The origin of the word Poker is also a well-debated topic. There are as many variations regarding the possible birthplaces, as we'll soon see, there are plenty of ways to play poker as well.
A. Chinese A popular belief is that Poker started forming in China around 900 A.D. Even though cards, as we know them, had not emerged yet. The Chinese had the game dominoes, which had not only been developed in this era, but was also becoming very popular. It is written that Emperor Mu Tsung introduced the game of "domino cards" to his wife in 969 A.D. which could have been the embryo slow-growing birth of the poker game.
B. Egyptian Our next moment in time brings us to Egypt. Even though the nature of the Egyptian card games remain buried, remnants of cards have been recovered and have been dated back as far as the 12th or 13th century. Furthermore, the remaining cards pieces can be linked to cards used for the eastern origin "Ganjifa" ("Treasure-cards") in the early 16th century.
C. Indian Some propose that modern cards originated from the Indian card game of Ganjifa. The Ganjifa card deck consisted of 96 elegantly painted cards which were used in a variety of betting games that were played. The highly stylized cards may have helped pave the way to the Persian game of "As Nas,"
D. Persian As Nas is a game that consists of five players which requires a special 25 card deck that has 5 suits. This game has a meted deal, has betting rounds, and has hierarchical hand rankings. This game has the most resemblance to the game of Poker; however, As Nas only dates back to the 17th century.
E. French The most popular etymological root for Poker comes from the French game “Poque”. Poque was a card game that involved bluffing and betting. In addition, it is stated to be the first card game that used a deck of cards which had Spades, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds. In addition, the French were one of the most avid nations for card playing during the early 15th century.
F. English The English may not have been known as a card playing nation until the latter half of the 15th century; however, the British have been recognized for their innovation for a number of early card games, which include: Primero, Brag, and Faro. It has been said that these games are some of the first known “casino style” games where an uncertain number of players (called ‘punters’) would bet against a single dealer (call a ‘Banker’).
G. German Poque was also a pioneer of another pre-poker card game, a German game, called “Pochspiel” which translates into "knock-play". This game resembles Poker in a number of ways. Firstly, its name is derived from the fact that at one stage of the game the player, in turn, declares the state of their hand by either passing or opening. Those who pass, signify it by saying, ‘Ich poche,’ or ‘Ich poch.’ This was sometimes shown by knocking on the table with one’s knuckles. Finally, this game also introduced the tactic of bluffing into the early stages of the betting world.
H. Danish Poker may possibly come, indirectly, from the Danish word pokker, signifying the devil. And lets not forget gambling is considered a sin in some religions!
I. Possible Myth Another possible explanation for the word Poker could have been copied from and underworld slang word “poke”. Back in the days when card games were played on the Mississippi River Boats this was a term used by pickpockets. Cardsharps (an expert in cheating at cards) used a deck of 20-card and played a game, which was formed on the bases of cheating, against contestants (“suckers’) in the street to alleviate them from their “poke” or “wager”. The cardsharps may have added the ‘r’ to make it “Poker” and use the word amongst themselves hoping their victims make not pick up on the change in the slang word.
With so many claims to the name, the chance of narrowing it down on the exact birthplace of Poker is parallel to the chance of getting a Royal Flush!Article written by Anthony Von Ducci, The Poker Father