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History of Poker

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As popular as poker has become as an international 'sport', it is interesting to note that the history of how this wonderful game began is not exactly known!  The word 'poker' has both French and German origins in the words, 'poque' and 'pochen', respectively.

Poker is sometimes said to have descended from the Persian game called 'nas', but in other circles it is claimed that the game of poker is a direct descendant of the English game 'brag'.  Poker, it seems, may be a melding or combination of many different ancient games, although it is impossible to claim any one of these games as poker's sole ancestor.

Poker, in one of its earlier variations, is said to have been played in this country in New Orleans in the early 1800s, but even at this time poker did not appear in the form we know today (played with a 52 card deck and with the same set of poker hand rankings we use today).

By about the mid-1800s, the full 52 card deck that we are familiar with today was introduced and soon thereafter different variations of poker began to emerge.  These variations included draw poker and stud-poker.

Certain split-pot games came about around the year 1900, but there is still some dispute as to whether these games resembled the typical split-pot games we are familiar with today, such as Stud Eight or Better and Omaha Hi-Lo.

Tournament poker was introduced around 1970 with the advent of the World Series of Poker and has become extremely popular in recent years due to expanding television coverage, multi-million dollar tournament purses and online poker tournaments that allow the average, or non-professional, poker player to win his or her entry to multi-million dollar poker tournaments, online.

The history of poker is as fascinating, diverse and inexact as the game itself!  Just as we may not play the same hand the same way twice, or derive an exact, winning poker strategy using mathematics, the history of our favorite game is also somewhat shrouded in mystery.

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