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Where Did Poker Come From? A History of Card Games

How did a game that is so fascinating and attracts people around the world begin? Some say it’s the devil’s invention, deriving straight from hell. Playing cards first appeared in the 13th century in China. Then, around 1360, they found their way via Egypt to Europe. The inhabitants of Egypt played a game called ganjifa, the “treasure game”, which was one of the first to include elements of betting. Interestingly, the cards were made of ivory at that time. Similar entertainment arose in Persia, whose inhabitants played a game called as-nas. This game required 25 cards, and, most importantly, the bidding element and hierarchy of hands was also included.

Poker in Europe began to develop at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries. In Germany, there was pochen (from the word for “knock”), which in English became “poke” and gave us the word poker. The French were passionate about a game called Poque. These games all have their roots in the Spanish game primero, which was very close to today’s poker.

Poker blossomed in popularity when the French colonists arrived in the USA, specifically in New Orleans, in the state of Louisiana. From there, the game began to conquer areas along the Mississippi River and then all America. In the west of America, poker was spread by settlers during the Gold Rush. One can only imagine how such games looked, especially in the near vicinity of the prospecting areas and in touching distance of the most valuable ore.

The Real Beginnings of Poker

Such characteristics as a willingness to take risks, an unshakeable will in battle in the pursuit of victory, and aggression, were far more influential in deciding the outcome of a game than they are today. Yet such qualities remain important for players on the road to victory.

After a huge success and great popularity in America, the game began to be played with the English deck of 52 cards, which gave us the flush. The next stage in the development of poker was the Civil War period (1861-1865). Draw Poker and Stud Poker both emerged, and the straight became a new hand in the game.

The image of poker enthusiasts, and of the game itself, did not began to change further until the turn of the 1970s and 1980s. In Las Vegas arcades, cowboys in their hats became rarer sights, and more and more math teachers and professors in suits began to play.

Free Poker Games for Fun: Cards Online

Nowadays, online poker has become very popular. Players can sit in their robes in front of a computer screen and play for long hours and high stakes without leaving home. This offers extra opportunities to practice, as you can play free poker games online.

For a dozen or so years, poker has also been depicted in various television shows, thanks to the invention of the Hole-Card-Cam, a camera that allows television and internet viewers to see the players’ cards.

Texas Hold ’em and Other Variations of Poker

When you see any poker game on the internet, on TV, or during a meeting with friends, you can confidently go all-in that it will be Texas Hold ’em. Bearing in mind the enormous popularity of this variety of poker, it’s easy to get free poker practice. Anyone can watch international TV tournaments from the best casinos in the world, use experienced players’ streams, and read books to gain knowledge and build new game strategies. The best teacher, however, is training.

If you’re just getting started with poker, you can play free poker online. In this way you will always find partners for a game, you will not risk losing money, you will know exactly how each round is played, you will learn to bet well, and you will get to know the real value of the cards in a hand.

Texas Hold ’em is very easy to learn, but on your journey into poker you will encounter players who lack basic knowledge of the game – which will of course benefit you. In the 21st century, information is the most valuable asset in a financial investment – and that includes poker. One of the famous poker adverts says: “You need a minute to learn Texas Hold ’em, but a lifetime to master it”. Besides, Texas Hold ’em is the most interesting form of poker. In no other form of the game will you find so much action and changes in the gameplay. Each hand is different and there are infinite ways to win.

How to Play Texas Hold ‘em Poker: Terminology and Glossary


Poker terms are so well known among players that they appear in all TV tournaments, poker books, in video streams, and even in free poker games online. Without knowledge of these terms, starting your adventure in poker can be really difficult. The basic and most important terms of Texas Hold ’em poker, listed below, will help you avoid this.


This involves moving all of your chips to the middle of the table and betting everything on your hand. This play is very often used to bluff, and is common in free poker games for fun because there is no pressure of losing money.


A payment into the pot required of all players before the cards are dealt. An ante is not required in all competitions, and is most common in tournaments and fast games.

poker figure


The first chips placed in the pot during the course of a game.


Payments required from two players, who must add a certain amount to the pot without looking at their cards. Blinds are required from the first two players sitting directly to the left of the dealer, and are played before the cards are dealt, including in poker games for fun.

Big Blind

Payment that the player to the left of the small blind must pay before the first hand is dealt.


The cards dealt to the center of the table in Texas Hold ‘em. Thy are visible to and may be used by all players. Also called community cards.


