How, When & Why Texas Hold’em Gained Popularity

Have you ever wondered how and when Texas Hold’em popularity took over the world of poker? In a small town known as Robstown, quaintly tucked away in Texas’s southeast tip sometime in the 1920s, it is where the game came to be. Not much more is known about it during those early years.      

Humble Beginnings

The year was 1967; the place is Las Vegas,. A young risk-it-all type of gambler by the name of Crandell Adderly stood in front of the Flamingo Hotel & Casino, looking all but defeated. Adderly had been in practically every casino on the Strip trying to convince them Hold ’em was the “thinking man’s game,” a more strategic form of poker.

Adderly, a Texas man who had been playing Hold ’em his whole life saw the game as a business opportunity. He knew the potential and understood the game had a more strategic value than the other forms of poker at the time. 

After all, options were exhausted; Adderly lowered his standards, headed to downtown Las Vegas and started pitching his “thinking man’s game”. One casino decided to give hold’em a chance. The Golden Nugget, a notorious mafia-run establishment, opened in 1947 by Bugsy Siegel. 

By then, Siegel had been a long-time murderer when Adderly walked through the doors in 1967, but it was still known as a mafia-run joint and a tough place to play. It would take another two years for Hold ’em to make its way to the Strip. There it would grab the attention of another Texas gambler who would ultimately introduce the game to the world.   

Benny and Jack

Benny Binion and his son Jack were co-owners of the Horseshoe Casino. The two knew the game was going to be big, and they just needed a way to capitalize on its potential. That opportunity came a year later when they purchased the rights to Gambling Fraternity Convention from fellow Texan Tom Moore in 1969—immediately changing the event’s name and location, which proved to be a big payout. 

The new site was the Horseshoe Casino, which the father-son duo owned together. The renaming of the Gambling Fraternity Convention to the World Series of Poker(WSOP) might have been the most profound idea they had. Ever since the second year of the tournament, it has been the No-limit Texas Hold ’em we know and love today.  

Welcome to the World’s Stage

The game thrived on the Vegas Strip drawing in lifelong fans year in and year out. It even made its first television debut in 1970 on the CBS network. However, it would take a couple of books written in the late ’70s and early ’80s to catapult the game onto the world’s stage. The first book happened to be written by a poker legend. Another heavy hitter from Texas, the one and only Doyle Brunson. 

The book was entitled the Super System, released in 1978. This book changed the way the public viewed and played the game. Then five years down the road, in 1983, another book helped people grasp the game concept.

It was entitled: The Biggest Game in Town, a documentary book. It showcased the World Series of Poker tournament of 1981, written by Al Alvarez. These books were credited for bringing the poker player’s world into the public eye and the start of poker literature.  

Texas Hold’em Popularity took off with the age of the internet. Now Texas Hold’em is being played throughout homes globally. It one of the most popular card games to date.