10 Interesting Poker Facts
Thanks to a storied history and plenty of rich traditions, poker is filled with lots of quirks and anecdotes. Here are ten interesting facts that every poker player will want to get familiar with. They’ll not only enrich your understanding of the game but you’ll probably be inclined to share them.
Unknowns have emerged from obscurity to win the WSOP Main Event.
You don’t have to pay your dues for decades to make a name for yourself in the lucrative world of professional poker. Case in point: Chris Moneymaker. The American bagged $2.5M in 2003 after winning his Las Vegas seat online in a $39 tournament. Other players around the globe have followed in his footsteps.
The World Series Of Poker actually features over 60 events and bracelets up for grabs.
Although the main event offers the largest prizes and garners the most press including high profile TV coverage of the final table, it’s just part of a larger story. The biggest event in poker features every popular poker variety plus special tourneys for casino employees, seniors, and ladies.
Doyle Brunson won the World Series Of Poker two years in the row with the exact same cards.
In 1976 and 1977 Brunson won the Main Event with a 10-2. Even casual poker fans know how limited the potential those two cards hold. Yet Doyle prevailed twice with a full house in ’76 and two pairs a year later. Luck of the draw indeed!
The longest continuous poker game began in 1881 and didn’t end until 8 years, 5 months, and 3 days.
Naturally there was a steady stream of dealers and players at the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone Arizona, which was open around the clock for everyone’s convenience. Yet it’s hard not to be impressed by that sort of marathon in a world where electricity was still in its infancy. Legend has it that over $10,000,000 changed hands, which is close to a half billion Australian dollars adjusted for inflation.
Poker is a truly global game with a family tree whose roots touch every corner of the earth.
The world’s most popular card game would be possible without 10th century Chinese dominos, 12th century Egyptian playing cards, 16th century Persian gambling, 16th century Spanish primero, 18th century French poque, and 19th century New Orleans poker.
The record for the largest No Limit Hold’em prize pool of $82.5M (US Dollars) was set during the 2006 WSOP Main Event.
This figure has stood the test of time thanks to the number of amateurs who flooded the tournament during the height of global poker consciousness.
Prior to 1978 the World Series Of Poker Main Event was winner take all.
Beginning in 1978 the top five players would split the pot. The new prize format ultimately changed the face of the game, attracting the first female player that summer, propelling the first amateur to victory in 1979, and eventually enticing international entrants.
The deadman’s hand is named after legendary gunfighter and gambler James Butler Kickok, who was shot while holding pairs of black aces and eights.
Since that fateful day in August 1876, superstitious poker players have considered this hand to be ominous. We’re more curious what the fifth card of this likely winning hand was.
It took nearly 100 years for Texas Hold’em to explode internationally.
Although the game’s origins are widely subject to debate, Texas Hold’em can be traced to the turn of the 20th century in Robstown, Texas. While the game ultimately made its way to Las Vegas in the 1960s, it didn’t dominate until it was regularly broadcast on television in the early 2000s. Thanks to the rise of internet poker over the past decade, Texas Hold’em is the go to game in Australia and across the globe.
When playing with a conventional 52-card deck, there are a total of 2,598,960 possible poker hands and only one of them is a royal flush.
For comparison’s sake, the odds of landing a straight flush are 1 in 64,974. The chances of hitting a full house are 1 in 694. While the likelihood of landing two pairs is 1 in 21. Keep in mind these are strictly the possible card combinations and don’t factor in your access to community cards, discarded cards, or any cards deemed wild.