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The History of Poker

Poker is probably the most popular card game ever played for money.

Originally imported from Europe, poker arrived in America via New Orleans and spread with the riverboats traversing the Mississippi.

The game quickly spread across the country and professional gamblers soon became involved, seeing poker as a way of making quick money from anybody willing to play. Without regard to their victim's situation, they'd use cheat tactics against anybody from rich gentlemen to poor black slaves.

As a result the general public view of the game was dire, so much so that soldiers in the civil war would often throw away their cards before going into battle rather than bring disgrace on their families should their personal effects ever need to be sent home. However, in the West, where speculators and travelers were generally unburdened by family values and social stigma, poker became a popular and accepted pastime.

Initially, poker was played with only one round of betting and no drawn cards. In order to increase profitability, professional gamblers adjusted the rules so that wild cards and the draw became common practice. The draw, of course, meant that yet another round would be played, giving the pro another chance to con his victims.

In less than two centuries the game of poker has changed from being played with just 25 cards but five suits, through a game using 40 cards to today's popular variations of the game.