Poker is arguably the most popular card game in the world today on both land based casinos and virtual online casinos alike. The learning curve isn't steep and there is a skill element involved in the equation so it is not a game based purely on luck. Poker has been around for a good 200 odd years, but there are some poker facts which may still blow your mind and give you a little something to think about.
FACT #1: Poker originated from the USA
If the name Texas Hold em' hadn't already given it away, we are here to tell you that the birth place of poker was America, specifically, New Orleans. New Orleans also happens to be the birth place of Jazz music and cocktails. It is not possible to trace down the exact location of where the first hand of poker was played, but historians confirm that the game was drafted and developed in the Louisiana area.
FACT #2: The early versions of Poker was played with just 20 cards
The poker we have come to know and adore today is played with a full deck of 52 cards. However, in its early days, poker could be played with just a deck of twenty cards and four players.
The game back then was a little less convoluted, the four players were each dealt five cards and the betting would begin on who had the best hand. Historians say the 52 deck card was first integrated as a whole into game from the year 1834 onwards.
FACT #3: A game of Poker once lasted nearly eight and a half years
The Bird Cage Theatre in Arizona claims to have been home to the longest ever poker game that ever ensued. The game supposedly began in 1881 and lasted a staggering eight years, five months and three days. According to the Bird Cage Theatre the players were all well-known wild wild west kind of personalities and the minimum buy in was $1000.
FACT #4: Poker chips and how they came to be
During its infancy, poker was played for gold nuggets, gold coins and even gold dust. It was hard to standardize units due to this and the need for a standard unit soon became apparent. This is when gaming houses and Saloons came up with poker chips. Poker chips used to be made of ivory, bone, clay and wood. The Poker chips used to have designs on it to depict its value. The coins could be exchanged for real money right at the gaming house pretty much just like how it works in casinos nowadays.
FACT #5: The first poker tournament broadcast
It is not uncommon for poker tournaments to be televised all over the globe today, but it was in 1973 that a poker tournament was, for the very first time, televised. The tournament was the world series of Poker which was occurring in Las Vegas.
FACT #6: Poker is the most lucrative sport in the world
We all know how much footballers, NBA players and golfers can make, but what is not as well known is that if you look at the top five biggest prizes awarded in super high roller tournaments the sum of these awards totals up to $44,202,738 which makes poker the most lucrative game in the world by a good margin.
FACT #7: UK poker in the Guinness Book
The largest game of poker to have taken place was in Onchan, Isle of Man. There were 225,000 grinders vying for the top $25,000 in June 2013. The tournament hosted by PokerStars had a $1 buy-in.
FACT #8: The evolution of poker
Poker is believed to have evolved from Dominoes and ranked card combinations. It was back in 969 A.D. that Emperor Mu-Tsung is said to have played domino cards with his wife. What’s more interesting is that bluffing was integral to that game and so it is today.
FACT #9: Food for thought
- Over 300 million 7 card poker hand combinations exist.
- The best poker player will not have more than a 5% edge against another good player.
- The way pro-poker players stack their chips is usually a technique used to fool their opponents.
- Leaning forward or backward is an indication of a strong hand.
- Bluffers use the ‘eye to eye’ aka staring technique to get you down.
- Superstitious poker players gamble in dirty clothes. A sure fire way to success, say some of the legends.
Poker has come a long way from being played with 20 cards for gold dust to where people can play for fun on Facebook or play for real in high roller, lustrous tournaments. Has the game stopped evolving? What will poker be like in the future? We can only ponder!