Poker Birth

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The Birth of Poker

Any one of these earlier games, or a combination of them, could have easily been the egg that Poker hatched from. However, with regards to Poker’s distinct North American concept, it seems that the French were the most influential gamblers in the Colonial New World.

In the early 17th century the French colonials arrived in Canada, with them they brought their beloved ‘poque’ card game. The game, however, did not become popular until the beginning of the early 18th century in New Orleans. Furthermore, it was French-Canadian settlers who planted the population seed of the blossoming town New Orleans.

In addition, to help pass time during the Civil War, poque was played by many of the soldiers to help pass the time. It was here where the first different versions of Poker arose from. There were many soldiers all in different locations across North America playing a game called Poque. Versions such as “Stud” or “Draw”, which are predecessors to present day Poker, emerged during this time period. It has been argued that the proper game Poker took its first breath during this chaotic time period in America. However, the game did not receive the Poker title until 1834. The name Poker was awarded to the game by gambler named Green.

Jonathan H. Green learned how to play cards when he was a young man in a Cincinnati Penitentiary where he had been imprisoned for petty crimes. After his release he went to the Mississippi River, debatably the busiest gambling region of the period. It is here where he started his career as a professional card player and where he first came into contact with the many versions of poque. In his writing he refers to the many versions of poque as "the Cheating Game", which indicates these games could have been developed by the cardsharps.

"The Cheating Game" quickly gained popularity over a former cardsharp game called the 3-card monte primarily because the new game was perceived by the players to be more challenging and honest. Green was very intrigued by this new game and discovered that there was no definition in the American Hoyle (dictionary) or, for that matter, in any other documentation of his time. Jonathan H. Green then took it upon himself to officially name and document the 'Cheating Game' in his book as “An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling: Poker”.