Nowadays, anyone can pick up their phone, download an app, and get lost in one, two, or even five poker games with just a few taps on their screen, but do you know how long it took for it to be this way? There are many things that we all know about poker, though the evolution of the game remains to be the most interesting subject of all. As you learn about its history, keep in mind that the game is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Here’s how the mind-boggling evolution of poker took place.
The 18th Century
The most popular account of how poker was developed suggests that it was a combination of an ancient Spanish card game known as Primera, the English card game habit of betting, and the French game of poque. However, as with any event in history, the various accounts differ on what actually happened to inspire the game, but the end product in all accounts is that poker gained popularity in Mississippi, U.S.A. in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Back then, the most popular version of poker was a five-card stud, in fact, there was very little mention of any other versions, up until years after the game was popularized. The main purpose of poker was to make money, and so, betting was always there from the beginning. As for the ranking of poker hands, it’s always been the same ever since the early days, though back then, the combinations were limited to high cards, pairs of one and two, three-of-a-kind, full house, and four-of-a-kind.
The Spread of Poker
When the California gold rush hit, it caused a major economic shift in the country. As a result, the methods of transportation started improving to cater to the increased demand for trips to California and the need for political connection between the states. It was because of this forced cultural blending that the game of poker spread even further across the United States. What helped, even more, was the civil war where the soldiers in both ranks played the game to pass idle time. Naturally, the game found a welcoming host in the west (Hollywood movies were finally accurate for once). Around 1850, the flush was introduced to the hand rankings. Then, as the United States made its way to 1900, variations of poker started appearing.
In the early 1900s, the variation first popped up in the newfound town of Robstown, Texas. Part of what makes this game popular, aside from the action-packed gameplay and the carefully crafted anticipation, is that it was the first game to use a community card. The flop, the turn, and the river, according to the people behind https://beastsofpoker.com, composed the board (the set of community cards on the table). Using those cards, in addition to the two cards in hand, the players sought after the best combination. Needless to say, there were bets being placed before each round in which the cards were revealed.
Poker Goes Mainstream
Texas Hold’em was one of the variations that spread like wildfire. It was quickly introduced to the Vegas casinos in 1963 where it helped put poker in the spotlight. Shortly after, in 1970, the World Series of Poker, an event that would go on to change history, took place. It featured a handful of players in Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, personally invited to play a set of poker games including the original five-card stud and the Texas hold’em. From there, the game hit a fast stride in the mainstream world and lost quite a large portion of the negative stigma associated with it. The two undeniable proofs are the televising of the 1973 World Series of Poker and the poker boom. It was in the late 1980s after the state of California had legalized stud, Texas hold ’em, and its other variant the Omaha hold’em.
In 1998, on the first of January, the first online poker game was launched. For a while, it was only the one online room where players could compete for real money, but that simple venture opened the doors for many entrepreneurs and poker enthusiasts. Nowadays, one can play all sorts of poker games online created by countless developers, for real money or in-game currency.
As you can see, the game of poker undertook quite a journey to get to the place it is in today. It’s particularly interesting how the dominating socio-economic climate during the game’s early days managed to propel the game forward in terms of popularity. Without it, we might have never seen variations like the Texas Hold’em. Thankfully, the game managed to spread across the world, and it continues to attract more players to this day.