history of poker

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Besides religion, India is a country of miracles and many contradictions. Its history is rich consisting of several pages. One of the pages focuses on gambling. However, India's commitment to gambling has remained complicated for years. The law allows certain games while banning others. As such, it has affected the growth of certain areas of the gambling industry. Luckily, the online gaming industry has remained unwavering since its inception. Read on as we dive deep into the history of poker and online casinos in India.

History of poker

Arguably, poker is one of the most popular card games, not only in India by in the world at large. Mostly denoted as a highly strategic game played in online casinos, poker is now more than that. It has undergone several development stages, giving rise to its different variations. Interestingly, most online casinos in India have most, if not all variants in their games lobby.

Poker’s history can be traced back to the 18th century where it was played by a Chinese emperor. Some historians also believe that the game is a descendant of As Nas, an ancient board game from Persia. However, the roots of poker became clearer when it landed in America.

In the 17th century, Poque, the closest European predecessor of poker, became popular in France. Poque, together with its German equal were based on Primero, a three-card game from Spain. After the French Revolution, immigrants from Italy, Germany and Ireland went to America. And as is the norm, you carry your way of life with you. So, these people continued playing the poker game. And it’s not just poker, the immigrants had gambling skills that they introduced in the United States.

In America, the settlers modified poque to poker and introduced new and more modern features. These included at least five cards for each player and a 52-card deck. Notably, riverboat crews embraced this game, spreading it throughout the country as they transported goods through the Mississippi River. In 1871, poker was introduced in Europe, thanks to the influence of American soldiers during World War I. Over time, it spread across British colonies, including India.

Even before the arrival of European in India, gambling was already happening in the country. In fact, gambling was the poker of those times. Still in the 18th century, there were several card games in India. Several communities played them, spreading their popularity. Some of them even merged to form The National Poker Foundation. Within a few years, poker spread throughout every corner of the country.

When Europeans arrived in India, they introduced their version of poker. By the 19th century, the current poker game became the professional world in India. People, even in the countryside, were now familiar with the game. Today, there are several poker clubs all over India. Some are even available online, offering different versions of the initial poker games. 

The introduction of online casinos

Although complicated, Indian gambling laws still allow several types of betting. Over the years, gambling has thrived in the country. Even before written history, India was deep in gambling. But over time, games have evolved and even flourished. This increased the passion for gambling. Interestingly, India still nurtures the gambling industry in various ways.

Initially, people had to visit special houses where popular gaming events were carried out. However, these houses were under surveillance by the government. So, operators and players were not always favoured. As technology took effect, people began to embrace its effectiveness in simplifying things. This was evident in the gambling sector too. Physical casinos started taking things online in Indian and its neighbors, Bangladesh & Pakistan. 

Interestingly, some oversee gaming sites accepted Indian gamblers. So, people knew how online gaming works. Currently, there are hundreds of online casinos in the country. Although there are a few restrictions, the government is slowly accepting the fact that people will always gamble online. You can read more about the state of gambling in countries like Bangladesh here.

Popular versions of poker in India, Pakistan & Bangladesh

Before poker took root in India and its surrounding region, it had crossed through several countries and cultures. Every culture had its view of how the game should be. As such, they made some modifications to the game. This gave rise to the different variations of the game currently available. Some are even named after the countries where they were invented.

The most popular poker games in this side of the continent are Caribbean Stud Poker, Five Card Stud Poker, and the Mississippi River Poker. Other versions include French Five-Card Stud and the Sicilian Seven Card Stud. Notably, the Persian game has several versions too. The most popular ones are Baccarat and Javanese, and they all have the same basic rules. In Persia, players used dominoes as chips. So, instead of relying on separate cards, they spread the chips out on the table. By so doing, the game became more stable.

The five-card stud poker is also a version of the Persian Game. It became very popular in both physical and online casinos. Unsurprisingly, it beat the four-suit stud poker and became the most played game in India. One major reason for this is the innovation used. Five-card poker includes hole cards which reduce the possibility of betting on the 1st or 2nd card when playing without a predetermined value. Also, hole cards allow players to adjust their betting after the cards are dealt. This makes it possible to place high stakes.

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