Being a professional poker player does not necessarily imply having a wide knowledge about the origin or the history of the game. However, if you do not want to win only at the poker table but recognition of your knowledge would make you happy at a quiz table as well, then do not hesitate, go on reading.
When talking about all the details of a game, origin cannot be left out. How old is it and where do you think it was played for the first time? Poker can convincingly be dated to the beginning of the 19th century and its cradle was in New Orleans, Louisiana, the former French territory. As it always is, there is no unanimous agreement on the previous sentence. Some historians were able to trace poker back to 1829 and some say that the game is a direct derivative of a Persian game of As Nas. Probably the truth will never come out and we will have to accept the findings of the historians.
How about the origin of the word ‘poker’? It is as vague as the origin of the game itself. According to a theory, it comes from the German verb ‘pochen’ which means to brag or bluff. Nevertheless, the second theory seems to be acceptable as well, since it traces the word back to the French ‘poque’ that is a card game similar to the present day poker.
What do you know about the origin of the four suits in a deck of playing cards? How did we finally end up with diamonds, spades, hearts and clubs? It is commonly believed that these names derive from French as well. In French decks four classes are represented by the suits. Namely, diamonds stand for merchants, spades represent nobility, hearts are for the clergy and clubs refer to peasants.
Have you ever heard that the four kings represent a historic figure? Well, it is time to unveil the puzzle. The King of Spades is said to be David (King of Israel), the King of Diamonds is thought to be the Roman Caesar Augustus, the King of Hearts is attributed to Charlemagne and the King of Clubs is supposed to be Alexander the Great.
Let’s mention a name that is not expected to be read here. Richard Nixon is a unique person not only because he has been the only U.S. president to resign so far but because his first political campaign was founded with money he won from playing poker. Within two months at the U.S. Navy in WWII he won $6000 which was used to fund his first campaign for congress.
It was not only President Nixon in the White House who was a passionate poker player. One of his predecessors, Warren Harding, the 29th president of the USA played poker with his advisors at least twice a week and the team was given the nickname ‘the poker cabinet’.