Three Success Factors in the Developing History of Poker

By: Gen Wright

Poker is a game with perhaps the richest history that has never been fully known. What is known is that it is an enormously popular game that has spread across the United States and the world at large since its earliest traces were discovered. Today, the World Series of Poker is one of the most popular gaming events in the world. It is a magnet that attracts anyone who has ever played cards with their friends and family at a party or holiday celebration.

There are a variety of reasons why the history of poker has blossomed into a bright present and an even brighter future. Here are a few of the successful factors that have influenced the public's acceptance of this game from its earliest known origins:

1. Origin of poker: Poker derives its roots from the 1700s term "poke," which was used in reference to pickpockets or card sharks known for cheating marks out of money. The "r" was added later, so cheats could have a name for what they were doing that they could share with the others while they were actually doing it. Talk about bold! Based partially on its boldness and partially on how fun it was to play, the game grew in popularity throughout the United States well into the next century.

2. How poker spread: Poker spread in large part due to steamboats, wagons, and trains. All three modes of transportation left passengers with little to do to occupy their time on long treks across land and sea. It fell on poker to keep those passengers entertained. And since the game was something not confined by modes of transportation, it was only natural that the game would find its way to other countries. In fact, it stands to reason that poker did not even originate in the United States. After all, the United States was a nation of immigrants in the 18th Century when it became its own country. How can the U.S. take full credit when it was a mix of long-existent cultures that brought what would become known as poker to America?

3. How poker evolved: Evolution is one of the most essential elements of survival. It doesn't matter if you are talking about biology, religion, or card games. Cultures always add their own unique touches to each institute they adopt. The 52-card deck that poker players use today didn't come along until the 1830s. Prior to that, a 20-card deck was used, which was swiftly followed by a 32-card deck. It seemed the number of cards progressed as popularity continued to grow. Evolution continued to take place in poker, but it happened through other styles of poker rather than in how many cards. "Straight," "draw," and "stud" poker were all different forms of the game by the time of the Civil War. Today, we are still evolving with games such as Texas Hold 'Em.

The history of poker is complete with an origin, a spread, and an evolution, that has ensured its popularity as one of the most viable risk-and-reward games out there. With nearly three whole centuries under its belt, the end may never be near - and that's great news for poker players everywhere.

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