“Poker may be a branch of psychological warfare, an art form or indeed a way of life – but it is also merely a game, in which money is simply the means of keeping score.” (Anthony Holden)
Poker, which is now the most played game in casinos all over the world, took its origin from New Orleans in 1829, as reported by English actor Joseph Crowell. It was initially played with a deck of 20 cards and 4 players. All 4 players bet, on which players’ hand is most valuable. From New Orleans, poker spreads like a virus to Mississippi, where gambling has the status of the most common pastime or hobby, and from there all over the west course. With time and depending upon the local tradition of the countries, rules and techniques of poker have changed. These days, mostly it is played on 52-card deck and number of players may also vary.
However with time many variants come into play, especially during American Civil War, like stud poker, straight, wild cards (in 1875), lowball and split-pot-poker in 1900 and community card poker games in 1925. In this era, after the World Series of Poker in 1970, tournament games were started in American casinos. Since 1980, poker has become a commonplace recreational activity and become the symbol of modern culture. However, in 1990s casino gambling and poker become centered in Atlantic City, New Jersey and Las Vegas. Due to increasing interest of common men, online poker games are now in play, and this has largely increased the number of poker players as now everyone can play the game with all the action and drama at their own convenience and timings.
Following the increased spike in popularity, new poker tours have emerged, notably the World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour, which are televised and sponsored by online poker company PokerStars, which is now also financing for Latin American Poker Tour and Asia Pacific Poker Tour, as well as other national tours.
As poker become an industry, with a huge market everywhere, this lead in 2009, to the formation of the International Federation of Poker, in Lausanne, Switzerland, which has now become the official governing body for poker and promoting the game as a Sport.
The International Federation of Poker has announced plans for two new events, “The Nations Cup”, a poker team event, and “The Table”, the invitation only IFP World Championship, featuring roughly 130 of the world’s best poker players, in an event to find the 2011 official World Champion.
Today poker is played worldwide, in all casinos. Poker strategy books are also available in market and many sites are available on Internet that guides you how to be good at poker.. Pioneers of the poker literature are believed to be Doyle Brunson and Mike Caro who wrote Super/ System and Caro’s Book of Poker Tells. It is expected that in coming years, a lot of new championships will further open doors and poker will not just be considered a game of time-pass but a PROFESSION world-wide.