10 facts about poker and its history you should know

 (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Card games have been an excellent way for people to spend time for hundreds of thousands of years. Playing cards were invented in China before AD1000, and they made their way to the EU in 1360. One of the oldest card game references is a game called the 'leaf game'. 

With that being said, there are as many as 10,000 card games, depending on what you classify as a card game. From the inception of the 52-card deck, we have seen games like Solitaire, Teenpatti, Blackjack, Patience and Poker. Of all the 52-card games across the world, poker is the champion in terms of popularity. 

Poker is now played by professionals, amateurs, both at land-based casinos and many play poker online. So, what makes poker so popular, how old is it, and what was the biggest ever poker win? 

What year did poker start? 

Poker has been around since 1829 and started in New Orleans by French settlers. The game involved bluffing your way to a win or bets originally called ‘Poques’, which was similar to today's draw poker. 

Joseph Cowell reported the game was played in 1829, with four players betting on the most valuable hand. By 1837, Hoyle, R.F. Foster noted that the game of poker, as it was played in the US, was 5 cards per player, from a 20-card deck. The game spread like rapid-fire, and shortly after, the 52-card deck we are familiar with today was introduced. 

What is the longest game of poker ever?

You might have played a few games that seem to last forever but perhaps only last a few hours in the evening. The Bird Cage Theatre in Arizona claims that it is the home of the longest ever game of poker. The poker game started in 1881 and lasted an incredible 8 years, five months and three days. 

The minimum buy-in was $1000, and it was played by very well-known wild west personalities like Diamond Jim Brady, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Legend has it that over $10 million changed hands over the 8 years, and 10% of that went to the Bird Cage. 

Poker is the most lucrative sport in the world

Football, baseball, and basketball are all notable high-earning sports. However, when pitted against the five most significant cash prize awards in the super-high roller tournaments, they do not match up. The sum of the awards for poker is more than $44.2 million, securing poker as the most lucrative sport in the world. 

In 1993 the WSOP Main Event poker match was the first tournament to have a prize pool of 1 million dollars. 

What is the biggest ever poker win?

There are several notable poker wins that increased pokers popularity globally. 

The biggest prize belongs to Antonia Esfandiari. 

Antonio entered the 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop, which was a $1 million buy-in, and he walked away with a record-breaking win of $18.3 million.

When was the first-ever online poker game?

Online poker, as advanced as it is to play now, is relatively young. Online poker started on January 1st, 1998. There were several places to play poker before these legitimate poker websites, but January 1 called in a new era. 

Money was able to change hands, and it is reported that the first online hands of poker were $3/$6 Limit Hold 'em games. 

Where does the term 'Passing the Buck' come from?

The phrase "Passing the Buck" may have originated from poker during the American Frontier era. A knife with a buckthorn handle was how it was indicated who would be the dealer. 

If a player did not want to deal, they would pass the buck to the next player. Nowadays, the term is used for passing the responsibility onto someone else.

When was poker shown on TV?

The World Series of Poker was shown on TV in 1973. It was celebrated in a big way as it was the first-ever televised poker event. Showing poker on TV further pushed poker into the spotlight and increased its popularity once again. 

You can now find a range of Twitch streamers streaming their live poker matches, truly taking poker into modern times.

Who was the most secretive poker player?

Isildur1 had a reputation that precedes them. They would play any player and create a buzz, unlike any poker player before them. 

In 2009, Isildur1 was a legendary name, and it appeared to come from nowhere and had zero sponsorship. Isildur1 beat Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey and Patric Antonious and many other poker stars of the time. With this, other players decided to break down Isildur1's play and analyze how his run was so spectacular. 

We now know that Isildur1 is Viktor Blom, and he had managed to create interest and a sense of excitement in poker like never before. What made Isildur1 so awe-inspiring is his aggressive playstyle won him over $2 million from just $2000 in a short space of time. Also, it is believed that Viktor Blom has made in excess of $6 million to date. 

The Black Friday of poker

On April 15th, 2011, the Department of Justice seized the domains of some of the industry leaders in online poker. At the time, many poker players left large sums of money in their accounts, and they were not sure if they would get them back. Within a few days, it was announced that the US players would be impacted. It rocked the world of online poker. 

The Black Friday of poker changed the game for millions of players and ended with some convictions. 

How many people play online poker today?

According to the World Series of Poker, there are 100 million people playing poker online, and over 60 million of that is in the USA. All of those historical moments make poker one of the most popular ways to spend time both online and offline. 

Poker's history dates back centuries and is set to keep growing for years to come. No doubt adding more exciting things to poker's already rich history.