Poker has been on an incredible journey since it first appeared in the 1800s. The game has come full circle, from a simple card game enjoyed by working people on America’s frontier into the high-stakes gambling houses of Europe and Las Vegas and straight back into the mainstream. It now appeals to people from all walks of life, with celebrities often mixing with amateur poker players in tournaments across the globe. Despite its age, it has never lost its appeal, even after going through many iterations and changes.
The first game of poker was allegedly played in New Orleans in 1829, before being taken across the country by the passengers on Mississippi riverboats. Although the game was brought to America by Europeans, who in turn likely borrowed it from an early game from the Middle East called As-Nas, it cemented itself in American history and became associated with frontier saloons, gold rushes and the great journey west.
Before long, poker was becoming the game of choice in the casino. The drama, ease of access and ability to make plenty of money made it popular with the rich and famous and soon it had gained an image of glamour. The French Riviera, Las Vegas and other casinos around the world offered high-stakes poker as one of the main draws of the casino, turning the game into more of a simple diversion. Many different versions of poker began to appear thanks to its worldwide popularity, with variations such as Caribbean, Stud and Texas Hold ‘Em becoming very popular throughout the 20th century.
Poker began changing dramatically in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Hollywood began to take notice and realised that the excitement translated well to film, with movies like the Cincinnati Kid showing just how dramatic a trip to the casino could be. The 1970s saw the first organised tournament play and a more strategic approach to poker, with books like The Theory of Poker showing that poker wasn’t just about chance. The 1980s saw California legalise poker games with a flop and Native American casinos were made possible with the Indian Gaming act of 1988, opening poker up to the masses.
The poker explosion happened in the late 90s however, with online poker taking the game to the next level. Poker players all of a sudden didn’t need to leave the house or visit an expensive casino, with 24 / 7 poker available to anyone with an internet connection and a credit card. The early 2000s were the true halcyon days of poker, with the online revolution in full swing thanks to the dotcom boom and plenty of exposure thanks to televised poker tournaments and a sudden explosion of online gambling advertising.
Poker has continued to be popular and sites like https://www.888Poker.com now provide players with a wide range of playing options. From rich 3D gaming environments to optimised mobile tables, market leading websites even have an incredible live casino feature, with poker dealers broadcast straight to phones and devices to make the virtual casino experience even more realistic.
How the future of poker will look is anyone’s guess. The big opportunity on the horizon is virtual reality, a format that lends itself very well to sitting at a table and online casino game providers will certainly be looking at ways of taking advantage of this new technology. The prevalence of celebs playing poker also needs to continue. More exposure thanks to Hollywood superstars appearing at events like the World Series of Poker will continue to attract the next generation of poker stars. One thing is certain however; poker will certainly need to continue evolving to keep up with the future.