The History of Poker

Ever wonder where poker got its name? How did it became the exciting card game we know it today?

Although game historians and some dictionaries have differing opinion about the origin of the name poker, there are basically five major theories on the origin of the word poker.

First, many believe that poker has a French origin. Many card games we know today were mainly derived or evolved from France. Poker is no different. Game scholars traced back the roots of poker to a French game “poque” and similarities in the sound and the game itself, may have contributed to this theory.

Another theory is that the name of poker is of German origin. A game called “pochspiel” is what some believe is the true ancestor of the name of poker. Pochspiel is a card game with an element of bluffing. In this card game, when players choose to pass or open, they make a rapping sound on the table and say, “Il Poche!”

There is also a theory, which states the word poker may have been derived from Hindu Origin. Some game historians and scholars point out to the word “Pukka” as proof.

Meanwhile, another theory points out to the word “poke” as the root word of poker. Poke is an underworld slang prevalently used by pickpockets. Those playing a game consisting of twenty cards that is known as one of the “cheating games” also used this word.

This game is very much similar to the modern-day poker, but is played only with the Kings, Queens, Jacks, Aces, and tens. Those who play the 20-card game used the word “poke” and added it with an – r, to refer to how they relieve the sucker from their poke through this game.

Last, but certainly not the least, many believe that poker comes from the word “hocus pocus,” which refers to the tricks done by magicians. This paved the way for the use of the fifty-two cards aside from the joker, in playing the game of poker.

There are other theories that relate to the exact origin of the name of one of world’s most favorite card game. One can never precisely prove whether one of these theories is true. But one thing we can be sure of, poker will always bring fun and excitement no mater where it first started.