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The History of Poker

There are many conflicting opinions about the origins of the popular card game poker. The poker game that we know and love so much nowadays probably evolved from different elements of different games.

The origin of the word poker is still very much debated. Most historians and dictionaries claim that it originated from poque, an 18th century French game. Other references point to the German game pochspiel, where players show whether they want to open or pass by rapping the table and shouting, "Ich Poche!" Still other claim that it originated from pukka, a Hindu word.

There are others who believe that the word was derived from the slang word "poke", a word used by pickpockets. The word may have been used by cardsharks who use the cheating game, first described by Jonathan H. Green in 1834, to ease a sucker from his poke. There are also some who believe that "poke" came from the magician's term "hocus pocus."

In his writings, Green referred to what he called the "cheating game," which was then being played in Mississippi riverboats. The game was played with 20 cards, using only the aces, kings, queens, jacks and tens. It was played by two to four people who are dealt five cards each. Because the game at that time was not mentioned in references such as the American Hoyle, Green called the game "poker." Poker would quickly become the top cheating game on the Mississippi riverboats. Through the years, poker grew to include 32 cards until it became modern poker with 52 cards and 2 jokers.

The history of poker is very rich. During the era of the Wild West, poker saloons was found in almost every town and city. Poker saloons soon gave way to gambling casinos all around the world. Poker is now strictly regulated by gambling laws in many US states and in other countries. Still, poker has grown in popularity, as evidenced by big tournaments like the World Series of Poker, where top players compete for lavish prizes and honor.

The growth of the Internet has ensured the continued popularity of poker. Numerous websites offering online poker games have sprouted up, and millions of ordinary people can now play competitive poker in the privacy and comfort of their homes.

Poker is a very popular card game, offering money prizes that rival major sporting events. Whether we like it or not, poker will and shall always be here to stay.


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