5 Interesting Facts

With millions of players worldwide, poker is a wildly popular game to play online and in person. And while it's important to know the rules of the game before trying your hand at this entertaining pastime, it's a lot of fun to learn interesting facts about it as well! As part of our history, pop culture and more, poker has a lot of fascinating tales to tell and trivia tidbits abound. Read on to discover 5 interesting facts about poker here.

1. Poker evolved from dominos

Although its exact origins aren't known, poker is said to have evolved through various games over the century, including domino and ranked card combinations. Emperor Mu-Tsung was reported to have played "domino cards" on New Year's Eve with his wife in the year 969 A.D. Regardless of its domino-like origins, bluffing has always been central to the game and remains so today.

2. Poker used to be played with just 20 cards

Early poker games were not played with the standard 52-card deck we use today; in fact, that deck came about in the mid 1800s to accommodate more players. According to several authors of mid-19th century books, people playing poker started out using a 20-card deck. This necessitated bets being made in a narrow combination range with four players each getting five cards dealt to them.

3. The first $1 million game of poker took place in 2012

Most of us play poker for low to middle stakes, but Guy Laliberte, the CEO of Cirque Du Soleil, decided to go for broke when he suggested a $1 million buy-in tournament in 2012. It seemed like folly at first, but 48 players participated in this dramatic tournament at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the winner, "The Magician" Antonio Esfandiari, taking home a record $18,346,673 in winnings.

4. The first-ever televised game of poker was in 1973

Although poker was widely played prior to the 1970s, it hadn't made its way to being an interest to television audiences. But that all changed as interest grew in the World Series of Poker after its debut in 1970. When CBS Sports covered the dramatic competition in 1973, it became the first poker game broadcast on national television. It was the first of many broadcasts, and televised poker is a favorite on ESPN nowadays.

5. The longest-running game of poker ever played lasted more than 8 years

The Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone, Arizona, boasts that it hosted the longest poker game ever in 1881. The tournament, which had a $1000 buy-in, was said to last eight years, five months and three days. firsttimepokerplayer.com, upswingpoker.com, pokersites.co.uk