In the 1937 edition of Foster’s Complete Hoyle, R. F. Foster wrote: “the game of poker, as first played in the United States, five cards to each player from a twenty-card pack, is undoubtedly the Persian game of As-Nas.”. By the 1990s some gaming historians including David Parlett started to challenge the notion that poker is a direct derivative of As-Nas. There is evidence that a game called poque, a French game similar to poker, was played around the region where poker is said to have originated. The name of the game likely descended from the Irish Poca (Pron. Pokah) (‘Pocket’) or even the French poque, which descended from the German pochen (‘to brag as a bluff’ lit. ‘to knock’).
Development of Poker
It was played in a variety of forms, with 52 cards, and included both straight poker and stud. 20 card poker was a variant for two players (it is a common English practice to reduce the deck in card games when there are fewer players). The development of poker is linked to the historical movement that also saw the invention of commercial gambling. As it spread north along the Mississippi River and to the West during the gold rush, it is thought to have become a part of the frontier pioneer ethos. Soon after this spread, the full 52-card French deck was used and the flush was introduced. Further American developments followed, such as the wild card (around 1875), lowball and split-pot poker (around 1900), and community card poker games (around 1925).
Universal game, offline and online
In the 1990s, poker and casino gambling spread across the United States, most notably to Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 1998, Planet Poker dealt the first real money online poker game. In 1999, Late Night Poker debuted on British television. Poker’s popularity experienced an unprecedented spike at the beginning of the 21st century, largely because of the introduction of online poker and hole-card cameras, which turned the game into a spectator sport. Not only could viewers now follow the action and drama of the game on television, they could also play the game in the comfort of their own home. Broadcasts of poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour brought in huge audiences for cable and satellite TV distributors. Because of the increased coverage of poker events, poker pros became celebrities, with poker fans all over the world entering into tournaments for the chance to compete with them. Television coverage also added an important new dimension to the poker professional’s game, as any given hand could now be aired later, revealing information not only to the other players at the table, but to anyone who cared to view the broadcast.