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Poker is a card game that has evolved from several different games over the centuries. One of the primary components of these games was the ability to place high bets on poor hands, "bluffing" opponents into thinking the hand was good. The immediate predecessor to poker was the French game Poque. French colonists who arrived in Canada in the 1700s brought the game with them to North America. In the early 1800s a group of French colonists founded New Orleans and poque spread from Louisiana north throughout the United States.

Poker began to dominate gambling in the mid 1800s. The first reference to the game in print was made in 1834 when Jonathan H. Greene wrote about "the cheating game" played on Mississippi river boats. Poker became very popular in saloons, as well as a favorite pastime of Civil War soldiers. Poker became Americanized in 1875 when the joker was added as a wild card.

Fans of the game of poker can collect many items related to the game. Besides poker chips and decks of cards, poker collectors can acquire photos and autographs of famous poker players, as well as poker related items owned or used by famous players. Collectors can even purchase World Series of Poker bracelets and rings.

Quick Facts

  • The state of Nevada legalized gambling in 1931 after it was declared that draw poker was a game of skill, not change, and therefore not subject to anti-gambling laws
  • The largest denomination that casino chips represent is $100,000. Casino chips are also used as poker chips in gambling establishments
  • The item most highly prized by poker collectors is the deck of cards used by a famous poker player to win a major tournament. If the deck is signed by the player, it becomes even more valuable

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