Tracing the timeline of poker’s rise to popularity


The history of poker is long and storied. It has certainly come a long way since its earliest roots as a rudimentary game with betting, bluffing and hand rankings back in the 16th century.

As it was transported across the Atlantic to America, poker only continued to evolve. More rules were added and 52-card decks were introduced which gave players more strategic options to choose from.


While nobody can say for sure where or when poker first started being played, there were other card games like Poque that featured similar elements such as bluffing and betting that were popular in France throughout the 19th century. When French settlers moved it over into North America, it later evolved into what we now know as modern day poker.

When you picture a Wild West saloon or gambling hall, there’s always some rowdy poker table full of cowboys. That’s because it was one of the most popular pastimes during those times. Both Union and Confederate soldiers would gather around playing cards during the Civil War, and it became an activity associated with gangsters, hustlers, and card sharps after that.


Heads up: knowing your stuff about old school poker might just help you outsmart others at a future game night.

While no historian can definitively point to a single card game as the undeniable classic precursor to modern day Texas hold ’em (the most widely-played variation), many believe European games like Poque (a French card game) or As Nas (an ancient Persian game) may have influenced its creation in the 19th century.

Different variations aside – such as seven-card stud or Omaha hold ’em – all forms of traditional poker share some basic rules. The objective is simple: win yourself some dough by having better cards than everyone else.


Like any great idea born from humble origins that grows into a global phenomenon, poker has gone through quite the transformation over time to get where it is today. From informal gambling with real coins and valuables to the introduction of poker chips in the 19th century, it has proven time and time again that it can adapt to changing player preferences.

It’s no wonder people from all corners of the globe continue to discover it and fall in love with it each new generation — poker’s ability to bring us all together is timeless.


The last few decades have been extremely successful for poker. Online platforms that democratized access to games created new opportunities for professional players, new variations of classic poker made the game more exciting for casual players, and televised tournaments put this simple card game on a pedestal as an entertaining social event.

Being able to read your opponents’ moves before they even make them is an essential skill when playing poker – alongside a little bit of luck, it’s what keeps you coming back for more every time you fold your hand. It truly is an engaging strategy-based game that will never go out of style.


Through all of its ups and downs in popularity over hundreds of years, one thing is clear: Poker has always stood the test of time since first popping up around 19th century Europe. Although we don’t know its exact origin story (and probably never will), we’ve learned enough about other related card games like Poque or As Nas that historians generally agree are significant influences on modern day versions.

Riverboat gambling venues on the Mississippi made it famous, and it quickly became a staple of Wild West life and culture. It was often portrayed in films and books as a symbol of risk and strategy.

Online Platforms

Poker was first played online in the 1990s, when software developers created virtual rooms for players to join. Since then, these platforms have been continually improving their services with features that users want, which has attracted new players along the way. In recent years, however, growth has exploded as more people are introduced to poker through friends or family members who play themselves.

Companies that operate online platforms offer value to their visitors in the form of e-commerce sites, social media accounts or financial systems.

While developers worked on making software that could run complex games like poker over dial-up connections throughout the ’90s, the boom didn’t arrive until about 10 years later. Televised tournaments in the early 2000s brought popularity to Texas hold’em; software companies focused on creating similar games for web surfers; and marketing teams spread the word far and wide.


Over time, internet users became more aware of online privacy issues. This gave rise to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin that use advanced math to protect digital footprints by encrypting them on decentralized networks — which keeps them resistant to hacking attacks.

A few popular perks of using cryptocurrency include: instant deposits/withdrawals; zero-fee transactions; and improved game fairness.

Crypto’s hallmark is provably fair games. Card shuffles can now be validated using special algorithms so users don’t have to trust single websites anymore — they can verify everything themselves!

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