- Texas Hold'em
- Omaha Hi Low
- Pai Gov
- Draw Poker
- Stud Poker
- Eight or Better
- Missisippi Stud
- Kuhn Poker
- Oxford Stud
- Royal Holdem
- Double Board Holdem
- Iron Cross
- Tic Tac Toe
- East Village
- Lame Brain Pete
- Six Pack
- Mexican Stud
- Six-Card Stud
- Blind Stud
- No 9.
- Gardena Jackpots
- Q Ball
- Spit in the ocean
- Duplicate Poker
Poker, as a game, is quite an ancient one, though, in its present form, it’s somewhat of a more recent phenomenon.
Nobody can actually put their finger on when and where this formidable game, that blends chance and skill so harmoniously, originated, but researchers did come up with a couple of possible scenarios that might have led to the appearance of poker as we know it today.
Poker seems to have a lot in common with the Persian game of As Nas, a game played with a 25 card deck and 5-suited cards, though its name seems to come from an entirely different source.
It would appear that, when Europeans first adopted some version of As Nas, they named it after a game that they had had themselves, and which had been based on a similar bluffing system as poker.
Germans had a game called Pochspiel, in which players were supposed to signal by knocking (Pochen) on the table whether they were in on a hand or not. According to some, the French word “poque” has also had an influence on the eventual name of the game.
Theory has it, Persian seafarers taught the game to French settlers in New Orleans, that would explain the above mentioned French connection and it also fits in nicely with the fact that the game of poker first spread into mainland America via the Mississippi riverboats. The move is well documented by Jonathan H. Green is his book, which appeared in 1843 under the title: ‘An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling’.
Earlier accounts of the game being played in Louisiana in 1829, were by actor Joseph Crowell.
Back then poker was played with a 20 card deck, and it became known as an unscrupulous means of money extortion used by the sharps against the ever so optimistic wannabes.
These "sharps” had no regard for anything, their primary goal being to make money off the game. They couldn’t care less about who they were playing as long as they could hussle someone, and thus gambling managed to break down social barriers that were simply impossible to demolish any other way at the time. They found no shame in winning money from the wealthiest of suckers as well as from black slaves and homeless bums.
Because of the fact that - in the beginning - poker was played with a single betting round (after five cards had been dealt to each player) it seemed to lose out to the more popular faro as far as profitability went. The multiple betting round system was introduced by professional poker players in order to enhance the amount of money turned around by each hand. This is how the Draw was born.
After they’d been driven out of most frontier towns by the 1830s, sharps had nowhere to go but back to the riverboats and the good old Mississippi. It was time for poker to live its second childhood and get a complete remake under the hands of these skillful professionals.
The California Gold Rush provided the final westward thrust for poker, as it once again became wildly popular among crowds of golddiggers seeking to get rich quick.
Not long after the second westward spread poker had seen , the modern 52 card deck appeared and the flush was introduced. It was during the American Civil War that Poker started branching out into many different variations. (more on these further down this page).
Whatever the case, one thing is certain: the home-land of poker on the North American continent is Louisiana, with close ties to the Mississippi river.
The global popularity of the game, especially it’s push into Asia, is largely attributed to the American Army and Navy. Wherever they went, soldiers took their favorite pastime with them, and taught it to friendy locals.
Compared to the game itself, its most recent offspring, online poker has obviously a lot less history to look back upon. Because of the difficulties posed by the online implementation of such a complicated game, online poker fell third to online sportsbooks and online casinos which appeared in the mid 90s, while the first ever online poker room (Planet Poker) was established as late as 1998.
Their rake system is still being used by the majority of - now bigger - online poker rooms.
Planet Poker was followed by Paradise Poker in 1999, and Poker Spot, the first ever poker website to offer online poker tournaments. Because of the problems Poker Spot had experienced with the credit-card companies it needed to collect money from, it soon went bankrupt going down in an online media frenzy.
