Poker History: The Origin Of Poker

Home » Blog » Poker History: The Origin Of Poker

The history of poker is not like the history of the computers when you can exactly say who, how and when. You’ll rack your brain before you understand how it all began. At first it seems very easy: Jonathan H. Green and his “cheating game” which he described in “An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling” (1843). Attention: Green wrote about the game in 1843.. but there was also Joseph Crowell who described the same game played in 1829. It is known that this game was popular on Mississippi riverboats and involved a deck of 20 cards (aces, kings, queens, jacks and tens). Players bet on which hand was the most valuable. There was another game called Three-Card Monte, which was also very popular among Mississippi gamblers.
Maybe Crowell was the first to reference to this game, but Green was the first to call it poker.
Yes, it is rather easy to consider that it all began with Green. But when you try to get to the point you see so many versions that it becomes impossible to discover the direct ancestor of poker. We can only suppose. Let’s look into the most popular theories:

1. The Chinese Theory. Once upon a time… Emperor Mu-tsung and his wife were playing “cdomino cards” and one day it became poker. If you like the idea of the Chinese ancestor of poker then accept this theory and stop reading this article.

2. The Persian Theory. It says that the game was brought to New Orleans by Persian sailors. The name of the game was “As nas”. Doesn’t sound like poker? In addition to it the deck consisted of 25 cards with 5 suits.

3. The Indian Theory. Even Indians were gamblers! Their poker was called “Ganjifa”.

4. The English Theory. The “Bragg” (or brag) game also could be the ancestor of Poker. One of proofs is that English Bragg incorporated bluffing.

5. The French Theory. Those who settled in New Orleans in 1480 played a card game called “Poque”. And it was the first time when a deck with four suits (spades, diamonds, clubs and hearts) was used.

6. The German Theory. “Ich Poche!” – he cried and rapped on the table. This what distinguishes the pochspiel. The player has two ways: either pass or open by saying “Ich Poche!” and rapping on the table.

It’s clear that all these games brought something to Poker. Poker is a pochspiel, bragg, ganjifa and poque all rolled in one. There are also many disputes about the name of the game, but they are not so serious as disputes about the origins. As for the name. You know two theories: French (Poque) and German (Pochspiel). The other words-ancestors could be: pukka (funny Hindu word), poke (word used by pickpockets), hocus-pocus (magic term… and somebody believes it… maybe magicians themselves?).
Anyway, it doesn’t matter where poker came from. The fact is that it is the number one card game in the world. And the types of poker we know today are not the last ones! Be prepared!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *