Poker is one of the most popular card games on the planet. It’s made millionaires out of a few savvy players, which means that providing you have the skill and the nerve, you could make a pretty penny or two off the back of it. However, it takes plenty of years and plenty of people-watching to know how to make the best plays, and when.
But how much do you actually know about the game? Instead of focusing on strategies and the best ways to make a living through playing cards, we thought we’d focus on a few fun facts about poker to help ease you into its wild and wonderful world.
1. You could strike it lucky with this game.
Poker is, as mentioned, a big money spinner if you are a good enough player. The best poker players will likely tell you that luck rarely comes into it! The biggest-ever World Series of Poker win was claimed by poker pro Jamie Gold, who scooped $12 million. It’s an instant millionaire maker if you’re good enough! Better start honing up your skills!
2. Poker’s been around for a very long time.
The game of poker is actually much older than many people give it credit for being. It’s thought that people have been playing the game for over a thousand years. As with much modern phenomena, it’s thought that the game first originated in China, or possibly even in Persia. The jury is still out!
3. It’s almost a genre to itself.
Poker is so prevalent in the movies that there is almost a whole genre. Many famous movies to feature poker have casinos as their main backdrop. More often than not, poker is shown to be a risky, high-stakes game. It is in real life, but only if you have plenty riding on the cards!
4. Hold’em right there!
Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular poker games on the planet. However, believe it or not, it’s illegal to play the game in Texas. That’s because certain gambling laws prevent you from playing the game across the state.
5. It’s a long runner!
Poker can run for a long time depending on how many players are at the table, and what’s at stake. The longest poker game in history, believe it or not, lasted an incredible eight years and five months! Of course, this was a continuous game with various players joining and leaving. Even weirder is the fact that it probably would have gone on longer were it not stopped by flood!
6. Keep your bets low…
Be careful what – or who – you bet in a poker game. Andrei Karpov was one such player who was so certain he’d win the game, he bet his wife. He lost, and his wife willingly left him for the winner – wouldn’t you?
7. Tom Dwan made bank!
One of the most successful poker players of all time, particularly from the online scene, is Tom Dwan. In the space of four years, he was able to convert $50 into more than $5,000,000.
8. Nixon was a poker fan!
Plenty of famous people have been known to dabble in the odd round of poker, and many have gone on to make successful second careers in the bargain. Believe it or not, there are some politicians who have drummed up serious cash this way, too. One US President who was particularly successful at the table was Richard Nixon, who supposedly helped to fund his political career with his poker winnings in the mid 1940s.
9. Mark Twain was big on poker, too.
Mark Twain, author of several well-loved US novels such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, was well-known for being a poker fanatic. He used to pilot boats down the Mississippi River, during which time he’d join a game of poker or two as his crew sailed along. It’s likely you’ll find plenty of references to card games in his novels, too.
10. The decks used to be tiny.
Believe it or not, people used to play poker with as few as 20 cards in a deck. This was when the game was largely a four-player affair, and before it expanded into the incredible multi-player, multi-million match-up it is today. Nowadays, of course, everyone from rookies to pros use traditional 52-card decks.
11. Groucho was named after poker!
Groucho Marx supposedly got his nickname from the fact that he used to carry a poker grouch, or bag, around with him – that, at least, is one school of thought on the story. Much of the truth behind the comic actor remains a mystery!
FAQs about Poker
Is poker a game of skill or luck?
While some will say that poker is all about luck, skill is the most important component of the game! You can have a great hand, but opposite a skilled poker player who knows how to fool you, you could still lose!
What is the best hand in poker?
The absolute best hand in poker is undoubtedly the royal flush. The hand is composed of an ace, a king, a queen, a jack, and a ten.
What is the exact rank of winning hands in poker?
The rank of the winning hands in poker goes from royal flush, to straight flush, then a four of a kind, followed up with a full house, a flash, a straight, then three of a kind, then a two pair, one pair, and a high card being the least desired hand.
Do you know any interesting facts about poker? Share them in the comments below!