When Was Poker Invented & Other Interesting Facts About It

Poker is one of the most popular games in the world, but when was poker invented? The answer might surprise you!

Poker has a long and rich history, dating back to the early 19th century. While the game has undergone many changes over the years, its popularity has only grown. Today, poker is enjoyed by millions of people around the globe. This article will answer the question, when was poker invented?

Timeline and Key Facts

  • A Chinese emperor is believed to have started poker in the 10th century, when he developed Mahjong, a game known as poker.
  • In the 16th century, As Nas was developed by Persians. Primoro was a Spanish translation of their game.
  • Primero is believed have had a direct influence over the French and German poque and pochen games.
  • Poque eventually made its way to America through the Louisiana Purchase. It was then spread by merchants along the Mississippi.
  • Poker was considered a criminal sport by the public. It was not established until 1970, when the World Series of Poker started holding tournaments. The popularity of poker soared and people were able to play online poker with the advent of technology in 2000.
  • Texas holdem is the most well-known variant of poker
  • Modern poker is played using a 52-deck card.
  • The cards can be separated by their suits and ranking of numbers and face cards (King-Queen, Jack-Ace, Queen, Jack, Ace).
  • To play poker in most states, you must be 21 years of age

The Origin of Playing Cards

The of playing cards has remained largely unchanged for the past 300 years. It took hundreds of years of experimentation to reach this point. It was a long, winding road and certainly not linear.

Who invented playing cards?

It is evident that the Chinese had been playing cards by the 9th century AD. Their decks of playing card were not like the ones we have today. They were more like dominos.

The greatest contribution of the Chinese to the evolution of poker was their introduction of four “suits”, which were called myriads, strings, coins, and tens or myriads. Each card had a number between 2-9 and 1-9.

Although we don’t know the exact game play, it is clear that some ideas have influenced later generations.

Origins of Poker: When was Poker Invented?

Historians differ on when was poker invented. Some claim that the earliest ancestor was the 10th century Chinese Mahjong game. Many evidence points to the 16th-century development of the Persian game of As Nas. The game of primero was eventually developed in Spain. This had major influence on the French poque game and the German pochen game.

Thomas Jefferson bought the port of New Orleans from France in 1803, as Napoleon needed money to finance his wars in Europe. This was known as the Louisiana Purchase. It is the reason poker started to be popular in American culture. The deck was changed from 20 to 52 cards in 1834. Poker was revolutionized from that point on.

It’s called Poker because of its name.

The games evolved eventually and the name was changed to Poker. It is likely a regional variant based on the pronunciation of “Poque”.


Poker was initially viewed as a violent game due to the violence it brought. Gambling attracted many criminals and hustlers from the wild west. Gambling was already controversial in the United States. However, it was not until 1970 that the World Series of Poker was established. Benny Binion was the original owner.

Competitions were held at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino. Johnny Moss was one of the first champions in high stakes competitions. Three years after its foundation, the World Series of Poker televised its first broadcast on CBS in 1973. This officially made poker an established sport.


Although no one knows the exact inventor of modern poker, historians know that New Orleans in 1800 is when was poker invented. The 52-card game spread throughout the US and North America because traders and merchants traveled along the Mississippi to play it in other cities. During the Civil War, both rebel and union forces could play poker.

There are many variations of the game, such as stud poker. This was a five-card game that became very popular during 1849’s gold rush. It eventually evolved into a seven-card game. Texas holdem, which was the most popular poker variant, was eventually introduced. This allowed up to 10 players to play.

Poker in America

Riverboats may have played a role in the spread and popularity of the game. The Flush was added in 1850 and a new class of people called Riverboat Gamblers were created. They traveled around the country making a living from the game.

There were many saloons, gambling houses, and even “casino riverboats”, although they weren’t called that at the time. They were located up and down the Mississippi river.

The Role of Poker Chips

Poker chips are the most influential thing that has ever happened in the history of poker. Before chips, players could use any number of small items to place bets. You can use small pieces of silver and gold or paper money. These were These are used in the games.

The standardization for poker currency was a game-changer. Although it didn’t change the game’s rules, it made it so much easier to manage.

