When it comes to Colorado gaming, people love to play Texas Hold’em near Denver and throughout the surrounding area. But, it wasn’t always that way. This popular poker option didn’t start off as the crowd-pleaser we know and love today. Many people don’t realize this card game has a long, winding history that delivered it out of complete obscurity into modern casinos (and even living rooms) everywhere.
The Origins of Texas Hold’em
The exact origins of Hold’em remain a bit murky. However, most agree the game was birthed in its namesake state (Texas) in the town of Robstown sometime during the early 1900’s. There, in the great Lone Star state, it remained virtually unnoticed for decades until this poker genre was finally launched in 1967 in Las Vegas.
Crandell Addington, a key contributor to Vegas poker culture, touted Hold’em as a “thinking man’s game.” Unlike other poker versions that rely heavily on luck, Addington noted this style of play allows strategic thinking and execution, igniting initial interest amongst players. While strategic play definitely garnered some preliminary attention, location may have played a major role in Hold’em remaining virtually unknown upon its debut. Gamers hoping to play a few hands of this game could only do so at the infamous Golden Nugget. Known for sawdust floors and dodgy clientele, the Nugget rarely welcomed high rollers, thus limiting people’s overall exposure to the game.
The Rise of the Game We Know Today
In 1969, The Dune casino announced a Texas Hold’em tournament. This proved the ultimate game changer (pun intended). The Dune occupied prime real estate right on the legendary Vegas strip, enticing high stake gamers everywhere to participate and experience the game for themselves. This one event is often hailed as the start of Hold’em’s illustrious rise in popularity.
The following year, Hold’em further cemented its foothold in elite poker circles. In 1970, father and son team, Benny and Jack Binion rebranded the former Gambling Fraternity Convention to the World Series of Poker. In 1971, the duo showcased Texas Hold’em as the main event of the tournament. Yes, first-year numbers were relatively small. However, each year helped the game make significant gains in momentum, popularity and status, resulting in thousands of competitors in the annual World Series of Poker event today.
The literary world also helped Hold’em build traction amongst rookie and veteran gamers alike. In 1978, Doyle Brunson released his book, “Super System,” which revamped poker’s image. Also, Al Alvarez’s “The Biggest Game in Town,” chronicled the World Series of Poker’s 1981 tournament, giving readers invaluable insight on everything this game has to offer.
All these events proved a perfect popularity storm, catapulting the game from ambiguity to notoriety amongst players of all ages and skill levels. Found in the world’s largest casinos, gatherings amongst friends and even online, Texas Hold’em has certainly staked its claim on modern mainstream gaming culture everywhere.