The Game of Draw Poker – A Brief History

In lots of ways, the game epitomizes the raw bone tenacity of the American spirit that drove the western movement from the Mississippi River in the 1800’s. Life on the frontier was harsh, hazardous and packed with risks – the pioneers were literally gambling on their lives each day. To both survive in the untamed west and to win at draw poker a person had to be skillful at what he did and rely on lady luck to smile on him. He had to closely watch his adversaries and sometimes bluff his solution of a situation. The outcomes of his actions could prove very profitable or he could lose all of it, sometimes even his life. Draw poker then was a natural choice for the men of the American west have been used to risking it all.

The overall game was caused by an evolutionary process that started when poker was first took shape in America early in the nineteenth-century. Just when and where it was first played is at the mercy of a continuous debate among historians, as may be the game’s origins. Several postulations attribute the game’s lineage to a French game called “poque” or possibly to a German game known as “pochspiel.” British historians declare that the game was a primary descendent of the English card game of “brag.” Still other researchers claim that poker evolved from a sixteen-century Persian card game called “as nas” that has been played with a twenty-five-card deck containing five suites and has rules much like five-card stud poker. Since exact documentation of poker’s early history is impossible to find out its inception will most likely remain a mystery.

Poker is thought to have were only available in America sometime in early 1800’s, possibly in saloons of New Orleans. From there it spread up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers by means of the commercial steam boat traffic. Then whilst the wagon trains and railroads pushed the frontier west, register online poker poker continued to achieve popularity with early adventurers. An English actor, Joseph Crowell, recorded seeing poker being played on the riverboats in his diary of 1829 and later in his 1844 book, Thirty Years Passed Among the Players in England and America.A reformed gambler by the name of Jonathan H. Green wrote about early poker in his book, Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling that has been published in 1843. Both men described an early version of poker that has been played with a twenty-card deck (A-K-Q-J-10). All of four players was dealt five cards and bets were added to these five original cards without discards or draws. Once the betting was over who owns the most effective hand won the pot – in the order of just one pair, two pair, triplets, full house (one pair and a triple), and four of a kind. Due to the limits of a twenty-card deck there was just a single round of betting prior to the winning hand was declared and this made bluffing a much more difficult maneuver.

As the game evolved it moved to a thirty-two card deck and then eventually to the standard “French deck” of fifty-two cards. Sometime in the mid-1830’s straights and flushes were introduced as winning hands. Many years later draw poker was created and started making the rounds of gambling halls in the west. The very first mention of draw poker appeared in the American edition of Bohn’s New Handbook of Games in 1850. Because same year, wild cards were introduced to poker play.

With your enhancements draw poker and another version called stud poker became the card games of choice one of the soldiers on both parties of the Civil War. Originally called, “stud horse” poker, the game was played across the campfires between battles and was a close rival to draw poker in popularity. Both versions are conducive to bluffing in stud poker, you are banned to draw or discard cards. Rather, a number of the cards are dealt face down and some face up to the ball player to ensure that everyone at the table knows a few of the cards being held by each player. Betting occurs after each new face up card is dealt and after the past face down card is dealt. The very first mention of stud poker appeared in the American Hoyle of 1864.

In draw poker most of the cards are dealt face right down to the players and after most of the cards have now been dealt there is a circular of betting. Then players may discard numerous cards and receive the exact same number of cards from the dealer. When most of the players have completed their hands there is another round of betting prior to the winner is declared. Later, in 1870, jackpot poker was introduced in an endeavor to avoid players with poor hands from being drawn right into a pot that has been impossible to win. In this version, players were required to have jacks or easier to open betting. If a person did not possess the minimum to play, they certainly were necessary to fold and lose their ante.

The very first recorded group of rules for playing draw poker came to exist when Robert C. Scheneck, a United States ambassador to Great Britain, introduced the game to the members of Queen Victoria’s court at a celebration in 1872. Intrigued with the new game the royalty asked Scheneck to write down the principles of the game so they might play the game after he returned to America. He obliged and his handwritten rules of play were then printed by the queen’s staff for future parties. Later, without his permission or that of the queen’s court, his group of rules were published as a tiny booklet and sold to the masses. Entitled, A Flowery Path to Wealth: The Game of Draw Poker as Taught to the English Aristocracy, the pamphlet was a significant hit with the British individuals who quite often known the game as “Scheneck’s poker “.Scheneck, who had served as general under President Lincoln, was embarrassed by the general public release of his rules he have been assured will be used privately by queen’s court.

John W. Keller, an American, included Scheneck’s rules for draw poker in his own book, The Game of Draw Poker, published in 1887. In addition, he used a part of a letter written by Scheneck to a political friend, Thomas L. Young; to explain how a ambassador had unwittingly became party to the publication of the initial group of rules for the game.

Keller’s book provided a more in depth account of the principles and variations to the game in addition to a section on progressive poker, which he described as being “The most recent development of draw poker… and doubtless owes its origin to the popularity of progressive euchre.” Contrary to Keller’s comments, progressive poker never caught the interest of American gamblers and its play quickly faded from the gaming scene.

Through the entire book, Keller refers to a noted mathematician, “Dr. Pole” who provided the probability and odds for draw poker hands. At the conclusion of the book, he summarizes Pole’s calculations in a series of probability tables, which have stood the test of time. In accordance with Dr. Poe’s figures, there is an astounding 2,598,960 possible hands in draw poker.

Since Keller’s book was published in 1887, there has been a sizable number of books printed about them of draw poker but few have now been as clear and concise on the principles and the strategy of the game. His sage advice to “Study your adversaries carefully; watch the game closely; show patience in adversity and calm in prosperity,” seems right in keeping with the old gambler’s adage of knowing “when to put on’em and when to fold’em.”

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