According to the history of poker, poker- or similar kind of card games date as far back as 969 AD. But although it is not 100% clear, it is said that texas hold’em poker, one of the most popular poker variants today, seems to have been born in the early 1900s, in a place called Robstown, in Texas. In fact, this is even officially confirmed in legal documents from the State of Texas.
Word has it that a group of Texan gamblers then introduced texas hold’em poker to other card players in Las Vegas in 1967. This included the likes of Crandell Addington; Amarillo Slim; Roscoe Weiser and “The Grandfather of Poker,” Doyle Brunson.
Called a variety of names by different people, such as hold ’em; texas poker; texas hold’em poker; or texas hold’em; Texas Hold’em Poker is a community poker game. The rules of Texas Holdem require that each player must attempt to make up a winning poker 5-card poker hand, using the 2 hole cards that he/she has been dealt as well as the 5 community cards that are dealt face up and shared by all players.
After a betting round, three community cards called the flop, are dealt. Another betting round then follows, during which each player must bet on the strength of his/her hand, pre-empting what the opponents could possibly hold. A fourth card is then dealt, which is called the turn, after which the same procedure follows. Once the fifth and last card, called the river is dealt, a final betting round follows, after which players must showdown. The player that holds the best hand, subject to the standard poker hand rankings, wins the game and takes the pot.
Dubbed “the thinking man’s game,” this game structure of texas hold’em poker makes it possible for players to apply mathematical analysis and base their decisions on calculated probabilities. And it is probably for this reason that it became so popular, so quickly.
Originally texas hold’em poker could only be played at the Golden Nugget Casino in Downtown Las Vegas, which according to rumor was not a very desirable location. Due to demand from professional poker players, texas hold’em was offered by the more prominent Dunes Casino from 1969 and became a very profitable game for serious gamblers. In the same year, Texas Hold’em was also played at the very first poker tournament during the Second Annual Gambling Fraternity Convention.
A year later, in 1970, Benny and Jack Binion seized the opportunity to continue with tournament poker and bought the rights to this convention. They renamed it the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and moved it to one of their own casinos, Binion’s Horseshoe Casino.
It is reported that a well-known journalist Tom Thackrey, soon afterward suggested that the betting structure of hold’em poker should be changed to such an extent, that there is no limit to the amount that one can raise during a betting round. This recommendation was accepted; “No Limit Texas Hold’em” was born and became the game format of the Main Event.
By 1972, the World Series of Poker had 72 entrants. By 1982, it had a playing field of just over 100 and by 1991; it had more than 200 players. During this time, Doyle Brunson published a poker strategy guide titled Super/System, which was the first book ever that discussed texas Holdem rules and strategies.
Texas hold’em poker then started to feature outside of Nevada as well, caught on like wildfire, and soon spread to the rest of the world. The real explosion of texas hold’em though, came when Binions’ Horseshoe was purchased by Harrah’s Entertainment in 2004. Harrah’s sold the original casino, kept the rights to the WSOP, and moved it to their own Hotel & Casino, the Rio, which is located just off the Las Vegas Strip.
Before long, the World Series became the world’s most illustrious series of poker tournaments, with a $10,000 Buy-In No-Limit Texas Hold’em Event as its Main Event. By 2006 a record number of 8,773 people entered the WSOP Main Event alone. And by 2008, close to 7000 players entered, resulting in a jaw-dropping prize pool of more than $64million!
It, therefore, comes as no surprise that today, texas hold ’em is one of the most popular variants of poker and a texas hold’em poker table can be found in almost every poker room in every casino worldwide.