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Wednesday, 22 March 2017


Poker is a card game in which two to eight people play (usually for stakes), and try to obtain a hand of five cards ranking higher than those of their opponents. The one with the best scoring hand wins the central pool.

The name Poker is believed to be descended from the 18th century French game poque. However there are also references to the German game pochspiel which also contains an element of bluffing.


Poker closely resembles the Persian game of as nas, and may have been taught to French settlers in New Orleans by Persian sailors. It is commonly regarded as sharing ancestry with the Renaissance game of primero, the French brelan and the English three-card brag.

English comedian Joe Crowell reported in Thirty Years Passed Among the Players in England and America (1844), seeing poker being played on a Mississippi steamboat en route to New Orleans in 1829. The game was played with a deck of 20 cards, using only the aces, kings, queens, jacks and tens. The four players placed bets on which player's hand was the most valuable.

The earliest contemporary reference to poker occurs in J. Hildreth's Dragoon Campaigns to the Rocky Mountains, published in 1836,

Jonathan H. Green, in Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling (1843), mentions rules to what he described as the “cheating game”, which was then played on Mississippi riverboats, on which gambling was a common pastime.

By 1850 the full 52-card English deck was being used, and the flush was introduced.. Meanwhile the game was being spread from the Mississippi to the rest of the country by riverboats.

During the American Civil War, many additions were made, including draw poker, stud poker (the five-card variant), and the straight.

Officers of the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry playing cards in front of tents. Petersburg, Virginia,1864


Jack McCall shot Wild Bill Hickok (James Butler Hickok) in the back as he played poker at a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory on August 2, 1876. McCall was hanged.

Hickock's last hand is said to have included the ace of clubs, the ace of spades and two black eights. This has been known as 'dead man's hand' ever since.

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok, photograph date unknown

President Warren G Harding was obsessed with poker. He once included an entire set of priceless White House china in a bet and lost it.

Richard Nixon was an excellent poker player. He was so good that his first campaign for the House of Representatives was mostly funded by poker winnings from his time in the navy.

The actor Toby Maguire took up tournament poker in 2004. Molly Bloom, who runs the world's most exclusive high stakes poker game, nicknames him 'Hannibal Lecter' because of his ruthless attitude at the table.

Antonio Esfandiari holds the record for the greatest prize money won in a poker tournament. A one-time professional magician, on July 3, 2012 he bagged $18.3 million (£13.8 million) in Las Vegas.

Antonio Esfandiari 2007.jpg 


The game and jargon of poker have become important parts of American culture and English culture. To call someone's bluff means to challenge a person on their stated intention. In the game of poker, (which was formerly known as bluff), calling someone's bluff meant making an opponent show their hand to reveal its value was weaker than the heavy betting suggested.

The potential for Royal Flush in poker is 1 in 649,740.

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