Large chip marking a player at the table as the dealer. The name is also used for the last and best position at the Texas Hold ’em poker table.


Placing the same number of chips as an earlier player. This occurs when a player wants to check a previous bet or match the blinds.


Used by a player to stay in the game without betting, that is, without putting money in the pot. The check is also used to bluff and disguise good cards in a player’s hand.


Tactical variant on the check. A player first checks, then, when another one raises the stake, raises in the betting round.


The player who distributes cards in a given round, distributes the pot and oversees the game.


The deck of cards from which the dealer distributes the cards.


A hand that could still be strengthened, for example, a straight in which just one card is missing.


The first three community cards revealed to all players by dealer. This is also the second round of betting.


Withdrawing from the game during your turn. Experienced players say that the art of poker involves not only good betting, but also good folding.


A game or hand involving only two players. It is worth pointing out that, in a one on one game,

the value of each hand drawn increases compared to games with more players.


Also known as the Side-Card. This is the highest card, not one of a pair, held by a player. For example, if two players have a pair of kings in their hands and on the table, the one with he higher kicker wins.


To play the minimum stake required for a bet without raising. Most commonly played by the person after the big blind.


The best hand possible in a given round. Before the flop, it will bea pair of aces.


The number of cards in the deck that may strengthen a player’s hand.

poker texas hold'em figure


Increase the number of chips previously placed by another player. Some tournaments have a limit.


Payment to the pot required of the player directly to the dealer’s left, before the first hand. Its value is equal to half of the big blind.


The number of chips that a player has at any given moment.


The position of the player directly to the left of the one who placed the big blind in the pot. The names comes from the fact that, while the first player is betting, everyone else is scrutinizing them, their decision, and the conditions at the table. This is the most difficult position in poker and should only be played with a strong hand or a bluff.

Play Poker with Friends or for Money: Possible Hands in Texas Hold ‘em

In Texas Hold ’em poker, the winner is the player who makes the best five-card hand from seven cards (the two they hold, plus five on the board). It is very important to be aware of the possible combinations of cards and their values. Note that each hand has a different value depending on when it appears. Below you will find all available hands, in order the weakest to the strongest, with a brief description of each. This knowledge is essential if you want to play poker with friends for fun, and if you want to get involved for money.


When the whole board is unveiled, and the player does not have any combination hand. With high card, It is worth pointing out that in poker the suit does not matter. If none of the player’s opponents can make a hand either, the highest card wins. If the highest cards are equal, then the second, third, fourth or fifth highest card wins. When the best hand is made only of community cards, not the cards held by the players, it is a draw and the pot is split.

One Pair

This is a two card hand. You can get a pair from the dealer or make one using a community card. When players have the same value pair, the one with the stronger kicker wins.

Two Pairs

Two cards of one value and two cards of another. For example, two queens and two aces. Such a hand can be created in many ways, including when a player holds one pair in their hand and there is another on the board, or when a player holds two different cards in their hand and their pairs appear on the board. When two players have two pairs, the one with the higher pair wins.

Three of a Kind

A combination of three cards of equal value. If a player holds two cards in their hand and there is another on the board, this makes the combination. This is one of the most common hands for winning from a pair. If you have a three on the flop you can start thinking about high stakes.


Five consecutive cards in different suits. When several players have a straight, the one with the highest card in the hand wins. The lowest card may also be used, but never both highest and lowest during one game. Examples of a straight include Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten, and Ace, Two, Three, Four, Five. A player may not, of course, create a straight of King, Ace, Two, Three, Four. Completing a straight may take two forms. The first is a straight that is open at both ends (such as Ten, Jack, Queen, King). The second, more difficult, is when one card is missing, but in the middle (such as Ace, King, Jack, Ten).


A hand of five cards of the same suit. When two players have a flush, the one with the highest card wins. Very often two cards of the same suit are dealt to the player. Remember to bet wisely on a flush – for assumptions may be misleading, and despite appearances this hand appears relatively rarely.


A hand consisting of three of a kind and a pair. When two players have a full house, the one with the strongest three of a kind wins. If the players have three of a kind of the same value, the pair decides the winner. In the event that pairs are equal, the game is a draw.

Four of a Kind

A hand of four cards of the same value (also called Quads). When two players have the same value four of a kind, the kicker decides the winner.


Like a straight, a sequence of consecutive cards, but this time of the same suit. This is almost the best possible hand.


