The game of poker is one of the best-known and most popular card games in North America. In the U.S. it became exceedingly popular in the mid 1830’s, originally spreading from the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to the east coast via the railroads. The game has remained the same for many years; the last significant change was the introduction of the jokers as wildcards in around 1875.
Video poker is a close relative of the regular game of poker and is derived from a combination of slot machines and five-card draw poker. The major differences between regular poker and video poker is that you are playing against a machine rather than real people, and your goal is to achieve particular hands rather than beat opponents hands (as there are no other players).
The game of video poker is only possible because of the invention of the computer chip, thus it has only been around since the mid 1970’s. Video poker is a term used to refer to several similar games of poker. Each game has slightly different rules and payoffs, but all are played in a similar fashion.
The origin of Poker is widely disputed. There are as many possible birthplaces as there are variations of the game. The most popular belief is that it was invented by the Chinese around 900 A.D., possibly derived from the Chinese dominoes. On New Year’s Eve, 969, the Emperor Mu-tsung is reported to have played “domino cards” with his wife.
Others state that Poker originates from the Persian game “as nas”. This is a 5-player Persian game, which requires a special deck of 25 cards with 5 suits. However, this is only recorded back to the 17th century. Another theory calls on the French “poque”. The French who settled New Orleans around 1480 played Poque, a card game involving bluffing and betting. This was stated to be the first use of a deck consisting of spades, diamonds, clubs, and hearts.
Fragments of cards have been tentatively dated to 12th or 13th century in Egypt. Some propose that modern cards originated from the Indian card game of Ganjifa. We can see that narrowing down the exact origin becomes as difficult as pulling a royal straight flush.
The history of poker in the United States has a bit more consistency. Poker traveled from New Orleans by steamboat up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The game then spread via wagon and train. Modifications such as stud poker, the draw, and the straight became popular, during the Civil War. European influence of poker ended when the joker was introduced as a wild card in 1875.
In 1910, Nevada made it a felony to run a betting game. The Attorney General of California declared that draw poker was based upon skill and therefore the antigambling laws could not stop it. But stud poker was illegal, as it was based solely on chance. With this decision, draw poker games developed and grew. This caused Nevada to reverse itself in 1931 and legalize casino gambling.
Through all the varied theories on the origin of Poker, one thing comes shining through. This is a game which has stood the test of time and becomes more rich and full with each generation. That is the joy of “Dealer’s Choice” poker. Each person who makes their own variation adds another piece to the vast and fascinating history of poker.
A poker betting player faces some tough decisions on many occasions. He usually has four choices to make: check, bet or call, raise, or fold. To make a wise decision, the player needs to establish the approximate expectation of each possible move and choose the one that has the best return, if any, or simply fold.
Calculate the odds against you, and if the return is greater than the odds, make the bet. If the odds are in your favor, bet as heavily as you can.
Because there is a lot of psychology involved during a game of poker, psychological strategy is very important.
Regularly varying your play is considered a good poker tactics. This means that sometimes you have to ‘Bluff’ and you should do it tactically, not just for the sake of bluffing. The aim is to make it harder for the other players to be able to ‘read’ your cards or guess your intentions when it matters.
Therefore, the most important thing a poker player must do is NOT to form a pattern of play.
The next important thing is body language and talk. Both of these can reveal a lot of how strong (or weak) your hand is. Over the time players can develop the ability to ‘translate’ your body language and what you say, into meaningful insight of what hand you might have.
Remember, poker is about being able to win big pots, not just getting the highest hand. Being able to disguise your play is probably the most valuable asset you can have as a poker player, closely followed by the ability to memorize played cards and be constantly aware which cards are ‘Live’ cards.