Poker Strategy

Written by srinivaasswathi
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The origins of poker strategy are obscure.

While
some historians trace it back to the ancient China and Egypt, others
claim that Indian Ganjifa cards are the precursor to the game. Still
others trace it back to Spain, France and Germany.

But in the United States, poker is said
to have originated in the East, with Washington DC being the capital
back in the 18th century. It was then referred to as the
“cheating game” and was referred to as such by Jonathan Green, who
was among the first historians of the game.

The card game, which essentially depends
on hand rankings and betting, then spread West during the gold rush
and American Civil War on the river boats of the Mississippi. The game
then travelled in horse carriages and in wagon trains, coast to coast,
and as it did, it evolved. There were changes in the number and composition
of the deck but the rules remained essentially the same.

It is from this era that the game was
imprinted with classic images of smoky saloons, being played by gamblers
and loggers and gunslingers.

But little is known about the export
of the game to England. And it was thanks to an inadvertent comment
made by the American ambassador to an English duchess that the game
gained popularity and then notoriety in the United Kingdom.

Robert Schenck, a lawyer and general,
is credited with taking the game across the Atlantic, from America to
England. In fact, the English were the first Europeans to play the game.

Schenck was a trusted aide of President
Abraham Lincoln and played a part in helping him get elected as President
in 1860. In return for the favour, Lincoln sent Schenck as ambassador
to England.

He arrived in England in 1871 during
boom time there and when gambling was at its height. It was at a grand
ball that Schenck was asked about the game by an English duchess, who
eventually asked him to write down the rules of poker so she could play!

Poker hasn’t changed much since the
mid-19th century but the medium has. It’s still played
with a deck of cards, and fortunes are still made and lost. But the
game has since moved out of smoky saloons to glitzy and garish casinos
and card rooms. And from there, thanks to the proliferation of the Internet,
to the online version of the game.

The first poker site was launched as
recently as 1998. It was called Planet Poker, a site that was to be
eaten up by the bigger players in about a year. But the site will always
go down in history for evolving the rake structure that is still used
today.

The game got a shot in the arm in 2000
with the launch of Poker Spot, which was promoted by champion Dutch
Boyd. Poker Spot was the first online poker room to conduct tournaments.

Shortly thereafter, television jumped
onto the poker bandwagon and began covering the main tournaments. This
went a long way towards making poker the game it is today.


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