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The History of Poker
Poker evolved from a combination of several different games over the course of more than 1,000 years. These “pre-poker” games used the same or similar tactics of “bluffing” and ranked card or domino combinations. Some people believe that the game was first invented by the Chinese in the 10th century. Emperor Mu-Tsung is said to have played a game of “domino cards” with his wife on New Year’s Eve. In later centuries, the Persians used “Treasure Cards.” These elaborate cards were often made from ivory or precious wood cut into paper-thin slices.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the French and German versions of the game were invented. These were called “Poque” and “Pochen,” respectively. Both these games were variations of a Spanish game called “Primero.” Betting high stakes while holding a poor hand of cards was as integral to this game as it is to poker today. Primero is often called “poker’s mother” as the version of the game closest to what we know as poker in the 21st century.
Poker was introduced to North America when the French brought it with them to Canada. From the founders of New Orleans, the game spread through Louisiana, up the Mississippi River and throughout the country of America. The Wild West era of the country saw a poker table in nearly every town across the nation.
There are many variations of the game of poker. Below are just a few.
Five Card Draw
Five Card Draw was popular during the Civil War and lasted for nearly a century. Five Card Draw is played with and without wild cards.
Seven Card Stud
Seven Card Stud made its debut at the beginning of World War II. This version of poker remained popular for approximately 40 years with the help of the thriving Las Vegas casino industry. Other versions of this particular game include RAZZ and Seven Card Stud High-Low.
Texas Hold ‘Em
Texas Hold ‘Em is by far the most popular poker game in existence today. The game rose to fame in the 1970s when it was featured as the title game in the World Series of Poker. Texas Hold ‘Em continues to be the most well-loved and frequently-played poker game in the world.
Omaha is considered a game for those who want plenty of action in their game. Players of Omaha are known for their liberal splashing of chips around the table. Multi-way pots and frequent raising make the game very dynamic. Omaha differs from other types of poker in that you are only allowed to use two of your four down cards to make a hand. The other three must come from the community cards on the table.
Manila, also known as Seven-up Poker, is played with a stripped deck. All cards below the rank of seven are removed with 32 cards remaining. Like Omaha, players are required to use two of their hole cards and three community cards to make a hand.
In the 19th century, poker players would use anything small and valuable to play poker. These things ranged from jagged gold pieces to coins. The first poker chips came into use during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These chips were made from clay and could be in virtually any color desired.
Modern poker chips are made from a composite of clay, sand, and chalk. The process used to create the chips is a trade secret with slight variations from manufacturer to manufacturer. Poker chips are also made with ceramic and are available to both casino and home markets.
Poker chips are used in place of money in casinos to decrease the risk of theft. When you buy into a poker game, you exchange your money for poker chips. The value of the chips depends on the type of game you’re playing. If you’re participating in a tournament, you may receive $1,500 in poker chips but only pay $60. This $60 becomes part of the prize pool. The chips you purchased hold no cash value, so you are unable to exchange them.
If you’re playing a cash game, the poker chips hold an actual cash value. If you buy $1,500 in chips, you will need to pay $1,500. You can exchange your poker chips for cash at any time. If you trade change during a game, be sure that the amounts given and received are accurate.
The color of the poker chips denotes monetary value. Green poker chips are worth $25, red poker chips are worth $5 and black poker chips are worth $100. When you’re playing poker, your chips must be organized in stacks of five, 10 or 20 a few inches from your cards to permit all players to see how much you can lose or win. Under no circumstances may poker chips be hidden by a poker player. Poker chips must also remain on the table throughout the course of the game unless you intend to “cash out.” Some casinos permit the use of chips along with cash. Players are often only allowed to use $100 bills.
If you want to keep a poker chip as a souvenir, go right ahead! There are no laws against taking poker chips home with you.
Poker can be an enjoyable way to spend your time and make new friends, but there are certain rules that should be followed to ensure that it remains pleasant for all involved.
- If you’re making a bet, place your chips neatly in the pot. Don’t dribble them one at a time or throw them. Once your chips have been released or crossed the “betting line,” they are no longer yours.
- Wait until it’s your turn to act. Don’t jump ahead of others.
- No flirting at the table.
- Choose your words carefully. Cursing and swearing at the dealer or the other poker players will not be appreciated.
- Play at a reasonable speed. Don’t make the other players wait for you.
- Keep cell phones quiet. If you must speak to someone, move away from the table and be brief. Some casinos do not permit the use of electronic devices during games.