Casinos Flourish

Although they weren’t yet considered casinos, there were gambling houses popping up all over the place in the form of the saloon. Poker chips were invented so that players could “buy in” and receive chips to gamble with.

1906 saw the opening of the first “casino” in Las Vegas, on Fremont Street. Even so, it was a difficult period for the company. This was a time of backlash against common vices like gambling and drinking. These same forces eventually led to prohibition. Poker was also banned around that time.


Nevada legalized gambling in 1931. This was not the case in other parts of the country. The majority of other poker establishments in the country remained underground. Poker’s slow growth continued, however.

The Boom

The true poker boom didn’t begin until 1977, when Atlantic City legalized poker. It was the beginning of a series of events that saw poker legalized across the country and led to the birth of Tribal Casinos.

The American casino industry is worth well over 100 billion dollars annually.


The World Series of Poker was established in 1973, when poker became increasingly popular. The popularity of the World Series of Poker quickly grew in the US after it was first televised in 1973. With the popularity of the World Series, larger prizes were also offered. All events paid $2.6 million in prize money to the first-place winners in 1982.

Harrah’s Entertainment bought the company in 2004. By 2006, there had been 45 tournaments and $100m in prize money.

Poker is a popular sport in the US, especially in Vegas. However, it has had a worldwide impact and people all over the globe participate in the game. Here are some countries that play poker.

  • US
  • Canada
  • Brazil
  • Czech Republic
  • Mexico
  • Holland
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Uruguay
  • Morocco
  • France
  • Spain

When was Texas Hold’Em invented?

Poker’s concept of “community card” was not invented until the 1920s. T. “Blondie”, a road gambler, is believed to have invented Texas Holdem. He was actually credited with its invention when Forbes was inducted into poker hall of fame in1980.

How did Hold’Em become so popular?

A group of Texas Gamblers including Amarillo Slim and Doyle Brunson, Johnny Moss and Crandall Addington introduced Texas holdem in Vegas in the 1960s.

The game was so popular that an entire casino was built around it. Of Hold’em. The first World Series of Poker was held at the Golden Nugget in 1970. This tournament saw Texas Holdem become a game. It was the only game that was played the next year. Because it was a perfect combination of skill and luck, it was known as the “thinking man’s game”.

Over the years, the game grew in popularity until the invention of online poker. The floodgates opened.

History of Online Poker

Although Planet Poker was the first online casino, it wasn’t until 2001 that PartyPoker really took off. This was the wild west in online poker, with very soft games that were extremely lucrative for any reasonably skilled player.

Online Poker Today

Although I do not paint a positive picture of the history of online poker it is still a popular hobby that millions of people love. It is estimated that around 40,000,000 people still play poker regularly worldwide. Online poker seems to be here to stay. Governments cannot stop people having fun, just like prohibition.

Refuting myths

There are so many absurd claims made about the antiquity and origin of Poker. It is important to note that Poker cannot be older that playing-cards. Although some evidence suggests that they were invented centuries before that, most of the positive attestations for Poker are from 13th century China. Playing-cards were introduced to Europe in 1360.

They did not originate from China directly, but rather from the Islamic Mamluk Empire, Egypt via the trading port of Venice. Mamluk cards do not originate directly from Chinese cards, but have obscure relationships to the geographically interconnected cards of India (Iran) and (even more obscurely). The original 52-card Mamluk card pack, which included four suits (swords and polo sticks, coins, goblets, and coins), had 13 ranks.

These ranks were numbers one to ten, junior, senior, and king. The only known Chinese card games that were played during that time were those of trick-taking. We don’t have any contemporary accounts of games played with the Mamluk packs, but it was clearly intended for trick-taking.

The development of suit-systems, designs, and structures for playing-cards was a major factor in Europe’s 14th century. This culminated in the establishment of the four main European suit systems (Italian Spanish, German, Swiss, French) and a wide range of accompanying games.

