The History of Texas Hold’em Poker

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There is no precise document or recording to allow us to track the exact date in which Texas Hold’em was introduced to the poker world. However, the birthplace of the most popular variant of poker in the planet seems to be, as its name well states, Texas.

To be more precise, it was allegedly first played in the Texan town of Robstown in the early 1900s.

It arrived to Las Vegas around 1967 through a group of Texan players, among which Amarillo Slim and Doyle Brunson were found. Those years were important for poker, as in 1970 the first World Series of Poker was played at the Binion's Horseshoe and since 1972 its Main Event became the $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold 'em, which helped disseminate this version of the game around the world. However, the first available reference of Texas Hold’em is linked to Crandell Addington, a Texan poker player and entrepreneur, who was actually one of the founders of WSOP and is currently in the Poker Hall of Fame. Addington stated that the first time that he saw this variant of poker was in 1959 and that, unlike in draw poker (where you bet twice) in Texas Hold’em – with the Texas part of the name added later on - you could bet four times and, provided that one could play strategically, it “was more of a thinking man's game”.

Before the WSOP propagated it – and long before it became popular to play poker online for real money, this variant being the first choice on the online felt -, Texas Hold’em was only offered at the Golden Nugget Casino, which did not have a very luxurious poker room and therefore was not visited by many players. In 1969, however, a few pros were invited to play Texas Hold’em at the Dunes Casino (which closed in 1993, and was replaced by Bellagio) and despite a very profitable game came out of this encounter, another year had to go by before it finally became famous following the first WSOP at the Horseshoe.  

Texas Hold’em made it to other US states later on, and in 1988 it was already legal to play it in California. It is commonly believed that TV tournaments as well as online casinos have helped make this poker game as famous as it is nowadays and its simple rules also make it an appealing option to many. The cinema has also made it legendary, with films like Rounders or Casino Royale featuring Texas Hold’em games in them. In the latter, the famous agent plays No-Limit (although in Ian Fleming’s book he’s actually playing Baccarat) and goes all-in for 40 millions. With a straight flush, Bond actually ends up taking home 115 millions. However unrealistic this may seem, popular entertainment products such as this movie have turned Texas Hold’em into the world’s leading variant of poker.

As other options such as Omaha become increasingly popular and can be found on the most famous online casinos (as well as at some of the top events), Texas Hold’em continues to be the number one option. Pros such as Daniel Colman, Antonio Esfandiari, Erik Seidel or Phil Hellmuth consider it their favourite option on the felt and there is no wonder why. Simple, yet open to many strategic moves, Texas Hold’em keeps players on the edge of their seats, while letting them show their best hands and make large profits.

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