Three Things You Didn’t Know About Poker

The world’s favorite card game has a long history.

poker
Poker has become one of the most popular card games in the world.Michal Parzuchowski

Poker has invaded pop culture in a major way, appearing in many popular movies, and tournaments are known to attract millions of viewers. The card game is so popular that it even made its way into science fiction, being featured in at least 10 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation as a weekly event of the senior staff of the fictional ship’s crew in the 1980s. But the roots of the game date back centuries.

Texas Hold 'em Clay Poker Chip Set

Persian Roots

It wasn’t until the 1800s that the card game we know today began taking shape.Fat Cat

Many historians believe that poker’s roots can be traced back to the 16th century Persian card game As Nas. Others say the game only dates back to the 17th century, bearing a greater resemblance to a French card known as Poque. A key part of Poque involved betting and bluffing, much like our beloved poker. French colonists brought Poque with them when they settled in the Louisiana area, which would later become part of America after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The name would be Anglicized by English-speaking settlers, pronouncing it “poker” as we do now. By 1834, the game had gained the familiar 52-card deck, with five cards dealt to each player, as it is currently.

Casino Poker Chip Set

The Big Boom

It doesn’t take much to be able to play any number of the game’s variations.Homwom

Poker experienced a huge explosion in popularity in the 1980s. In 1987, California expanded the scope of poker games legal in the Golden State, adding the flop games of hold 'em and Omaha to the already permitted draw games. California already hosted more poker games than anywhere else, and adding these variations really bumped that number up. Soon, giant poker clubs like the Commerce Casino and the Bicycle Club began popping up in the Los Angeles area, attracting players from all over the country.

Playing Cards

World Series Explosion

Keep your eye out for fast-handed cheaters during a game.LotFancy

Though the World Series of Poker has been around since 1970, its popularity exploded when the Caesars Entertainment Corporation (then known as Harrah’s) took control in 2004. The introduction of hole-card cameras took the experience of watching poker on television to the next level, giving viewers an in on the action. Soon, millions were tuning in to watch the action. Around the same time, online poker games spread like wildfire. This allowed folks to always find a game—from the comfort of their own home. The rest, as they say, is history.