POKER is the collective name of a group of card games played in casinos, at home or on the Internet. falls internationally under games of skill, in the Netherlands under gambling games. Since April 2010, it has been recognized as a mind sport by the International Mind Sports Association. The most widely played form of poker at the beginning of the 21st century is Texas Hold ’em.

There are many different types of poker, but they have some similarities. For example, there are multiple rounds of betting each time, and when at least two players still have not passed after those betting rounds, a showdown takes place. In this, usually the best poker hand wins, although there are variants where the worst possible hand wins (lowball). If one player remains because all other players have passed, that player wins the pot and does not have to show his cards. If no bet has been made yet, a player can check and thus pass the turn to his opponent. The other option is to bet. If a bet has already been placed, the player can choose to call (pay the bet), raise (raise the bet) or fold (pass). Wagers already placed are part of the pot and cannot be withdrawn. A “poker hand” in most games is formed from the best possible combination of five cards, even if one has more or fewer cards in hand. This may involve using all five cards in the hand (e.g. 5 Card Draw), or using one or more community cards (face cards that can be used by all players), as in Hold’em or Omaha.

It is also possible that no card from the hand is used and only the community cards. Unlike checkers or chess, for example, poker is a game of incomplete information. One does not know what cards the opponents have in their hand. One must judge by experience, insight (into the game and into the opponents play or behavior by which they “betray” their cards) and probability what the best action is. The best course of action is achieved by approximating the course of action that would prevail if the opponent’s cards were known. A poker player usually keeps in mind the goal of making the decision that will pay off the most in the long run. is usually played with chips (called chips in poker jargon) that represent a cash value (in cash games) or points (in tournaments). Because of its popularity in America, poker also has a primarily English slang in the Netherlands and Belgium. For most poker terms there is a Dutch translation, but mainly English words are used to express poker actions or situations. is a game without official rules; there are only generally accepted unofficial rules and forms of etiquette that are applied worldwide. During poker, it is possible for mistakes to be made by the dealer or player(s) regarding the rules. To deal with the most common mistakes made by dealers, see dealer errors.

A special aspect of poker is bluffing. This means giving the impression of having better cards than one actually has in order to make the opponent(s) pass, with the intention of picking up the pot. If a player has relatively bad cards, then instead of passing, he can try to behave in such a way that it appears that he has good cards. This can be done by betting and/or raising others’ bets further, or otherwise behaving as if his hand is very strong. A bluff is successful when the other players pass, allowing the bluffer to win the pot.

Slow play is the opposite way to bluff. The player has good cards, but plays as if he has less good cards in hopes that the opponent will go with a lesser hand or raises. Many players run into trouble this way because it allows opponents to wait out other cards more cheaply and improve their poker hand. When a bluff is successful and the pot is won, the player does not have to show the cards because it has not come to a showdown. However, the bluff can still be shown to establish an image (“table image”) for the purpose of profiting later in the game. If the bluffing player does have a good hand later in the game and has built up a large pot, the opponent may be more inclined to pay the bet because of the player’s image. The mechanics of bluffing have been adopted in many other card and board games. With poker, many people often automatically make the link to bluffing and often forget that poker is much more than bluffing. A good player tries to make the optimal decision every time, and there are cases where that can be bluffing.

There are numerous types of poker games.

Each form of poker has its own distinctive capabilities in terms of betting, bluffing and understanding the opponent’s hand. The most commonly played types belong to one of three groups: Draw poker All players receive a number of “face down” cards. During the poker hand, one or more cards may be replaced by cards from the remaining deck. Stud poker The players receive cards of which one (or more) are face up and thus visible to the other players. No cards can be replaced as in draw poker. Well-known examples are 5 Card Stud and 7 Card Stud. Community card poker All players receive one or more personal cards, after which one or more cards are turned face up. These face-up cards act as “community cards” (community cards or “the board”). Each player has the opportunity to combine the cards in their hand with the face cards to form the best possible poker hand (of five cards). In the case where the best five cards are face-up, in some types of poker it is possible not to use any cards from the hand: this is referred to as “playing the board. Two popular varieties of community card poker are Texas Hold’em and Omaha (Hold’em) which use two and four hand cards respectively plus a five-card ‘board’.

In a cash game, the game is played directly for money.

In exchange for money, a player receives chips and at any time (except during a hand) a player can decide to quit and exchange his chips back for cash. There is usually a minimum buy-in and a maximum buy-in, although a player may be allowed to buy in as much as he likes. It is also always possible to reload, provided he does not exceed the maximum buy-in. The amount of bets in a cash game is determined by the limits of the particular poker game. For example, a cash game is often named with the blinds used. A ‘5-5 No Limit Hold’em cashgame’ is then a cashgame of the said variant where the small blind and the big blind are both five euros. In a tournament, everyone pays a deposit before the tournament starts, which is used to obtain tournament chips. A tournament usually ends when only one player remains and everyone else is eliminated. The goal in tournaments is to achieve a ranking such that one wins money. Typically, the ten to fifteen percent of players who have been in the tournament the longest are paid out, while all other players get nothing back and thus lose their stake. The payout structure of poker tournaments is almost always “top heavy,” meaning that the cash amounts are relatively high for the top-ranked players and the payout “flattens out” for the lower-qualified players. Unlike a cash game, the blind bets in a tournament are raised at regular intervals according to a set schedule so that the relative value of the chips diminish. In this way, organizers can properly plan when a tournament will end. Depending on the tournament format, it is sometimes possible to re-buy in one or more times during the tournament by means of a “rebuy,” where one pays for a new stack of chips.


