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20 Fascinating Facts About Poker: From Origins to World Records

Poker table with cards and chips

Poker is a fascinating game that has captured the hearts of millions around the world. It’s a game of skill, strategy, and luck that has been played for centuries. In this article, we’ll explore 20 facts about poker that you may not know.

  1. The name “poker” is believed to have originated from the French word “poque” which means “to bluff”. Its exact origins are uncertain, but it has become synonymous with the popular card game and is recognized and played worldwide.
  2. Despite there being over 160 different varieties of poker, only around 20 are popular and widely played. A staggering 90% of players stick to just two of these games: Texas Hold’em and Omaha.
  3. The 52-card deck used in poker has a fascinating history, with the number of cards corresponding to the number of weeks in a year and the four suits representing the seasons. The values of all cards in the deck add up to 364, with the joker bringing the total to 365, the number of days in a standard calendar year.
  4. The first documented game of poker was played in New Orleans in the early 19th century, around 1829.
  5. To maintain the integrity of the game, casinos change the deck of cards every 15 minutes. In large tournaments like the WSOP, hundreds of new decks are used, which are then sold to smaller establishments. This prevents cheating by players who may have marked or memorized cards from previous games, ensuring fairness and trust in the game.
  6. The weight of poker chips may vary depending on their quality and materials used. The most luxurious chips that are used in high-end casinos and major tournaments may weigh up to 12 grams, while low-quality plastic chips can weigh only 4 to 9 grams.
  7. In a remarkable display of skill and determination, Hal Lubarsky, a completely blind man, participated in the World Series of Poker tournament in 2007 and even placed 197th out of thousands of players. Despite being unable to see his opponents or the cards he was dealt, Hal used a specially designed “reader” device that transmitted the names of his cards through a microphone in his ear. In turn, the dealer announced the cards out loud as they were laid out on the table. Hal’s success is a testament to the power of human adaptability and the potential of technology to empower individuals with disabilities.
  8. A standard 52-card deck used in many card games, such as poker, offers an astonishing number of possible card combinations. There are exactly 2,598,960 distinct five-card hands that can be created from a 52-card deck.
  9. Modern poker rooms face the challenge of creating a truly random card-dealing program to ensure fair play. While random number generators are used to deal cards, they may not actually provide truly random results, as they can be influenced by various factors, such as mouse movements and clicks, as well as other data from the player’s computer, like the temperature of the CPU or motherboard. The ultimate goal of such a program is to ensure that each card dealt is random and not based on any previous hand.
  10. The rarest combination in poker is Flush Royale. Many players in a lifetime do not collect it once. However, Alex Hemstrey, who played in a casino in Las Vegas in 1994, was able to collect two consecutive combinations in just two hands. However, he could win only $100, because all of his opponents simply discarded their cards in a pass. But the American was able to go down in history as the most successful player of his kind.
  11. The largest prize pool in the history of the World Series of Poker was $347.9 million in 2022.
  12. Richard Nixon won approximately $7,000 in poker during his time in the U.S. Navy and used the money to fund his first campaign for Congress. He later became the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974.
  13. The youngest person to win the World Series of Poker Main Event was Joe Cada, who was 21 years old when he won in 2009.
  14. The oldest person to win the World Series of Poker Main Event was Johnny Moss, who was 66 years old when he won in 1974.
  15. The highest stakes ever played in a game of poker were $1,000,000/$2,000,000 in a private game between billionaire businessman Bill Perkins and Dan Bilzerian.
  16. The first online poker site, Planet Poker, was launched in 1998.
  17. The longest poker game in history lasted for 8 years, 5 months, and 3 days in The Bird Cage Theatre.
  18. The odds of getting a Royal Flush are approximately 1 in 649,740.
  19. The “dead man’s hand” is a term used to describe a two-pair hand consisting of black aces and black eights. This hand is associated with the Wild West gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok, who was shot and killed while holding this hand.
  20. The game of poker has inspired many songs, including “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers and “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga.


  1. Poker – History of Poker
  2. The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky (ISBN: 9781880685006)
  3. World Series of Poker website
  4. ESPN
Bogdan Kravets

Bogdan Kravets

Bogdan Kravets is the founder of FactsID. He has over 7 years of experience in collecting facts, SEO, and Digital Marketing. In his spare time, he studies psychology and sociology.

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