Back when cart wheels were made of wood and clothes out of hemp crops, luck games were only a dream to be dreamed in the western part of the world. Although the Chinese had already invented a form of Keno no other region in the world seemed to have developed this entertainment based pass-time.
Some archeological evidence does appear to show that casino, or better yet gambling games, could have actually been a regular activity in which members of old-time clans would engage in for getting rid of chores and even wives. I can imagine the luckiest winner surrounded by 10 wives. Perhaps that’s how the tradition of multiple wives even got started.
Alright, let’s set the record straight once and for all. No, games of chance were not invented in the Garden of Eden. No, Poker did not come out of a scientific discovery like Roulette was discovered. And no, it could not have existed prior to the playing cards that appeared in 1377.
The use of a 52-card deck was actually first documented by a Swiss monk, out of all things. But surely, as religion reigned high in those days, monks were really the first people to witness the firsts of many things. John of Rheinfelden described a game played with 52 cards, the cards ranging in value from 1 to 10 in his writings from 1377.
Going back to those enterprising Chinese, that actually built the Great Wall of China with money gained by the government from en-masse betting, it is safe to say that, although they did play a similar game in 950, their game was more akin to dominoes than a modern day casino table game and what’s more it wasn’t even played with a 52-card deck at all. So, sorry guys, you are disqualified from the race of pinning the invention of Poker on you.
Now that we know where the 52-card deck with which modern Poker is played, we still need to find out where the game actually came from. This is a daunting task as most games played with this number of cards were merely invented for fun and no betting would be involved. Still, later on, gambling games started to pop up, and still none of the even resembled Poker whatsoever.
Teem Patti in India was one of only two such games to resemble Poker. I mean and why wouldn’t poker come from India. They’ve given the world Buddhism, crazy spices, and colourful patterns, why not Poker? This game was indeed played with the infamous 52-card deck and displayed rounds of betting, which of course is what we do in regular Poker games.
The second Poker sister game is Brag, an old British game which may as well be the direct descendent of modern day poker. The reason I say this is because of the lingo employed in playing Brag. Terms like blind, pot, flush were all used during a game of Brag. The determining feature was that it employed bluffing techniques.