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10 Intriguing Facts About Poker Poker
Smit Trivedi
Posted on 16 Dec, 2023
By Smit Trivedi
On 16 Dec, 2023
By Smit Trivedi
On 16 Dec, 2023

10 Intriguing Facts About Poker

Poker is a fascinating card game that has a great following all across the world. It has a vibrant history, with poker being played everywhere globally right now. You can play poker casually amongst friends and friends or by visiting any particular poker room/casino or on any online poker room. Let’s have a look at a few intriguing facts about poker that will leave you stunned. 

Poker was first played in the US 

While many claim that the earliest versions of poker came from either the Middle East, China or Europe, the card game that we know was first played in New Orleans, in the United States of America, by the city’s French residents. Earlier known as ‘poque,’ the name quickly became known as ‘poker’ as English players started playing and mispronounced it.

Online poker was first played in 1998

While most of the millennials and Gen Z would find it difficult to imagine a time before the internet, there was a time when everything wasn’t just a click of a button away. Poker was played in private residences or casinos before 1998. The first real-money online poker game was played on 1st January 1998 on the Planet Poker website. Since then, online poker has boomed, citing its availability to the general public, which resulted in virtual poker becoming a multibillion-dollar industry.

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Poker was played with 20 cards

It is said that the early games of poker were played with just 20 cards. The games saw four players participating in each game, with five cards being dealt to each player. This saw the game being much faster and simpler, with fewer combination options. However, all of it changed in 1830, when the remaining 32 cards were added.

Hand combinations in Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em variant of poker uses a total of seven cards (with five community cards and two hole cards), which leads to around 133 million possible combinations! Meanwhile, a standard game of poker has over 2.5 Million possible combinations. Isn’t that crazy?

The longest poker tournament lasted over 8 years

Yes, you read it right! The Bird Cage Theatre in Arizona hosted a poker game that went on for eight years between 1881 and 1889. Poker was played 24×7 while boasting a $1,000 buy-in. While the reports of this game remain unverified, the tourney supposedly lasted for eight years, five months and three days! 

Odds for a Royal Flush

A mathematician at Anderson University, Indiana, named Courtney Taylor, claims that the odds of a player getting a royal flush are 649,740 to 1. This means that you need to play roughly 650,000 hands to get a royal flush!

Richard Nixon Funded His Political Campaign Via Poker Winnings

The former US president joined the US Navy at the age of 29 after leaving his job as a lawyer. It is the Navy where he learned how to play poker, and he is said to have returned from his service with thousands of dollars in winnings. If reports are to be believed, he used the winnings to fund his first run for political office.

The Anna Kournikova Hand

When a player is dealt a starting hand in Texas Hold’em, be it either online or in-person, if the player is initially dealt – an ace and a king (AK), then the hand is referred to as ‘The Anna Kournikova’. This name is more than just the same initials; it is also popular in tennis.

Kournikova was amongst the top 20 players in the world for a long time but never actually won any singles titles. She became an international star, citing her beauty over tennis skills. The AK poker hand is somewhat similar. Despite being one of the best hands to start with, many players often end up overplaying it. 

Dead Man’s Hand

This term can be traced back to 1876, when Bill Hickok, a famous poker player, was shot by John McCall. Hickok was shot during a round of poker while he was holding two Aces and two 8s. Since then, any time a player gets two Aces and two 8s, the hand has been known to be Dead Man’s Hand ever since.

The Kings in poker are based on actual rulers 

While this is much more of a card fact than poker, it is still interesting to know that the king on playing cards is known to be based on old kings. It is believed that in the 16th century, the French card-makers standardised the suits and added four Kings. 

  • King of Hearts: King Charlemagne (first holy Roman emperor)
  • King of Spades: King David of Israel 
  • King of Diamonds: Julius Caesar or Roman Caesar Augustus
  • King of Clubs: Alexander the Great (King of Macedonia)

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