Poker - History of the Game and its many Variants

The chances are that everyone has seen at least one game of poker in their lives - either they've played themselves, or watched someone else play, or have seen it in movies or on TV. Poker is big business these days, thanks to the advent of online poker and the increased popularity of huge poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker. In this article I will give you a quick overview of how all this poker-playing began, as well as to introduce you to some of the most popular forms of the game.

Poker is thought to have originated in New Orleans, in Louisiana, in the early part of the 19th century, and quickly spread across the USA. Forms of Draw Poker became popular in the 1850s, followed by Stud Poker in the 1870s, and finally Community Cards Game in the 1920s. All games follow the same principle - you bet on the strength of your hand against the strength of other players' hands. It's usually only the way that betting is performed and how a final hand is arrived at that is different.


The original version of poker is now seldom played. In it, each player is dealt five cards, then they bet on how strong they think their hand is. Players can fold their cards and withdraw from the deal at any time. Players reveal their hands if "called", and the highest ranked hand takes the pot.

Draw Poker

For many years this was the most popular version of poker. Players are dealt five cards, then a round of betting takes place. Once this is complete, each player is allowed to switch any number of their cards with fresh cards that are dealt from the deck. Another betting round takes place, and then all players remaining in the deal show their cards and the highest hand wins. In some versions, more than one "draw" takes place.

Stud Poker

Stud poker is a version of poker where a player receives some of their cards face up, and some face down. The number of face up and face down cards varies depending upon which version of stud poker is being played. The most common version is 7-Card Stud, in which players are dealt two cards face down, then four cards face up between each betting round, followed by one final card face down. Each player makes their best hand from five of the seven cards they have been dealt.

Community Card Games

These are now the most popular type of poker games mainly thanks to online poker play. In community card games each player is dealt a set of cards face down, then cards are dealt face up in the center of the table that can be used by all players, with betting rounds between each card being dealt. The most popular poker game by far - Texas Hold'em poker - is a community cards game in which players receive two "pocket" or "hole" cards and five community cards are dealt. They make their hand from five of the seven cards available. In Omaha each player receives four pocket cards and there are five community cards. Each player must make their hand from exactly two of their own cards and three community cards.

These are the basic details of all the most popular poker variations. If you're playing online poker, then more than likely you're going to be playing Texas Hold'em, but for the sake of a little variety, it's useful to know some different poker variations if you fancy a bit of a change. Whatever variation of poker you choose - good luck at the tables!

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