Club Pierre Charron

Texas Hold'em had rather modest, low-key beginnings in the world of gambling, and it was under the tireless lights of Las Vegas that it began to gain popularity among big casino players, eventually becoming a favorite of TV viewers and online gamblers alike thanks to the internet boom. But long before it became the star game of TV shows and movies, how and where did Texas Hold'em poker originate?

Unclear origins

In truth, little is known about the invention of Texas Hold'em, and opinions differ. Poker's earliest ancestors are thought to have come from Europe, the Middle East and China. The game as we know it today finally took shape in the early 1800s in America. One of the earliest forms of poker, called "poque", was played in the gambling dens of New Orleans.

According to some theories, the word "poker" also comes from the German word "pochen", meaning "to hit".

The beginnings of Texas Hold'em in its current form

As its name suggests, Texas has something to do with its history! The town of Robstown, Texas, is officially recognized as the birthplace of the game as we know it today, dating back to the early 1900s. After the game spread throughout Texas, hold'em was introduced to Las Vegas in 1963 by a handful of professional Texas card players, including well-known poker legends Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim and Crandell Addington. From there, nothing could stop its ascent.

Las Vegas and the growing fame of Texas Hold'em

During its early years in Vegas, you could only play Texas Hold'em poker in one casino, the Golden Nugget, which was far from being the most popular casino of the day. So the game remained in relative obscurity until 1969, when the first Texas Hold'em poker tournament was held at The Dune casino, right in the middle of the Strip. The tournament was a great success, and poker's popularity soared.

1970 and the creation of the WSOP

One of the greatest milestones in the history of Texas Hold'em was the advent of the World Series of Poker in 1970, when Benny and Jack Binion, father and son, bought the rights to the Gambling Fraternity Convention and changed its name to World Series of Poker. The very first WSOP in history took place at Binion's Horseshoe, the casino they owned, and was won by Johnny "The Grand Old Man of Poker" Moss.

For the record, the first WSOP was a series of cash games including five-card stud, deuce to seven low-ball draw, razz, seven-card stud and, of course, the famous Texas hold 'em. The Main Event format with Texas Hold'em freeze-out only appeared the following year.

The arrival of No Limit Hold'em poker in Europe

The popularity of Texas Hold'em continued to grow in the 1980s, when gambling establishments in California began to offer the game, and received a further boost when Irish bookmakers Terry Rogers and Liam Flood decided to introduce it to Europe, staging the first-ever 'Irish Poker Open in 1980. This makes it the second oldest No limit Texas Hold'hem tournament in the world, behind only the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Online poker and the Texas Hold'hem boom

The first real-money online poker site, the late Planet Poker, appeared in 1998 and was followed three years later by Partypoker, which is still well known today.

But it was in 2003 that Texas Hold'em went from popular game to mega-star.

The victory of the aptly-named Chris Moneymaker at the WSOP main event, after qualifying for $40 on the Internet, turned the poker world on its head, as well as the world of sport and the media as a whole. Overnight, Moneymaker inspired millions of people to try their luck at poker, and becoming a professional poker player suddenly seemed within everyone's grasp. The number of participants exploded over the next two years, from a field of 839 players in 2003 to 5619 in 2005!

This fascinating game, which Mike Sexton once said "takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master", and which has been called dead more than once, is still far from the end of its history!


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