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Poker - Trivia


The Name ‘Poker’

Although uncertain, there are many theories which take credit for the birth of the name ‘Poker’;

a) Card games have been popularly accounted to the French. As believed by some experts, Poker derives its name from the French game ‘Poque’ that comprised of betting and bluffing and used a deck of cards with the four suits of Spades, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds.

b) Also a German game named ‘Pochen’ or ‘Pochpiel’ is known to have given the name of Poker.

c) As per some historians, the name Poker could have sourced from the Hindi word ‘pukka’.

d) The word ‘poke’ is also believed by some to have come from a popular terms used by magicians, ‘hocus pocus’.

e) Another interesting theory is that ‘Poker’ came from an underworld slang ‘poke’ used by pickpockets in Mississippi, back in the days , where they conned people over a 20-card game.

f) Another possibility states that ‘Poker’ may have indirectly evolved from the Danish word ‘pokker’ referring to the devil.

g) The Texas Hold ’em variant of Poker got its name so because its first game was played in Robstown, Texas around the year 1900.


Origin Theories of Poker

a)  According to a well-known belief, somewhere around 969 A.D., the Chinese game of Dominos similar to Poker was immensely popular.

b) Traces of Poker can be tracked back to Egypt in the 12th or 13th century, where a particular type of playing cards were used to play the game.

c)  The early 16th century saw the ancestors of Poker in a variety of betting games in Persia. ‘Ganjifa’ or ‘Traditional Cards’ were used for these games.

d) The five player Persian game of ‘As Nas’, using a 25-card deck and 5 suits was played in the 17th century. The game involved several rounds of betting and ordered ranking of cards and held most resemblance to the game of Poker.

e) A three card Spanish game known as ‘Primero’ was played in the 16th century. Later it evolved into a German game, ‘Pochen’ and a French game, ‘Poque’ around the 17th and the 18th centuries.

f) The English actor Joseph Cromwell, as known in the Poker history, was the earliest to make references to a game called ‘Poker’. In 1829, he described a card game being played in New Orleans.


Poker Variants

  • Draw Poker: In these variants, the complete hand is dealt to the player before any betting begins. The players may improve their hand by drawing cards as the game progresses. The Five-card-draw is the most popular form of Draw Poker.
  • Stud Poker: In these games every player is dealt a combination of face-up and face-down cards in several rounds of betting, as the game progresses. High-Low stud and  Seven-card stud are two famous games under this variant.
  • Community card poker: Games like Texas Holdem and Omaha Holdem are examples of this variant. Here, each player receives a partial hand and completes the hand with common face up cards dealt on the table.
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