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Three-Card Poker History

The History of 3-Card Poker

Three-card poker is a contemporary version of an old game, a game steeped in tradition and folklore. No one is 100% sure how the name “poker” evolved; some scholars of poker history say that it comes from the German word "pochen," which means to brag or bluff, while other gambling aficionados say that it comes from a French card game called, “Poque.” It's easy to see how both those theories hold water; it's just not clear which one is leaking more.

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Poker: An American Game

The modern game of poker — the one we all know and love — is an American baby, born and bred on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers during the 19th century. A gambler by the name of Jonathan Green gave the game its current moniker in 1834. Gambling historians say that, since Green first labeled poker “the cheating game,” perhaps the name comes from the word “poke,” a phrase used “professionally” by pickpockets; there is some evidence that the card players of Green's era referred to their winnings as “pokes.”

Although it was definitely poker for all intents and purposes, the original poker game that Green wrote about was played with only 20 cards: all 12 face cards, the 4 tens, and the 4 aces. Slowly, over the years, the deck was increased first to 32 cards and then to the current 52 cards. Poker eventually left the rivers and hit the land running, spreading across the U.S. It was popular during the Civil War and even more so during the Gold Rush, particularly in California. Fifty years after Green called it “poker,” the game could be found in every saloon in the United States. Today — almost two centuries later — poker remains the most popular card game in the world.

Today — almost two centuries later — poker remains the most popular card game in the world. But poker was never a game to rest on its laurels or to tread water, and so it continues to re-invent itself. After a century of 5-card stud and 7-card draw, Texas Hold'em appears to be the most popular poker variation for the time being. But there is still plenty of space in the poker room for other poker variations, and 3-card poker is currently a particularly popular poker permutation.

Three-Card Poker Evolved from British Brag

Three-card poker is a relative newcomer to the poker room. It is clearly derived from a British card game called Brag and therefore a brief history of that game is in order. A few hundred years ago, the British played a betting game called Primero, which used three cards. That game morphed into a game called Post-and-Pair. As the betting rounds became more critical to the game, wild cards called Braggers were introduced and the name of the game changed yet again to Brag.

Although there are references to Three-Card Poker dating back many decades, the current casino version of Three-Card Poker is said to have been invented by a British poker player named Derek Webb. It is said that when Webb visited Las Vegas, he played the existing poker-based games but found them to be slow and boring. The variation from which it was derived was first called Brit-Brag or Casino Brag, but that was changed to the simpler and more straightforward name of “3-Card Poker.”

Three-Card Poker Online

The next big step in 3-card poker history was the migration to the Internet. The game is particularly easy to find at online casinos, although the name has evolved as frequently as the game itself. Three-card poker, tri-card poker, and tri-poker are all essentially the same game.

Modern online three-card poker is actually two games in one. There is the Ante and Play game, in which the player plays against the dealer to see who has the highest poker hand, and there is the Pair Plus game, in which the player bets on whether he will be dealt a winning poker hand of a pair or better. Both games confirm that the ability to play three-card poker online from the comfort of one's own home represented a major advance in three-card poker history.

Today, a top online 3-card poker site such as Wild Jack Casino offers several variations of the online three-card poker game: standard 3-Card Poker, 3-Card Poker Gold, Multi-hand 3-Card Poker, Flash 3-Card Poker, Mobile 3-Card Poker, and more. Three-card poker has sure come a long way after a rich and exciting history.

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