The Origin of Poker

What is the true origin of poker and how has it gotten where it is today? Poker has come a long way throughout the years; it has proven to be a timeless game. The modern game can be traced back to the new Americas in and around the 1800s.

The origin of poker goes back as far as 10th century China. Poker has made a long journey throughout time; it was the game played by our ancestors, passed down through the generations evolving to what we know and love today.                       

Poker Long Ago

The direct ancestors of poker were traced back to the 1800s in the French Quarter of New Orleans. No doubt brought over by French sailors who played a game called “As,” meaning ace. The English played a card game, “Brag,” and like most things American, the culture combined. The two games made the one-game called Pogue, in which they played with 20 cards.            

Welcome to America

With the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, America acquired the Louisiana Territory, which was a major shipping port. The Gulf of Mexico flows into the Mississippi River and up the continental United States. This is how poker spread throughout early America, which gave birth to the steamboat gambler. 

The Hard Times

And sometime in the mid-1800s, the game went from 20 cards to 52 cards and was evolved into a card drawing game. During the Civil War, the game was wildly popular on both sides; it kept the soldiers occupied during downtime. 

Rough and Rowdy Years

In California, during the gold rush, the game of Five Card “Stud” was the choice of gamblers alike. After the Civil War was over, the nation was reunited, the focus turned towards western expansion, and with that, the game of poker made its way into the Wild Wild West’s culture. The game gained popularity throughout the West, being played in gambling halls and saloon alike. During this time, the game earned a violent reputation. 

It brought criminals, who saw it as an opportunity to lie and cheat to get their hands on other folks’ money. It was hard to find an honest game and usually turned violent due to players trying to cheat, no doubt. Americas saw it as a social stigma in outlawing poker in the United States.

It would not be legal to play poker for another hundred years, but that did not stop the game’s popularity from increasingly growing throughout the years.

And the 19th-century different variations of the game came about, such as Omaha and Texas Hold ’em found popularity throughout America. 


Thanks to the advances in computer technology and the advent of the internet in the late 20th Century, poker exploded on the international scene by introducing online poker sites. 

It is no wonder the game has made such an incredibly long journey throughout history.

The game has helped humanity get through some pretty tough times and some goods too; it was the game that brought us together. And in the end, it is still pretty much the same game. We are all just trying to get the best possible five cards, and if not, to bluff your way to winning that pot.