When did poker become a popular game?

Officers-of-the-114th-pennsylvania-03882a-cropNovember 1, 1834 — Today marks the first published reference to poker, as a Mississippi riverboat game.

It was played in a variety of forms, with 52 cards, and included both straight poker and stud. 20 card poker was a variant for two players (it is a common English practice to reduce the deck in card games when there are fewer players).

Its popularity quick spread north along the Mississippi River and to the West during the gold rush. Today, poker is part of the frontier pioneer ethos.

Sources: cardschat.com, wikipedia/poker, The Poker Face of Wall Street, by Arron Brown, Bohn's New Handbook of Games, by Henry G. Bond

Words of Wisdom for November 1, 2016

“The guy who invented poker was bright, but the guy who invented the chip was a genius.”

— Julius "Big Julie" Weintraub