poker chips on the table
man with poker chips
people play poker

Poker Through the Ages: From 13th Century Cards to Free Online Poker Games


Revered by millions, reviled by some – gambling always has some kind of fascination, and that goes for poker and other card games. The Chinese were the first to start using cards, in the 13th century. Before that, the Egyptians had the “treasure game” (ganjifa) – which they played with ivory tokens, and was the first such pastime to include gambling. And, in Persia, there was as-nas, played with 25 cards and including both gambling and a fixed hierarchy of combinations.

Poker really began to take off in Europe as the 17th century ticked over into the 18th. The Germans had pochen, and the French played poque – either of which could have given the English language the word poker, and both of which had their origins in the Spanish game primero.

As with so many cultural phenomena, it was the arrival of Poker in the United States which marked the start of its true global popularity. The game arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, with the French – and quickly spread along the Mississippi River and across the continent. By the time of the Gold Rush it was being played by prospectors in the west; maybe it’s not difficult to imagine the stakes and risks involved in such games, played against a landscape potentially heaving with wealth beyond riches.

poker cards

Poker Takes Off

After poker took root in America, the game began to be develop further. The 52-card deck meant the introduction of the hand called a flush. Then, during the Civil War period (1861-1865), Draw Poker and Stud Poker emerged, giving us the straight.

The tough guy image of poker and those who played it during days of gold and war didn’t change much until the 1970s, when besuited mathematicians and professors began to take the place of cowboys in their stetsons in Vegas arcades. Nevertheless, while the willingness to take a risk, iron will, aggression and ruthlessness of the founding days of poker are no longer so influential, such qualities can certainly help a player determined to blaze a trail to victory at the poker table.

play poker online

 Want to Play Poker for Fun? Watch the Experts

Stetsons, suits… but dressing gowns? The popularity of online poker today means that fans need never leave home to watch or play the game. The only requirements are a computer screen with internet access and some free time. Thanks to the connected age, there are plenty of opportunities to play free poker games online and get free poker practice. Even without a computer, you can still catch the thrills of the game, via poker on TV. And, thanks to the commonly used Hole-Card-Cam, you can see each player’s cards – giving you a true insight into the strategies they employ.

Texas Hold ’em and Other Poker Games for Fun and Money

If you’re a betting person (which in itself is a fair bet – you’re reading this article, after all…), you wouldn’t go far wrong in guessing that any given game of online, TV or personal poker that you see is of the Texas Hold ’em variety. There are other versions of the game, of course, but Texas Hold ‘em is the most popular and therefore offers the best opportunities for getting free poker practice. Just tune in to an international TV tournament or live stream from one of the great players. You could also pick up a book to build on your theoretical knowledge of the game, but the best way to learn poker strategies is practice.

To this end, poker newbies can log on to their favourite internet games site to play free poker games for fun. What’s more, when you play free online poker games you will never be short of a partner. There will be no real money at stake, and it will give you a round by round education in the game so that you will soon be able to make an accurate valuation of the cards you hold in your hand.

It is said that Texas Hold ’em takes a minute to learn but a lifetime to master. Too many new players simply dive in, not taking on board even the first minute of the basics (by the way, these are the people you want to play against for real money). But most know the value of information about the game they play, and all will tell you that Texas Hold ‘em is the most interesting form of poker, with the most thrills and spills and the greatest variety of ways to win.