The roots of the modern game “poker” are thought to have been put down many hundreds of years ago. Certainly, there was a similar game, called “Pochen”, in Germany by the 15th century, and another in France, called “Poque”.
It was also France that gave us the suits in the standard decks of cards that are still used today. The suits represent different parts of French society of the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: spades are for the kingdom, diamonds for traders, hearts for the clergy and clubs for the populace.
It seems, though, that we owe the game that we today understand as Poker not to Europe but to America. It was the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom who published the rules to draw poker, in 1872, and this was followed eight years later by the emergence of Texas Hold ‘em – still the most popular version of the game. Around the turn of the century (1896), a magazine called “Poker Chips” began publication, and the first full-length, official handbook hit the presses in 1904, courtesy of R.F. Foster and his tome “Practical Poker”.
Nowadays, people around the world play this game, and although Texas Hold ‘em remains the most popular, it’s by no means the only variant. Here are some of the others:
- Omaha Poker
- Omaha High-Low
- Five Card Draw
- Seven Card Stud
- 2-7 Draw (Triple or Single)
Poker Rules – Easy to Learn, But Mastery Requires Dedication
Many people can be put off playing poker because they think the rules are complicated. In fact, poker rules are fairly basic, and there are common elements that cover every variety of the game. In short, each player receives a number of cards, which they use as a base to build the best hand possible. To do this they may make different plays (such as fold, check, raise, call and place bets), all the while trying to bluff their opponents into thinking they have better or worse cards, and to second guess what the other players are holding.