Before the year 1000, the Chinese already knew a card game reminiscent of today’s dominoes.

Very likely, therefore, the Chinese were the first to develop a game using paper cards. This is the reason that there are those who think Marco Polo brought the card concept to the West, but this seems very unlikely since he documented his travels extensively and nowhere in them does he write about a card game. In Persia (present-day Iran), a card game called Âs Nas was also played hundreds of years ago, and in India several card games were also played. There are theories that point to Eastern card games as precursors to later European card games and poker. The strong similarity between some of the game concepts only reinforces these theories. Cards were divided into different colors (better known as “suits”) and hand strengths were played. Persia also traded extensively with France in the 17th and 18th centuries. So it is very plausible that the Persian game had its influence on European card games.

The first time a card game was written about in Europe was in the year 1377 by the southern German monk Johannes von Rheinfelden.

Ancient writings show that after this year, card games suddenly appeared all over Europe. Manuscripts after 1377 are full of references to card gambling games. It is unclear exactly how these card games originated; as described above, no evidence has ever been found for Eastern influences on European card games before the 17th century. The first European card game to bear great similarities to poker was the so-called pochspiel, which was played in Germany in the 15th century. The game had betting rounds, hand strengths and offered players the chance to bluff their hands. In the 17th century, a game called poque arises in France that seems to be directly descended from the pochspiel. Not only the pochspiel but also a Renaissance game called primero and an older French card game called brelan are at the cradle of poque. As already described, it is possible that oriental influences also applied to the development of the French card game due to the trade done with Persia at that time. The games that emerged in Europe at that time were already beginning to show quite a few characteristics of as we know it today. In the early 18th century, a card game called brag arose in England. In this game, the concepts of blinds, pot and flush made their appearance in the card world. Thus, the history of increasingly takes shape.


From the moment the Europeans began to colonize America on a large scale, the development of the game of poker gained momentum.

It is certain that the Europeans brought their cards and with them their card games to America and the English obviously had the biggest part in this. The various brag games developed and, because of the bluffing aspect, were also known as lying games. By the early 19th century, brag games and lying games had become so popular in the United States that even Native American tribes engaged in the game. From New Orleans, the game spread westward. In the Wild West, the game had a good chance to establish itself; the playing of cards and gambling suited well the adventurous types moving west. Relatively few rules prevailed compared to the more conservative east coast, which in turn was divided into an even more conservative south and north. Beginning in 1830, the conservative South got a better grip on the culture in the West and cracked down on gambling.

Professional gamblers were thrown out of towns and there are cases where gamblers were lynched. Professional gamblers were no longer allowed to play their games on the mainland and sought their way out to the so-called riverboats on the Mississippi River. Heavy roulette wheels and other casino equipment were not so suitable to be carried on the famous steamboats, and gamblers turned primarily to card games that were better known on the boats as the cheating games. The word poker also first appears during this period in a writing by Jonathan H. Green. He reports on these games in 1837 and concludes that no official name yet exists for it and he calls it poker.

Where the name comes from is not clear, most likely it comes from the French poque or German poche, but it is also possible that the name derives from the verb to poke, a term used by thieves. Indeed, this did fit the underground nature of the game. During the period of the “riverboat gamblers,” gambling regained popularity and benefited from the large number of men coming west due to the California gold rush (1848-1855). In this new area, professional gambling houses shot up like mushrooms. In the beginning, poker was not yet as popular as other gambling games because you could not bet your entire capital at once as in Roulette, for example. But after a while, more and more players fell for poker’s charm.

For almost 100 years the game was still subject to all kinds of change, the draw was added and community cards were invented so that the game could be played with more players. Many changes, by the way, were devised by professional cheaters who in this way had new ways to take money from the ignorant. By 1920, the game had become so ingrained in American culture that women began to play the game as well. From its birth, the game has always been a game for all walks of life and all types of populations. This of course suited the American mentality of a free country with opportunities. During World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War, Americans continued to spread the game around the world and today it is the most well-known and played card game in the world.

From the beginning of poker’s emergence, poker has been subject to development and fashion.