The highest and rarest poker hand possible. This consists of five consecutive cards from Ten to Ace, of the same suit. It is worth mentioning an English saying here – if you want to see a royal flush in a casino, you must go to the toilet. The probability of a royal flush in poker is simply very low, but it gives you 100% confidence in winning.

Knowing the basic terminology and possible combinations of cards, you can start playing free poker card games. But before trying real money games, you should know how a round of poker progresses, and the most important poker tips. Remember that the road to victory requires time – which is worth sacrificing by looking for free poker games to play and practice.

Free Poker Games Online: A Round of Texas Hold ‘em

After shuffling a deck of 52 cards, the dealer gives each player two cards, which only they see. It is worth mentioning that a maximum of 10 people can play at one table. The role of dealer is taken over by each player in a clockwise manner. The two players to the left of the dealer pay the blinds, the first placing the small blind and the second the big blind. After the blinds are placed and the cards are dealt, the first round of betting takes place – without any community cards.

1. First betting round

The first betting round starts with the player to the immediate left of the big blind. This “under-the-gun” player is required to start bidding, and based on an evaluation of the cards held may check, raise or fold.

The first round ends when the betting reaches the player who placed the big blind. Depending on the course of the betting, this player basically has three options:

Check, if nobody has raised.

Raise, to reduce the number of players in the round or to show the strength of their hand.

Fold, if the stake is too high for the player’s hand.

If nobody checks or raises during the first round, the player who placed the big blind wins and no cards are placed on the board.

2. Second betting round – the Flop

When the first round of betting is completed, the flop occurs, and all players see the first three community cards. Before dealing these cards, the dealer rejects the first on the stack – commonly known as burning the card. After this, the dealer will place one card on the board.

This time, the first player to the left of the dealer, who placed the small blind, starts the betting. They may check or bet, but folding isn’t worth it at this point, as the fourth card can cost nothing. After this, each player joins the betting, in clockwise order. In some games there is a pre-agreed raise limit for a round, but not in the vast majority of games.

3. Third betting round – the Turn

When betting on the flop ends, a fourth card is dealt onto the board. Before doing so, the dealer must burn one card. The betting round follows the same course as the previous one. The name of this stage of the game (the turn) suits the situation perfectly, because very often this single card completely changes the game. Hands being built earlier can often lose their value, or a player may start betting very hard. At this point, it is worth wondering whether this player did not bet on the flop because they had nothing and the fourth card gave them the hand, whether they already had a strong hand with the flop, or whether they held a strong pair from the very beginning.

4. Fourth betting round – the River and Showdown

At the end of the third round, the dealer, like in previous rounds, burns the first card from the deck and deals the last card (called the river) onto the table. The last round of betting is identical to the previous one. When betting is over it’s showdown time – with the players showing their cards. The last player to raise or bet must be the first to show their cards. However, if everyone checked, the player who started the betting in this round shows first. The player with the best hand from seven cards (two of their own and five on the board) wins.

It may look like just one round of poker takes a long time, but nothing is further from the truth. In online games, each game has time limits, and in tournaments a player who takes too much time often finds themselves the target of the other players at the table. If you are just starting your adventure in poker, there won’t be any all-night tournaments up to 10 hours long for you. Playing free poker games for fun will not be so time-consuming.

Learning to play – how to win at poker

Poker has become an extremely popular game across the globe. It certainly pays off to learn the ins and outs of the game and most importantly, how to win at poker. It’s an exciting form of entertainment but it also requires skills and knowledge. Interested in learning how to win at poker? The best gambling sites can be found online where you can get valuable tips and start your poker adventure.

On the road to becoming a pro – start from basics

To learn to play well and find out how to win at poker, the basics should be touched upon first. You can grab hold of various poker themed books and have a long read, or you can simply jump on one of the best gambling sites online and start having some fun with learning to play. What’s important when first starting out is getting the basic information that you need to play such as learning all the possible card arrangements by heart and understanding the card rankings The best gambling sites will give you the chance to play as if you were in on online casino which is a bonus when you do not want to spend any money when starting out.
It’s also a good idea to learn the simple poker rules and get some tips on game play so you will start understanding how to win at poker.

Observing other players – learn how to win at poker

Once you have the basics of poker wrapped around your finger, another good way to start learning how to win at poker is to observe other players. Why not spend time on watching professional poker tournaments? You do not have to leave the house to do so – there are plenty of poker games showed on tv and you can also enter the best gambling sites and carefully observe the action online. When watching a game transmitted on tv, pay attention to what the commentators say about the gameplay and players’ moves. You can also invite a few friends over who already know how to play and win at poker and observe their behavior – it’s a good idea to sit right next to them so that you can see their cards. Just make sure not to ask too many questions during the actual game as it would be better to wait until the game finishes to get your answers.

