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A Brief History of Poker

Chinese Dominoes
The history of poker is thought to have evolved over more than ten centuries from various games, all involving the basic principals of ranked cards or domino combinations and the use of ‘bluffing’ to deceive opponents. One popular belief is that a game similar to poker was first invented by the Chinese sometime before 970 A.D, when The Emperor Mu-tsung is reported to have played "domino cards" with his wife on New Year's Eve.
Egyptians in the 12th & 13th centuries are known to have used a form of playing cards, and in 16th century Persia “Ganjifa” or “Treasure Cards” were used for a variety of betting games. A Ganjifa deck consisted of 96 elaborate cards, often made of paper thin slices of ivory or precious wood. The Persians played “As Nas” which utilized 25 cards, rounds of betting, and hierarchical hand rankings. Ganjifa
Persian Cards A French game named “Poque” and a German game named “Pochen” became very popular in the 17th & 18th centuries, both developed from the 16th century Spanish game called “Primero” which involved three cards being dealt to each player. Bluffing, or betting high stakes while holding poor cards to deceive opponents, was an integral part of the game. Primero dates back to 1526 and is often referred to as “poker’s mother” as it is the first confirmed version of a game directly related to modern day poker. French colonials imported the game to the new world when they arrived in Canada. Their beloved poque was the national card game of France and from the beginning of the 18th century, when a hardy group of French-Canadian settlers founded New Orleans, it spread from the state of Louisiana up the Mississippi river and then throughout the whole country.
In 1834, Jonathan H. Green made one of the earliest written references to poker when in his writing he mentions rules to the "cheating game," being played on Mississippi riverboats. The "Cheating Game" quickly began to supplant the popular cardsharp game of 3-card monte on the gambling circuit. Gamers embraced the new game as it was perceived as a more challenging and 'honest' gamble than the notoriously rigged 3-card game. Green took more than a passing interest in the new game and took it upon himself to formally name and document the 'Cheating Game' in his book 'An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling': Poker was born. steamboat
Poker History During the Wild West period of United States history, a saloon with a Poker table could be found in just about every town from coast to coast. It was extremely popular during the Civil War when the soldiers of both armies played. European influence of poker ended when the joker was introduced as a wild card in 1875. In just over two centuries, poker has never looked back. Since its humble beginning on the banks of the Mississippi, the popularity of this widely played game has grown in leaps and bounds to evolve numerous variations and sub-variations.
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