Born In the US (History of Poker)

Most of the card games are invented by Spanish sailors during long and boring journeys, but poker is the exception. It is a genuine U.S. game, dating back to 19th century. There are records which show that poker is being played in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1829 – they were using 20 card decks back in those days. Poker spread to the entire country by Mississippi riverboats, these were the “mobile casinos” of that era. Gambling was a popular hobby in the 19th century and poker managed to become popular in a short time, because there was no “house advantage” in the game. This is still true for modern poker too, if the cards shuffled and dealt fairly, no player (including the house) has an advantage over another player. Poker is a fair game, literally.

Poker was born in the U.S. and became legendary in the same country. This is mostly because of the World Series of Poker Tournaments organized by the casinos. Professional poker players are like movie stars in the U.S., they even publish books about their life and “tactics”. Poker is also an easy-to-learn card game, but hard to master. Traditionally, four people are needed to play poker. Each player gets five cards. The goal is to form a special combination with that hand, which is based on a rank system. All possible poker hands are (from highest to lowest):

Royal Flush - Straight Flush - Four of a Kind - Full House – Flush – Straight - Three of a Kind - Two Pair - One Pair and High Card.

After the first dealing, betting rounds begin. Each player checks his/her hand and tries to guess the others. The player may “call” (ask for to match his/her bet) or “fold” (leave that hand) depending on the hand. Of course, the player may try to bluff too, it is a very important part of poker gameplay. You may have a low-ranked hand, but nobody knows that except you. If you successfully bluff, you can trick other players to believe that you have a better hand than theirs and force them to “fold”, which makes you the owner of all poker chips on the poker table.


Poker Variations

There are lots of variations of poker, but almost all of them use the same card ranking hierarchy. The differences are mostly about dealing and betting systems. The most known poker variations are:

  • Straight Poker: This is actually the original form of poker, which played during the 19th century. In straight poker, all players get a full hand (5 cards in total) and they all bet in one round, with unlimited raising allowed. This form of poker is very popular in the U.K.
  • Stud Poker: In traditional poker, cards are dealt face-down and only the player can see them. This is not the case for stud poker, each hand is dealt in a prearranged combination of visible and face-down cards. At each hand, the player can ask for another card, up to seven in total. The goal is to create the best possible 5-card hand with the cards.
  • Draw Poker: Also known as “five-card draw” poker. The player gets a complete hand, but after betting, he/she can discard unwanted cards and ask for new ones. It can be seen on most of the Hollywood movies. .
  • Texas Hold’em Poker: Each player gets two cards and five community cards are dealt face-up, in front of the dealer. The player can create a combination using his/her hand and the visible community cards. In other words, community cards can be used by every player. It is a variety of stud poker and especially popular in the U.S. Texas Holdem Poker requires a different strategy, because most times it may be wiser to not create a winning combination and wait for the next round.
  • Omaha Poker: This variation is similar to Texas Holdem Poker. Each player gets four cards. Community cards are three in total, and the goal is to create a winning hand using two of your cards and three of the community cards. Omaha poker is a simpler form of Texas Holdem.
  • Video Poker: Poker games played against a computer. Can be any type of poker; straight, stud, Texas Holdem, 3 card poker… Often known as free online poker and/or free Texas Holdem poker too. They can be used to play poker online free (or for real money, in online casinos).

Types of Video Poker Games

The first video poker game was developed in 1979, by IGT. They become incredibly popular in casinos and people started to get in lines just to be able to play with them. Same popularity still goes on nowadays, and there are more variants than ever. You can play all variants of poker (which we mentioned above) using video poker machines, and some special ones too. There are special types of video poker games which are only available on this machines, such as Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and Double Bonus. All these games differ from each other by their payout rules and amounts. For example;

  • Jacks or Better: This is the classic stud poker game. But the payouts start at a pair of jacks and raise up pretty quickly. Flush pays six times the bet, for example.
  • Deuces Wild: The only video poker game with a theoretical return of %100.8. In other words, when played with the perfect strategy, you can make a profit with each and every spin. In Deuces Wild, all twos are wild and can substitute any other card in the deck.
  • Double Bonus: This is the same as Jacks or Better, but it has a bonus payout for four aces. RtP (return to player) value is also higher, %100.2.

Play Free Video Poker Games Online

Playing video poker games online is a good thing and offer different types of advantages. You can play any type of poker game you want (jacks or better video poker, free deuces wild video poker etc.) and you don’t need to pay a dime. Thanks to the modern technology, you are not limited to your computer either, you can use your mobile devices and play poker games from anywhere you want. And if you decide to try your luck with real money, lots of online casinos offer this option too, including live poker games.