Texas Holdem is a variety of Poker, a card game which originated in the 19th century. The origins of Poker are still disputed to this day, with a number of conflicting accounts about where it came from, and who first played it; similar games exist back to the Renaissance period. The word ‘Poker’ actually comes from the German word ‘pochen’, which means “to knock”.
However, most accounts generally agree that it was French settlers who first played Poker in New Orleans around 1830. It may have been introduced to them by Persian traders, as it bears strong similarities with the 16th century Persian card game As Nas. The popularity of Poker meant that it quickly spread throughout the USA, along the transport routes of rivers and railroads. It became especially popular when played amongst cowboys in the Old West.
Texas Holdem, or Hold’em as it is also known, is today one of the most popular versions of Poker in the world. Although nobody is really sure where this version was first played, it seems clear that Texas was the state of origin! Some reports say that the first ever game was played in Robstown in the 1900s and it spread to Dallas in 1925. Texas Holdem has enjoyed widespread recognition ever since.
The popularity of Texas Holdem was widely increased in 1970. In this year, the Horseshoe Hotel and Casino was opened in Las Vegas by Benny Binion. Binion decided to take over a small invitational Poker tournament from Riverside Casino’s Tom Morehead. What as the name of the tournament? The World Series of Poker and the game of choice was Texas Holdem.
Binion focused on the gambling element of the game by devising the idea of rapidly increasing antes and blinds, so that a winner could be produced within a relatively short space of time. In 1972, 8 players took part in the World Series of Poker tournament; thirty years later, the 8 had increased to 800! This annual tournament is now recognised as the most important in the world. In the last five years, the increasing popularity of televised tournaments means that Texas Holdem has become a part of mainstream television.
Additionally, through modern innovations in technology, Texas Holdem Poker has branched off in new directions. Games can now be played directly through the internet, or even on a cell phone! The game’s simplicity and huge entertainment value have contributed to its popularity, which shows no sign of decrease. Texas Holdem is clearly the most famous Poker game in the world.