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