Many consider poker as it is played in today to be the most interesting of all the gambling games. Poker differs from most other games of chance in a number of unique ways. Unlike most card games of this sort there is no forced (or very little) betting in modern poker. This results in the winner of any poker match to be determined not just by the chance of the turn of the card, but by the strategy and psychology of the player. In addition to the fact that one does not require the auspices of a casino or “house” for a poker match sets it apart from all its brethren card games.
Poker’s history is often disputed. For much of the last century its origins were clearly attributed to the ancient Persian game of as nas. Hoyle the undisputed authority on all things gaming, as early as 1937 stated “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.” This remained the accepted history until very recently. In the early 1990s historians have come to question this path of the origin of the modern game. In the region of France where Poker is said to have originated there existed a card game called poque with many similarities to poker. The name poker whose origins are also in continual dispute most likely was derived from the German pochen which approximately translates to bluff or brag. Many today give poker a new world origin from the 1700s or possibly earlier, and almost certainly our 52 card version originated in the Mississippi valley and spread rapidly throughout the Continent.
Over the next hundred years or so Poker developed its own language with words like straight and flush most likely added to the games lexicon around the time of the civil war. Also around this time over 100 variants of the basic game seemed to come into existence. Casinos worldwide began to take notice of Poker around the mid 1970s offering almost limitless variations of the game from high roller matches to some of the earliest mechanical betting machines. It seems that Pokers future is insured with the advent of it becoming a spectator sport within the last ten years. TV networks have found that ratings for televised Poker matches often rival those of major sporting events. There now exists a Poker only cable channel in many markets offering all poker all the time. This has resulted in a cadre of professional players often rising to celebrity status. As with most other gambling games many opportunities are now available over the Internet to play poker from the comfort of your own home. With stakes ranging from pennies to thousands of dollars the online Poker universe is varied and growing. Many individuals who do not gamble in any other fashion play Poker today, making it in many ways “the king of the cards”.