Poker may be described as the United States national game but its origins date back to ancient European times.
Literature indicates that as early as 1526 the Italians, Spanish and the French were playing a three card game with similar principles as poker. Three of a kind, a pair, and a flush were the common counting combinations in the game. The actual adding of the aspect of betting and bluffing did not occur until around the 1700’s when England and Germany developed their own version of the game.
Poker Comes To America
The further development of poker in France produced a game called poque. Poque was first played in the French American territories in 1803 after the Louisiana Purchase. For the next twenty years the game was adapted by English speaking settlers. A more similar version was established and the then became referred to its known name of poker.
The 1800’s brought on the introduction of the straight, freer betting and the concept of the draw. Poker was popular with the civil war soldiers on both sides and a saloon favorite during the “Wild West” era in America.
Poker in the US was viewed as a gambling game of men of low society for nearly a hundred years. During the 1920’s, its popularity extended to both male and females of all society classes.
The popularity of poker would not be complete without the multiplicity of tournaments. On tournament that stands alone is the World Series of Poker (WSOP). The first tournament was held in 1970 is Las Vegas. Participants were invited to play by WSOP founder Benny Binions. At first, the tournament grew slowly but now has become epic to the game of poker. Today’s prize money has reached well over a million dollars.
All though poker’s roots lie in European times, it migration to America developed a game into a well-loved past time.