Poker is played virtually anywhere: in casinos, at home and on the internet. While the game of deceit has been around for as long as we can remember, it’s tough to pinpoint who exactly invented poker.

Poker is descended from various card games. Each one helped evolve the iconic game that we love to play today. Let’s take a look at how the game has evolved.

The Roots: Theories

  • During the 10th century, Chinese emperor Mu-Tsung often played a domino card game with his wife. Sources say it is similar to the tile-based game Mahjong Poker.
  • Poque was a French bluffing and betting card game that was brought to New Orleans in the 15th century.
  • The Persian game As Nas may have inspired some of today’s poker hand rankings. It rose to popularity in the 16th century and was played with 25 playing cards and 5 suits.

To this day, theorists disagree on who created poker. Perhaps, all three games contributed in different ways to its invention. But one thing that’s certain is how much poker has evolved.

Poker Relatives

There are several games that are referred to as cousins of modern poker. More or less, you’ll find common ground in how these card games implemented rankings, betting and bluffing.

  • 18th-Century Brelan Card Game: Played with a 20-card deck, it is considered a descendant of Texas Hold’em. While not played anymore, this was once a quick-paced game that required betting.
  • Mid-19th Century: The use of 52 playing cards emerged during the American Civil War.

Current Poker Variants

  • Texas Hold’em: If you’re not too familiar with poker, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ve at least heard of this popular variant. This betting game is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards (excluding jokers). For a basic run-through, check out our beginner’s guide to Texas Hold’em.

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