The trump suit is a major European contribution to card play. It was first introduced in Italy in the 1420s as triumphi, or triumph cards. However, it was also used in the German game of Karnoffel. A number of gambling games were also developed during this period, including flushes (Flusso and Flusslen), sequences (Quentzlen), and numeration (as seen in Thirty-One which is the ancestor to Twenty-One and possibly Cribbage).

Although we don’t have enough information to reconstruct the actual forms, numerical and melting games may have been derived from or modelled after dice games of the time.

It is difficult to imagine a Poker-style vying occurring in dice games of the past. Originally, vying was based on being able hide the identity of cards you hold or draw from other players. However, the outcome of dice throws is always visible and open to all.

Cardano noted in 1564 that “There is a distinction between play with dice because the latter is open, and play with cards because they are hidden. Vying card games were still in use in 1500, regardless of whether they were imported from Europe or not. This does not mean that Poker-style vying is a late development. The earliest form of vying may have been more similar to the Brag game.

Vying may have evolved in trick-taking games as an extension to the ‘doubling’ process seen in modern Backgammon. Two players received three cards in ancient card games like Put and Truc. Each player could then offer to double the stakes prior to playing a card. The other player could accept or decline the double offer and continue playing, or he/she could accept it and lose the existing (undoubled), amount.

One problem in card-game history is that current descriptions of vying are often ambiguous. This is partly because they find it easier just to give an example of a round without describing the principles upon which it is based. It also partly because it never occurred that there could be another way. There are two fundamentally different types to vying: the Equalization (Poker) and the Matching (Brag) methods.

Equalization method. To stay in the pot, a player must increase his stake by the amount required to match the stakes raised by the last raiser. He may also raise it further. If he is unable to do so, he must fold. In the following example column 2 shows how many players have staked so far and column 3 the total pot.

1   2 3
A opens for 1 1 1
B 1 to Stay, raise 1 2 3
C 2 to Stay 2 5
D 2 to Stay, raise 1 3 8
A 2 to Stay 3 10
B 2 to Stay, raise 1 4 12
C Fold 12
D 1 to Stay 4 13
A 1 to Stay, raise 1 5 15
B Fold 15
D 1 to Stay 5 16

A and D have now equalized, requiring a showdown. The winner of the pot will win a pot of 16 more than his total stake of 5, making an 11-profit.

Matching method. A player who wants to remain in the pot must match his stake made by the active player before him, and not just make up the difference between the total stake and the stake of the previous raiser. He may raise it again, or, if he is unable to do so, he must fold.

1   2 3
A opens for 1 1 1
B 1 to Stay, raise 1 2 3
C 2 to Stay 2 5
D 2 to Stay, raise 1 3 8
A 3 to Stay 4 11
B 3 to Stay, raise 1 6 15
C Fold 15
D 4 to Stay 7 19
A 1 to Stay, raise 1 9 24
B Fold 24
D 5 to Stay 12 29

The winner receives a pot of 29 less his stake. In A’s case, 29 – 9 = 20, and in D’s case, 29 – 12 = 20.

Brag may have additional variations. A flat rate system is one example. Each player must add a fixed, constant unit to his stake, or else fold. Play continues until there are only two players left in the pot. Then, one can call by placing double. American Brag was played according to an 1830 American Hoyle. However, an 1868 edition points out that the game can be played in different ways and has a different vying process.

A player who brags about holding a pair of cards (but not otherwise) might demand a private showdown against the next active player in the rotation. The two players then examine each other’s hands, without showing them to the other. The lower of the two must then be folded. The game continues until there are only two left. One of them must fold or call for a showdown upon equalizing.

This procedure has the unusual consequence of allowing you to be forced into a showdown even if you have not had an opportunity to raise. Bouillotte allows for equalizing to be used in certain situations. However, it does not always force a showdown. Instead, the next active player in rotation is entitled to initiate another round of raising.

A player who is unable to meet the last raise can call a sight for the amount left and remain in the pot (without further betting) up to a showdown. He cannot win more than what he staked, even if he has the best hand.

Final Thoughts

The road to modern poker has been long and winding. The games are primarily about entertainment and adding joy to people’s lives. Thanks for reading the article on the origins of poker. Now you are aware of when was poker invented and other interesting facts surrounding this great game. Have fun!