Poker | History of Poker | Zulma Saadoun | ArgentinaCardspiel

Do you know the history of poker? by Zulma Saadoun

With its mysterious & much discussed historical origins some historians believe the roots of poker may go back a thousand years & there is much debate about the cultural origins of this extremely popular game, that range from China to Persia, via France .

One of the most popular theories about the history of poker is that it descended from a sixteenth century Persian game called ” As Nas ” which had 4 or 5 players & used a deck of 20 or 25 cards with 5 suits. This game was extremely popular for the many centuries during which Persian culture had frequent contacts and exchanges with the West, particularly through trade, so it is possible that the origin of the game’s ancestor arrived via one of these cultural exchanges.

It is not only the rules of “As Nas” that differ to the current game of poker in many aspects. The “As Nas “cards were hand painted on cardboard and then lacquered to make them rigid.However, this isn’t the only theory of the origin of poker. Others say poker’s heir was Chinese, where the same character describe playing cards & dominoes tiles alike (wordpái,牌), & was a variant of a Chinese dominoes game popularized by a tenth century emperor.

Meanwhile, many historians theorise that the true origins of poker are European  as it is possible that poker is related to a seventeenth century French game called “poque “, also known in Germany at around the same time as “pochen”.Though it seems that both games could in turn be related to a sixteenth century Spanish game called “first”. These theories rely heavily on the fact that the focus of these games was “bluffing”, i.e. making big bets & thus potentially winning with mediocre cards. In German the word “pochen” is synonymous with bragging or showing off.

Considering this is theoretically possible that the game reached the United States through the French colonies in the south of the country, where the city of New Orleans is located. At this time, the origins of poker are better known and less controversial.

Overall, historians agree that poker would become popular along the Mississippi River around 1800 being played in the vessels of merchandise, in which the culture of card games and betting was rife. Later, during the Civil War the soldiers took the rules of poker from south to north so by the late nineteenth century poker had become a national game. Though this catalyzed its popularity though-out America it was still being played in different ways depending on the rules of the particular territory.It was in the early twentieth century that these rules would be unified to give us the poker format we currently have.

In fact, despite its long history, the popularity of poker never grew exponentially until the very end of the twentieth century, when numerous international tournaments and then it’s inclusion in online gaming platforms catapulted it to the central place in popular culture it has throughout the world today.


Image ‘poker’ by olivier duperray

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