker actually came about.

When Was Texas Hold’Em Invented?

As you might have guessed, the game of Texas Hold’Em comes to us from Texas. More specifically, it comes from Robstown, a town outside of Corpus Christi. The official legislature recognizes Robstown as the birthplace of the legendary game and says that the game came about in 1925 or so.

However, the game wouldn’t start gaining popularity until it came to Las Vegas. Back in the 60s, a group of Texan card players including Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim, and Crandell Addington popularized the game through the strip.

Shortly after that, in 1970, the first World Series of Poker took place and the first-ever winner was Johnny Moss. Only three years later, in 1973, the WSOP tournament was shown on TV. It was the first time a poker event had been televised. 

The History of Online Poker

We can’t answer the question of when was poker invented without talking about the way it’s most commonly played today – online.

Even though the internet was already pretty widespread in the 90s, the first official site that offered real money poker play came about in 1998. The site was planetpoker.com and it did very well for a few years but was unfortunately later overshadowed by other sites. Today, the site has game rules but there’s no longer a gambling feature.

After a while, partypoker.com became the biggest online poker site, closely followed by PokerStars, Full Tilt, and others. However, it’s important to note that PokerStars, one of the biggest poker sites to date, doesn’t accept players from the US.

In fact, many online poker sites no longer accept US players, largely due to the events of Black Friday that took place on April 15th, 2011. That’s when the Department of Justice seized 76 bank accounts in 14 countries, affecting almost 95% of US players. 

Players weren’t able to access or withdraw their funds and what followed was years of litigation. The events of Black Friday changed the course of online poker forever.

The Poker Present

Hopefully, we’ve answered the question of when was poker invented and demystified its origins. 

As for the poker present, there is definitely lots to be said about online poker and its merger with crypto. Casinos like CoinPoker are slowly but surely taking over the gambling world thanks to their accessibility.

However, CoinPoker differs from most because of its proprietary RNG software. Some features that make the platform stand out include the transparent, decentralized card shuffling, hand hindsight, and validation tool.

So if you want to participate in the future of poker, download CoinPoker today!

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