Poker is a game that is played and loved by so many people and has become a staple in American culture and cultures around the world. People say it goes back thousands of years crossing several continents. So where did this beloved game originate from?
The earliest versions of this game can be traced back to a domino-card game played by the 10th-century Chinese emperor. Others believe it came from the Persian card game “As Nas,” which dates back to the 16th century. Poker’s closest forerunner was Poqu, which caught on in France in the 17th century. This game featured three cards that were dealt to each player and bluffing and betting high on poor cards was a vital part of the game. Poqu was brought to American colonies by French settlers and was later changed by English speaking settlers into the game we are familiar with today. Poker became popular in New Orleans and then spread up the Mississippi River and throughout the country. Thanks to its popularity among ship crewman and soldiers the game spread and was played during the civil war in both North and South territories. In 1871 poker was brought back to Europe when Queen Victoria heard the U.S. minister to Great Britain explaining the game to members of her court and asked him for the rules. More general acceptance of poker in Europe occurred several decades later, largely thanks to the influence of American soldiers during WWI. Over time, different games have dominated among poker players, including five-card draw, seven-card stud and most recently Texas Hold’em, which began its rise to dominance in the 1970s when it became the featured game in the World Series of Poker, the game’s leading annual competition.