Different forms of poker followed one another as the most popular form of the time. In the 1970s, tournament poker became increasingly popular as a counterpart to the standard “cash game. The poker variant Texas Hold’em increasingly became the first choice for tournaments. The use of community cards in Hold’em meant a greater understanding of the situation at the table, allowing for expanded playing techniques and tactics. This is in contrast to poker games with a greater bluffing element. Texas Hold ’em has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, and is the best known and most widely played form of poker in 2010. It owes its popularity in part to TV shows that used a “hole cam” or “pocket cam,” such as on the “World Tour” and the “World Series of “. The fact that with these cameras the cards of all the players became visible to the audience, and with it the insight into the tactics and play of the poker players, meant a huge advance in viewer numbers. The result was an explosive growth in the number of poker players in America and shortly thereafter in the rest of the world as well. had gone from an anonymous gambling game to a TV sport in one fell swoop, rapidly erasing the old-fashioned “smoky room” image.

The World Series of (WSOP) is a renowned poker tournament that has been held annually in Las Vegas since 1970. From a few dozen participants in its early years, it has grown to become the largest and most prestigious poker tournament in the world. In 2006, the WSOP hosted 45 poker tournaments with different stakes and format, with many thousands of participants in total. The entry fee for the “main program (main event)” was $10,000 but nevertheless counted more than 8,000 entries. The top prize for the winner came to $12 million. A win in the WSOP has made many poker players world famous (see the list of WSOP Main Event winners). Chris Moneymaker’s win in 2003 with which he won $2.5 million (after a $39 Internet qualifying tournament) captures the imagination. Since then, the number of participants in the WSOP has greatly increased: from 839 in 2003 to 8773 in 2006, spawning a corresponding increase in prize money. On June 18, 2008, Rob Hollink won Holland’s first World Series of bracelet, winning the $10,000 limit championship tournament, and with it $496,931 in prize money.

As in many European countries, the Netherlands has seen a great interest in poker since the beginning of the 21st century, resulting in a strong growth in the number of organized poker tournaments and cash games (outside the Holland Casino). In schools and universities, poker is rapidly becoming a ‘stayer’.

Following the ‘poker craze’ in the Netherlands, a political discussion arose about whether poker is a game of chance or not a game of skill. This in connection with Holland Casino’s state monopoly on games of chance and the legality of tournaments organized by third parties and Internet poker. The Supreme Court has taken the position that poker is a game of chance. The Gaming Control Board has advised that poker should be treated as bingo,[6] but the Minister of Justice confirmed the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2007, also referring to most other European countries where poker is considered a game of chance. On July 2, 2010, the District Court in The Hague ruled in a case against a poker tournament organizer that poker is not a game of chance. The court pointed out that it has never been scientifically proven that poker is a game of chance. The fact that the game is considered a game of chance in other countries does not automatically mean that it is. The prosecution immediately appealed. On August 23, the Advisory Committee on Games of Chance issued its recommendation to legalize Internet poker. The advice to regulate is limited to online poker, the motivation being that, compared to other casino games, poker poses fewer addiction problems.

Note: poker is and always will be “gambling,” by definition. One bets on odds, one does not know what the outcome will be. However, poker, because one can calculate odds and adjust tactics to various situations, is one of the few gambling games that offers an opportunity for skill (that is, long-term profitability). It is possible in poker to make decisions (actions) that can be advantageous to one’s long-term profit expectation. This, according to many, places poker within the group of “games of skill” and outside the group of “games of chance.”

is still considered a gambling game pur sang in Belgium. Only since the end of 2007 have casinos also been allowed to organize poker games, and since April 20, 2010, 180 amusement centers have also been allowed to organize cash games on automated poker tables.[10] As a result, Belgium also does not yet have top players as is the case in neighboring countries. The first Belgian WSOP bracelet winner is Davidi Kitai who pocketed $244,546 in 2008 when he won the $2,000 Pot Limit Hold’Em tournament. Belgium has no prestigious tournaments. In Belgium, it is illegal to organize or even participate in gambling for money yourself. For “live poker,” however, it does specify that the law is only applicable to games where a bet is played for a stake, unless that stake falls within “socially acceptable standards.” There is €0.22 as input and €6.20 as revenue suggested by the gaming commission itself as an example.

Is widely played on the Internet besides live, usually on poker sites set up specifically for that purpose.

General gaming companies such as Unibet, Betfair, Ladbrokes and William Hill additionally offer poker. In addition to the lack of physical interaction between players, the number of hands played per hour on the Internet is also higher than in a live game. This is mainly because the computer systems do not have to take and shuffle cards after hands played, but can immediately deal again. Some of the largest poker websites include: 888 (formerly Pacific ) Absolute Everest Party PKR Stars Titan Unibet In a significant number of countries, offering online poker is prohibited by law, such as the Netherlands and the United States. Therefore, to avoid prosecution, large poker sites usually house their servers in exotic places, or locations such as Malta and Isle of Man. In Belgium, the situation is reversed. All online poker providers are required to run their servers on Belgian territory and have a casino license. Currently, three online poker providers have a test license. Golden Palace, the Belgian provider of the Ongame platform, has its casino license through its own group of gaming halls. Partouche is a group of casinos in Belgium and abroad. Stars, too, is now licensed, requiring Belgians to play poker on in order to play on the network.