POKER SCHOOL

 

History of Poker: 

The history of poker is a matter of some debate. The name of the game likely descended from the French poque, which descended from the German pochen ('to knock'). Yet it is not clear whether the origins of poker itself lie with the games bearing those names. It closely resembles the Persian game of as nas, and may have been taught to French settlers in New Orleans by Persian sailors. It is commonly regarded as sharing ancestry with the Renaissance game of primero and the French brelan. The English game brag (earlier bragg) clearly descended from brelan and incorporated bluffing (though the concept was known in other games by that time). It is quite possible that all of these earlier games influenced the development of poker as it exists now.

English actor Joseph Crowell reported that the game was played in New Orleans in 1829, with a deck of 20 cards, four players betting on which player's hand was the most valuable. Jonathan H. Green's book, An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling (G. B. Zieber, Philadelphia, 1843), described the spread of the game from there to the rest of the country by Mississippi riverboats, on which gambling was a common pastime. As it spread up the Mississippi and West during the gold rush, it is thought to have become a part of the frontier, pioneering ethos.

Soon after this spread, the full 52-card English deck was used, and the flush was introduced. During the American Civil War, many additions were made, including draw poker, stud poker (the five-card variant), and the straight. Further American developments followed, such as the wild card (around 1875), lowball and split-pot poker (around 1900), and community card poker games (around 1925). The spread of the game to other countries, particularly in Asia, is often attributed to the U.S. military.

The game and jargon of poker have become important parts of American culture and English culture. Such phrases and clichés as ace in the hole, ace up one's sleeve, beats me, blue chip, call one's bluff, cash in, high roller, pass the buck, poker face, stack up, up the ante, when the chips are down, wild card, and others are used in everyday conversation, even by those unaware of their origins at the poker table.

Modern tournament play became popular in American casinos after the World Series of Poker began, in 1970.


The Basics of Poker 

The basics of poker are simple. The object of the game is to win the pot - or the sum of money being wagered throughout the course of a game (minus the 'rake').

Winning is possible in the following ways:

  • You have the best hand, 

    or                    

  • You bluff your opponent into thinking that you have the better cards and he folds.

Every poker game starts with some or all players putting a certain amount of money or chips into the pot. This initial obligatory bet, or fee, is called the “Ante” or “Blind”. An ante is when every player puts a fixed nominal percentage of the minimum stake into the pot - as is the case in Seven Card Stud.

If a blind is required (like in Texas Hold’em or Omaha), the two players to the left of the dealer (designated by the 'dealer button') will start the pot, clockwise from the dealer, with the first player placing the small blind (half the minimum bet) and the next player placing the big blind (the minimum bet). Rotation assures that every player gets their turn to post blinds.

Now it's time to deal the cards. Once you have paid your blinds, there are no more mandatory wagers to be made and you can then take the various opportunities to decide whether or not you wish to play on or fold. You can bet as much as you are able or allowed to, or you can save your chips and show the other players that you are an experienced player. Only rookies see out every game!

In addition, you have the opportunity to win more money from other players by betting on a good hand. Normally, there are three raises per betting round possible, whereas the raises are bound to a limit. If you are betting and nobody calls, you win without showing your cards. If the bet is called, cards must be shown and the player with the best hand wins. In case the amount in the pot is uneven and the pot is split, the first active player to the left of the dealer button gets the extra chip. In Hi/Lo games, the High always gets this extra chip.

Poker is an easy-to-learn game of friendly competition. Combined with a bit of thought, strategy and basic know-how, it can offer a great deal of fun and enjoyment while at the same time providing you with useful life training.