There’s something truly captivating about poker, the game of luck which you still need to be skilful enough to master and stand a chance of beating your opponents. With so many variations and such a long history of professional players, mega wins and scandals, there are plenty of nuggets of information about the game that will blow your mind. So let’s ‘flush’ out some of those myths and get a ‘full house’ of facts.
The Term Poker Comes From French, Which Originally Came From German
Sound complicated? It is a little. The term ‘poker’ closely resembles the French ‘poque’ (pronounced ‘pock’) which was inevitably mispronounced by the non-French speaking population of the Southern United States in the 19th century. It was originally a game which was much like modern-day poker in many ways, but which also bore a startling resemblance to a German game, with the not-so-catchy name ‘Pochspiel’. Both terms have their root in the words meaning ‘to bluff’, which is, as we all know, a major part of successfully playing poker. The history of poker is actually very interesting!
When The Chips Are Down, There’s Always A Back Up
Every casino in the world has a unique set of poker chips, with unique markings, fine inlays with distinctive markings, and recognisable distinguishing features. Staff are, of course, trained to recognise the chips from their casino to spot any possible counterfeits. Even casinos that are part of larger groups have to each have their different chips, and no casino will redeem chips from poker wins from another casino. As a matter of security, all casinos in the United States are required to have a back-up of set of chips, in case of a major security breach. So next time you’re pushing piles of chips in front of you to scare off your opponents, then have a closer look at them, as you’ll never see them anywhere else.
Poker Wasn’t Always So Complicated
The first versions of the game were much simpler than modern-day versions. In the beginning, it was played with just 20 cards, not a full 52-card deck, and each of the four players would be dealt five cards. There were no clay chips, just small objects of minor value, which represented sums of money, and there were certainly no million-pound bets.
The Odds Are Always Against You
Even in the fairest poker game, no single player can ever have an edge of more than 5% over their opponents, no matter how good a player they are. You may have a particularly good run for a certain time, but the odds are that your rate of winning will return to normal pretty soon and average out to your normal rate. So much of poker is down to the luck of the draw, and the fact is that the more you play, the more likely you are to win. But don’t say that to the world champions, or they might not take it as a compliment.
As Many Hands As People From Amsterdam
There are more possible hands in a game of poker than there are people living in Amsterdam. In fact, there are a total of 2,598,000 possible combinations in a five-card hand with a deck of 52 cards, and some, as we all know, are much more likely than others. In fact, you have an almost one in 65,000 chance of getting a straight flush, as opposed to a one in 21 chance of landing two pairs. So you could say you’re just as likely to get a chance to play with every single possible hand as you are to meet every person in Amsterdam. However, a Dutch stranger is less likely to make you significantly richer, whereas certain sought-after hands definitely are.
1 Brit At The Top
Of the top ten highest earners in professional poker, all but two are North Americans (from the United States or Canada). There is only one Briton in the top 10, but at number seven in the world, his earnings so far lag behind at £13,000,000, compared to the world number one, who has pocketed more than £20,000,000 just by playing his cards right.
The Poker President
Richard Nixon, one of the United States’ greatest-known presidents who first entered congress in 1946, only managed to get there thanks to poker. He used his substantial winnings from his game-playing to finance his campaign, and went on to become the 37th president – all thanks to the nation’s favourite casino game!