On your way to becoming a poker pro

Once you are confident that you have all the information you need and you know how to win at poker, it’s time to get cracking. You can fire up your computer and have a go at one of the best gambling sites where they offer an online casino bonus, and you can also invite your pals over for a fun round of poker at home. Do whatever it takes to become confident that you know how to win at poker and don’t be afraid to ask your friends for valuable tips. By observing others carefully you will be on the road to understanding real poker etiquette.

When playing online one of the best gambling sites with an online casino bonus you have the perfect opportunity to conceal your facial expressions and body language – that way you can concentrate on your strategy and master your skills. Then, further down the track and after having played a few good rounds, you will be able to enter a real game and pay attention to many parts of the game at the same time. There are also mobile applications that let you train your brain and learn how to win at poker by offering free poker games that you can play when waiting in the queue at the store or at the post office.

To become a fully blown professional at poker takes some time and patience but it is definitely worth it! It’s important to keep on going and soon enough you will be convinced that poker is a fun and exciting game that teaches you valuable skills.

Body language and the poker face – what really matters in poker?

Being successful at a game of poker does not always boil down to pure luck. If you are able to read your opponent’s body language and facial expressions (including the well-known “poker face”), then you’re on the path to success. Get to know what to pay attention to when playing a fun round during a poker night with friends or online in a poker room.

A poker night with pals or a high-stakes game?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re simply playing poker for fun with a couple of mates or in an online poker room, or you’re taking part in a big-game tournament in a casino in Las Vegas. Regardless of the way the game is played, you would need to know what the most common made mistakes are so that you can learn to avoid them. Keep these tricks in mind and in the blink of an eye, you will find it easy to guess your opponent’s next move and figure out if they’re bluffing or not. At the same time, keep an eye on your own actions and body language.

Keeping a watchful eye on player’s moves (and your own behavior) will give you a heads up in the game when playing in a poker room or during a poker night with friends.

Watch your opponent’s facial expressions

Whether you’re in a casino in Las Vegas playing an exclusive round of poker or you’re at home and have entered an online poker room, observation is the key to poker success. Any type of movement of the body can be a dead giveaway to what the player is feeling and what type of hand they have. You can also guess if they are bluffing. Your opponent may get a strong hand and you notice that their eyebrows raise at the sight of these cards. Or, they may have a weak hand so their pupils may narrow down to pin pricks. Another tell-tale sign is when someone bites their lower lip which means they are not too sure about their hand and what to do next.

Once you become good at deciphering these signs that show if your opponent is bluffing or has a weak or strong hand, you’ll be on your way to becoming a pro in the online poker room or when having a poker night with your pals. You’ll be able to start playing poker like the pros in the casino, Las Vegas style!

Body language and poker

Every gesture and movement can give information on what your opponent is intending to do as their next move in the game. Grabbing for a drink might indicate that they are trying to cover up their bluffing or a really strong hand. The key is to observe carefully all your opponent’s moves because even the small movements send a message your way. If your opponent starts getting fidgety and restless, this can also mean they are bluffing. You can take the advantage by mastering your own body language and taking control of your gestures during a poker night or in an online poker room.

Another sign to look out for is when your opponent moves chips in a harsher or more aggressive way – this might mean they are upset with the hand they’re holding.

Learn how to bluff in the online poker room

If you’re new to poker and you don’t want to spend too much money right at the beginning, there are other ways to play this exciting card game. Why not jump online and try your hand in an online poker room – there are many websites available. Poker rooms are becoming very popular and attract many players from all around the world. You can also arrange a poker night at your home and practice your skills with your friends.

Once you get real good at this exhilarating card game, you will be able to win even if you don’t hold the strongest hand. It comes down to reading your opponents well and knowing when they are trying to bluff or fool you. This is a technique that takes much practice but it’s an attainable goal thanks to the many online poker rooms available that you can practice in.

You may encounter online poker players that try to trick their opponents with aggressive play whilst having a weak hand. You may be almost forced to fold due to their changes in strategy which may confuse you. So if you come across such players whilst starting out, make sure you don’t give up – it’s all part of the game! Soon enough you’ll be so good that the next destination would be the Las Vegas Casino.