8 top facts to know about poker

Skill, strategy and nerves of steel are characteristics poker players find useful, whichever variant they are playing. From Texas Hold ’em to 7 card stud, these popular poker games may be familiar, but there are some interesting aspects of poker which may surprise you.

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Poker in the old days

1 The original versions of poker used a 20 card deck and were therefore much simpler and probably faster to play. Today, some variations of poker, such as Mexican stud, are played with a deck with several cards removed.

2 People used to use anything remotely valuable they happened to have access to, such as coins or gold items, as poker chips. Later saloons started to make their own, often from wood or clay, and by the start of the 19th century, standard clay chips were being produced commercially.

3 The first ever TV airing of a poker game was back in 1973. The public loved it, and pretty soon TV companies were competing to enjoy the rating rewards each game brought.
Although the styles and ways to play have changed, poker has proved to be consistently popular with the gaming public, and with the huge growth in online gaming, it looks set to blossom through this century and beyond.

4 Although poker, as we know it today, is thought to have developed in New Orleans in the 19th century, it was most likely based on an ancient Persian game called ‘ As Nas’.

Winning facts

5 Card games like poker are believed to make kids smarter as they develop skills in maths, decision making, and strategy development –http://www.independent.ie/life/family/learning/how-poker-and-other-oldfashioned-games-can-help-children-get-smarter-31357233.html.

6 In summer 2013, the Isle of Man hosted the world’s largest poker tournament, with a quarter of a million players paying a dollar to enter, in the hope of winning 25k in return.

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Facts and figures

7 At least 20% of the population play poker and the growth in technology has made online poker cash games at sites such as http://onlinecasinopokerroom.com/ increasingly popular.

8 A royal flush is the most powerful hand any poker player can hope for, probably because the chance of being dealt one in your first hand (in straight poker) is around 650,000 to 1. The odds are slightly better in a seven card game, dropping to about 30,000 to 1.

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