The Rise in Popularity of Poker

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The Rise in Popularity of Poker

Poker is any of several variations of card games in which players bet on the value of their hands; with the highest ranking hand winning the pool. The origins of the game are not clear, with some believing that it is a derivative of the Persian game of As Nas, and others pointing to a French game called Poque.

The uniqueness of poker, however, lies in the gambling element, which did not exist in any of the earlier games.

The Rise of Poker

The 1970s saw a sudden spike in the game’s popularity, notably due to the commencement of the World Series of Poker. The game had by then captured the imagination of the public enough for the birth of serious strategy and theory books on the subject.

The introduction of community poker in 1987 proved to be a massive hit, as people enjoyed this form considerably more than the variants of draw poker that were played up until that time.

The emergence of online poker games had the effect of getting extraordinary numbers of people hooked on the game, and online poker revenues grew exponentially. Poker became a spectator sport with the introduction of hole card cameras, bringing in huge audiences, and turning poker pros into celebrities overnight. Increasingly, poker fans began to enter tournaments for a chance to play with the stars.

South African Stars

The poker fever that had infected the world soon spread to South Africa, creating in the process the country’s first poker millionaire, Christopher Convery, who won the All Africa Poker Series and took home a million rand prize.

Ray Rahme, who insists that poker is just a hobby, became the highest earning African poker player ever, winning a spectacular 24 million rand for coming in third at the 2007 World Series of Poker. 

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