5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Poker

5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Poker

Everyone’s kind of familiar with poker. From saloons to friendly gatherings and beyond, it’s just part of the fabric of society — and if its current popularity is any indication of its future, then it likely will be for many decades to come. 

In an ocean of games, poker has managed to stand out from the crowd. It’s an accessible, relatively easy-to-learn game that offers plenty of challenge, while its mythology gives it a captivating aura that no other card game can match. Let’s take a look at a few poker facts you (probably) didn’t know, which will serve to make the game even more captivating.

It Has a Long History

Some games come and go. Others last forever. Poker is destined to be in the latter category — after all, it already has a thousand years of history under its belt. The modern game emerged around two hundred years ago, in the first quarter of the 19th century in New Orleans. But that game didn’t spring from thin air; it was a development of other games that were being played all the way back to 10th-century China. 

Or, at least, that’s what some scholars say. Others say modern poker is a descendant of a game played in 16th-century Persia. Either way, it’s a grand old game that has outlived entire empires.

There Are Multiple Versions

If someone asks you to play a game of poker, you might well ask them, "which type of poker?" While we think of poker as a single game, it’s really the name for an umbrella of poker-style games. There’s no way to know how many variants there are, but it’s generally accepted that there are twelve “main” variants. The most common variant is Texas Hold’Em, which is the standard game you’ll find offered in online casinos. However, many leading sites also offer Omaha poker, which is similar to Texas Hold’Em but with a few differences; for instance, each player receives four pocket cards, rather than two. Other variants include Pineapple Poker, Chinese Poker, and Badugi Poker, but it’s unlikely you’ll come across these games unless you go looking for them.

It’s Played Across the World

Poker as we know it grew to prominence in New Orleans, but today, it’s played all over the world. According to one oft-repeated claim, there are 100 million poker players worldwide. The bulk of those players are based in the United States, but you’ll also find plenty of players in Brazil, China, France, and the United Kingdom. Between them, those countries tend to dominate the professional circuit. Online poker is now available in plenty of countries around the world, so don’t be surprised if players from other countries start winning tournaments in the years to come!

But It Wasn’t Always That Way

Poker has a big worldwide following today, but that wasn’t always the case. Up until the 1970s, it was a popular casino game, but it lacked widespread appeal. So, what happened to make it go mainstream, we hear you ask. The development of the World Series of Poker, which turned poker into a spectator game, is credited with introducing poker to a much wider audience. By the 1980s, the game was a mainstay of popular culture, and was routinely featured in movies and television shows; for instance, the fictional senior staff of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D — of the show Star Trek, for you non-nerds — played a weekly game of poker on the show.

It Was The Game of Choice for Some Historic Politicians

Today, it’s not uncommon to see A-list celebrities at the poker table, both in the real world and online. And according to historians, the rich and famous have long had a penchant for the popular card game. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a US President from the 20th century who wasn’t a keen poker player. Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon are all said to have been regular players.

5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Poker
Everything you need to know about online poker

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