The emergence of e-cash processing companies (like Neteller) has made it easier for poker rooms to collect cash and redistribute it, thus making their operation a lot easier and more profitable.
This newfound identity helped online poker to virtually outgrow its ancestors and become the No. 1 player in the online gambling industry. Nowadays people from world over can easily log onto any computer connected to the internet and be rolling the chips in notime with players from the other side of the planet. The wild boom of online poker has made a whole set of connected internet activities flourish as well. Websites offering poker room reviews, giving rookies direction and detailing different poker strategies have blossomed everywhere. Websites offering their players online poker rakeback, and still other websites directing their visitors to the best rakeback offers have also become a major part of the industy. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Act of 2006 passed in September, has cut the wings of the phenomenon a bit in the U.S. but in the longrun, it’s bound to have little influence on how the game as a whole will develop in the future. Since its goal is to limit the share of offshore poker companies in profits generated by the American public, and not the limitation of the game itself, it’s a far cry from the near-fatal blow many hyped it to be shortly after its enactment.
Online poker - by its nature - is an altogether different type of ballgame compared to real life face-to-face, Brick and Mortar poker. Don’t you, for a second, believe that if you’re a really good poker player you’re bound to cash in online with the same ease you do offline… Most of the clues one can use in a real poker game to read the opposition are obviously not there in online poker, and many other factors that aren’t an issue in real poker, press down a lot harder on online poker players. Some people say online poker isn’t even poker anymore. I do agree that it is different, though I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a completely different game. It is the same game, only played in an entirely different environment and with a gameplay obviously adapted to this fact.
The real boost in popularity for online poker came in 2004, when a virtual nobody, (Chris Moneymaker) managed to win a seat in the WSOP through a satellite online tournament organized by PokerStars. Later he went on to win the WSOP and walk away a millionaire. This was exactly the type of success story that would encourage millions of people to take up poker worldwide, and since most of these people lived hundreds of miles from the nearast brick and Mortar poker room, online poker was the weapon of choice.
Upon hitting an online poker room, one will imediately notice that there is are more than one type of poker on offer. Yes, indeed, there are many variations of the game, but the basic structure they work is either similar or very much like that of Texas Holdem, the most popular variant.
These poker spinoffs can be categorized, after the basic setup of play they follow, into:
1) Draw Poker - in games belonging to this category players will receive a full hand from the get go, and they’ll have the possibility to exchange certain cards at given times during a game.
Draw poker as a class includes the following games:
- 5 card draw
- Jacks to open
- California Lowball
- Jacks back
- 4 before
- Q ball
- Shot gun
2) Stud poker - in Stud poker games players are dealt their cards one at a time during the course of the game. There will be absolutely no changing of the cards ( unless someone cheats that is…)
Stud poker games:
- 7 card stud
- 6 card stud
- eight or better
- The Bitch
- No 9
3 ) Community card poker - in this class belong games that have a certain number of community cards laid out on the table for everyone to see. Players are supposed to make their hands using these cards and the cards they receive face down ( hole cards or pocket cards)
- Texas Holdem
- Omaha Hi-Lo
4 ) Pai Gow
As we mentioned earlier on this page, following the “Big Poker Bang” of 2004 online poker rooms surfaced everywhere on the internet, offering incentives, bonuses and frankly: whatever else they can to attract as many players as possible.
The reality of the situation is, that many of these poker rooms are straightforward trustworthy operations, while many others are less so. How would you feel if, after a superb beat that you’ve had, you had to wait for a few months to actually cash in on your winnings? You’d pretty much loose all your appetite for the game wouldn’t you?
Simply going on to a different poker room won’t be of much help either. What guarantees would you get, that the other site will be any better than the previous one. Fortunately there are websites whose sole purpose is to guide players into the right poker rooms and to slam the ones that are not trustworthy.
We have a section dedicated to the best poker rooms around, so waste no time, check it out and make sure you play where you’re respected.