The Origins Of Poker

The principle of poker goes back hundreds of years. Indeed, we find traces of old games called Primero in Spain or La Prime in France in many works dating from the 16th century. But, if nowadays, poker is so popular, it is because it knew how to impose itself in the whole world.

And if many games have inspired its creation, it is above all the players who, through their games all over the world, have exported poker over the years. So let’s explore the history of this game that has become legendary.

Various origins

In the 16th century, we find the first principles of poker in the game  La Prime  : it was played with four-card hands and there were betting rounds. When the player had four cards of a different suit, then he had a bounty. The Prime therefore consisted in forming the best possible combination of cards , but it was during the time of Louis XIV that a variant was created, called the “ambiguous game”, which introduced a hierarchy of these cards. different combinations. The Prime quickly gained popularity throughout Europe, reaching the Mediterranean regions (Spain, Italy) as far as England or Germany.

But it was at the beginning of the 18th century that we witnessed the development of betting,  particularly in Germany with the game “Pochen” which means “to bluff” and from which modern poker is particularly inspired. At the same time, the Poque, a French adaptation of the German game, appeared in Louisiana at the beginning of the 19th century. The game then spread over the years thanks to merchants who used the Mississippi River to deliver to the rest of the country. Many will say that it is the English speakers of New Orleans who would thus have Anglicized the word “poque” in “poker”, because the two games have great similarities, but the origin of the word is sometimes disputed. Historical sources are scarce and some believe that the word comes from the English “to poke” which means “to tap”.

The first written records

It was in 1829 that we find the first mention of poker in the  Memoirs of Joe Cowell , a British actor on a trip to the United States. According to its description, it was an American game in which each player had five cards. Bets were rife as to which of them had the best combination . Often, poker has been linked to the Persian game “As Nas” which had the same principle, but  this origin has since been refuted, as the first descriptions of the Iranian game are later and date from 1890.

After a few mentions of the game in the 1830s, it was in 1858 that the first rules were put on paper. But most of them are just additions, like  new combinations (more) or the introduction of the draw so that players with bad cards can continue the game.  It was during the Civil War in 1861 that poker took off, thanks to the American soldiers, very fond of this card game. And as we can see in many Hollywood films, the  saloons  of the American West were privileged places to play there and remained in the imagination of the world of poker.

Poker today

Some casinos organize poker tournaments

Over the years, poker has seen many variations. Texas Hold’em has become the most popular of them thanks to television broadcasts of the tournaments . But there is also the Stud, the Omaha or the Draw, which represent its most common and appreciated forms.

Poker is now present everywhere: it is played at home, with friends, in clubs, casinos or on the internet. Considered the national card game in the United States , this game has a particularly interesting psychological dimension. Guessing your opponent’s cards, observing him or even bluffing adds a stimulating aspect that appeals to many players around the world.

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