A LITTLE POKE WITH POKER
The origin of a certain thing depends heavily on the written or verbal
recorded account of events. There are cases of things that do not have
formal accounts of history and origin primarily because nobody thought
it is important to take note of during that time. The process of
origination rarely takes place except when the event becomes notably
important in the long run.
Just like the case of poker, wherein it does not have a distinct origin
and time frame due to lack of records about when it took place and who
developed the game. There were speculations that Poker might have
started from a single table or from a group of players in a certain
area but may have eventually been passed on to some groups of a
different locality such that no one knows for sure who really started
However, there have been some facts regarding poker, though based on
surmise, which can at least take into account the historical background
of the game.
The history of poker was said to have originated from a former French
territory based on New Orleans some time between 1810 and 1825. This
game of gambling started out from gambling saloons and famous floating
saloons know as the Mississippi steamers.
During those times, poker was known to be a game with four players
having five cards each from a deck of 20 cards. Because of its name,
early players of the game thought they were continuing the habit of
playing a similar game known as Poque, a French card game. Though, most
historians claimed that poker's ultimate antecedent is the German game
called Poch or Pochen, which started during the 15th century.
Unlike poker, poque was played by a maximum of 6 players with 32 or 36
cards in the game. The transition that took place, changing from 32
cards to 20 cards played with four players, might have been influenced
by the French vying game of Bouillotte or by the contemplated Persian
game of As-nas.
Hence, from 1830s onwards, poker had adopted its anglicized name and
eventually spread from all parts of the United States. With a growing
number of players, the game adopted the idea of having 52 cards so as
to accommodate a larger number of players.
In the earliest form of poker, there was no draw, and bets were usually
made on a limited series of combinations. These varieties of
combinations can be one pair, two pair, triplets, four of a kind, and
full, which is the only combination that has five active cards.
During those times, the adaptation of a 52-card poker gave way to the
introduction of another kind of combination known as flush, though
straight was yet unknown.
Between 1830 and 1845, Poker was more and more played by an increasing
number of players. It was during this time when the draw was then
introduced. However, the term draw was already known in poker's English
counter-part, Brag. The addition of the draw and the flush combination
boost the pleasure of the game, thus, a second betting interval was
Another great development of poker was the introduction of "Jack Pots."
In the old poker, jack pots refer to the condition that a player is not
allowed to open unless he has a pair of jacks or better, at the same
time the player is obliged to open if he already has it.
The purpose of introducing jack pots on poker was primarily to enforce
control on the game by lashing out rowdy players who would bet on
anything. This eventually killed the idea of bluffing or bluff from
which poker was originally known.
It was in 1864 when the combination of straight sequence or rotation
was introduced when playing poker. With the addition of straight, an
additional rule was mentioned wherein a straight and a flush
combination will undeniably outranks a full combination. The addition
of straight in poker was an exhilarating development because, as
experts say, without straights and straight flushes, the only highest
possible hand is four aces or four kings and an ace kicker. In the
poker world, this type of combination at hand is not just unbeatable
but cannot even be matched or tied.
Because of these developments, poker consistently progressed and
rapidly expanded by popularity. This, in turn, made poker as the
greatest American pastime. Consequently, poker evolved from gambling to
a game of skills.
And so, even with so many outrageous allegations regarding the ancient
times of poker and its origin, poker is undeniably an ultimate
classical relic of the American history.