Is there no card game more exciting, requiring more cunning and strategy (and, sometimes, drinks) than poker? We think not. And here at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, we respect the mighty gambler’s game so much that we decided to poke around into its history.
And what a history it is! Poker’s origins are as murky and mysterious as a winning hand sometimes appears to be: card aficionados believe that poker started off as a Persian card game, As Nas, which was played in the 1500s. Others believe its origins go back even farther – to 10th Century China. Poker’s deepest roots remain unclear, but one thing is certain: we’ve long liked this game.
We do know that when poker arrived on U.S. shores, the version of the game at that time was (like blackjack and roulette) a card variety of French origin: French folk played Poque upon settling in New Orleans; poque resembled our draw poker game.
As gambling became more and more popular among the marauding traders, plantation owners, and riverboat men who gathered around casino tables in the Big Easy, so did poker. And as commerce ventured further up along the Mississippi and railroads, so did the game follow.
Saloons and their poker tables soon ventured West, mostly thanks to the Gold Rush in California and the need for strong diversions. Gunfights often ensued over card games, and refined skill as a six-shooter became almost de rigeur for professional gamblers (like Wild Bill Hickok and Doc Holliday). At that time, even women started publicly gambling, including both Calamity Jane and another named Poker Alice.
By the late 1800s, because of the “shoot first, think later” mentality that had started to proliferate around many a green tablecloth, a good number of Western frontier towns passed laws restricting gambling. Nevada was actually one of the first states to ban gambling, although the tides literally turned when construction began on the Hoover Dam in the 1930s.
Thankfully for those of us who love a genius game, poker is now not only respectable, it’s also said to be the most popular card game on Earth.
And here at the Riviera, we make poker even more appealing: our state-of-the-art, dedicated poker room offers live poker tournaments and lots of varieties: our main game is 1-2/1-3 No Limit Hold’em, but we often spread 2-3/3-6 Limit Hold’em. And we’ve also got Texas Hold’em, 7 Card Stud, pai gow poker, three-card poker and more! You’re sure to find your game here.
We also boast the largest Bad Beat Progressive on the strip, with a guaranteed first tier starting at $30,000! Find out more about our unbeatable Poker Room.