Poker is one of the most popular gambling games in the world. It is played by millions of people around the world and features dozens of television shows and books covering every angle of the game. An interesting and not very well known fact is that the origins of this beloved game are a matter to much debate.
The name poker most likely comes from the French word Poque which in turn comes from the German Pochen, meaning 'To knock'. Throughout human history several games have resembled poker to some degree. The English brag incorporated bluffing and betting and clearly was derived from the French Brelan which in turn shares ancestry with the Renaissance game Primero. Poker also strongly resembles the Persian game As Nas.
Many experts agree that all of these games were combined in the ports of New Orleans, where French immigrants gambled along with Persian sailors and English merchants. This fascinating and diverse ancestry can explain how poker came to be one of the most interesting gambling games there are.
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There are historical sightings of poker being played in early 19th century New Orleans and along the Mississippi. Most experts agree that poker has traveled across America on the riverboats, on which gambling games were a popular pastime.
Thomas Robertson, Editorial Staff
October 24, 2005