Poker is massively popular across the United States, and the love for this card game has been known to be able to gather people from all over the world. This has been typified by the World Series of Poker (WSOP), which is a series of poker tournaments held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year’s 2022 WSOP Main Event Championship was held in Bally’s and Paris casinos, and the final winner among the near-record 8,663 players was Espen Jorstad, who took home $10,000,000.00 along with a 55.48-carat diamond WSOP world champion bracelet.

Poker’s journey to a multi-million dollar industry started in the humble parlors of Louisiana almost 200 years ago. But prior to its arrival, the game thrived in Europe as a favorite pastime among numerous countries. In France, a variation of the game was known as “poques”; in Ireland it was referred to as “poca”, and in Germany they called it “pochen.” The game went through multiple evolutions with its name, as well as the rules of how the game was played. But one thing never changed – it is loved by people from all walks of life.

Poker as we know it today has been around in the United States since the 1800s. In fact, the history of poker in the United States started in New Orleans when French settlers introduced “poques” to the city locals. The people of New Orleans partook in the pastime and were immediately attracted to a new form of entertainment. It wasn’t long before poker enthusiasts brought their newly found hobby aboard the riverboats of the Mississippi River.

Poker quickly spread across the country like wildfire, and even more so as people traveled during the gold rush. The game soon entered the saloons of the Wild West and became a permanent part of every saloon. The Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone, Arizona, is a standing historical saloon from the days of the Wild West. This site was the place of the longest poker marathon in history which lasted from 1881 to 1889 – eight years, five months and three days of continuous play.

Today, the battle of poker continues, but the playing field has changed. Instead of saloons, poker enthusiasts now go to grand casinos in Vegas or Atlantic City and sit at tables to battle on the felt. Major gaming events and tournaments are held every year, like the WSOP and the World Poker Tour (WPT), for the serious poker players. The costs of these events are pricey, but that doesn’t stop lovers of the game from joining the exciting competition. The WSOP hosts buy-ins that range anywhere from $1,500 to $50,000, and the WPT hosts buy-ins that range anywhere between $2,500-$25,000. While both are highly respected in the poker world, a person that wins the WSOP is considered the World Champion of Poker.

Poker is also played online and made its debut in 1998. However, it wasn’t until 2003, when Chris Moneymaker qualified online for the 2003 WSOP Main Event and took the poker community by storm by winning the championship, that online poker kicked off. He proved to the world that anyone could become a millionaire, thus sparking the online poker boom between 2003 to 2006. The online poker craze only lasted a few short years because the Department of Justice stepped in and shut down every major online poker website in 2011. This day went down in history as Black Friday and changed the game of online poker for millions of players.

It’s been over a decade since Black Friday, and the online poker industry is slowly rising once again. According to the WPT, there were an estimated 60 million online poker players in the United States as of 2021, which is evidence that poker enthusiasts are beginning to try out online gaming once again. Online poker may still be in its infancy stage, but with millions of fans engaging every day, whether for entertainment or professionally, we can expect to see continuous growth in the coming years – maybe even another poker boom!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this reading, and for more articles like this one, please visit our Games category. 

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