Texas Hold’em History

Texas Hold ’em dates back to the early 1900s, and was first played in Robstown, Texas. Originally, it was known just as "hold ’em".

Las Vegas Poker

In 1967, the game was introduced to Las Vegas by a group of Texan players, including Crandell Addington, Doyle Brunson, and Amarillo Slim. Addington noted that because of the increased amount of betting and the use of community cards, Texas Hold ’em was "more of a thinking man’s game."

Up to 1969, the only casino that offered Texas Hold ’em was the Golden Nugget Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Featuring floors covered in oiled sawdust, this casino wasn’t one of those attracting the wealthier, more prominent players.

In 1969, Las Vegas professionals were invited for the first time to play Texas Hold ’em at the Dunes Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Also in 1969, Tom Moore added a poker tournament to the Second Annual Gambling Fraternity Convention. The tournament included games of Texas Hold ’em. In 1970, the convention was renamed the World Series of Poker and moved to Benny and Jack Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas.

World Series of Poker

Starting in 1972, no-limit Texas Hold ’em became the main event game played in the World Series of Poker. Then, the event attracted only 8 entrants. But by 1982, there were 100 entrants, and 1991 saw 200 entrants. By 2006, there were a phenomenal 8,773 entrants, competing for a prize of $12 million.

The Rise of Texas Hold’em Poker

In the 1980s, a statute in California made both Texas Hold ’em and the then popular game of stud-horse poker illegal. In 1988, though, Texas Hold ’em was declared distinct from stud-horse, and casinos across California again began offering Texas Hold ’em in their game rooms.

Poker Books and Online Poker

Television, movies, books and the Internet all contributed to the surge in popularity of Texas Hold ’em in the early 2000s. See Texas Hold ’em TV and books for examples.

Perhaps the biggest contribution was made by the 2003 World Series of Poker championship, which was televised by ESPN. The main event was won by the now legendary Chris Moneymaker – an amateur player who qualified for the main event through a series of online poker tournaments. Moneymaker made it clear to viewers that even a novice can become a world champion.