The history of poker is a matter of debate, and closely resembles the Persian game of “as nas” and may have been taught to settlers in New Orleans by Persian sailors. The name of the game is thought to have descended from the Irish Poca – Pron. Pokah – Pocket or even the French poque , which in itself descended from the German pochen – to brag as a bluff – to knock. Yet it is not clear whether the origins of poker itself lie with the games bearing those names. It is commonly regarded as sharing ancestry with the Renaissance game of primero and the French brelan. It is quite possible that all of these earlier games influenced the development of poker as it exists today. With time the full 52-card English deck was used, and the flush was introduced. During the American Civil War, many additions were made, including draw poker, stud poker and the five-card variants, and the straight. Further American developments followed, such as the wild card which was around 1875. The spread of the game to other countries, particularly in Asia, is often attributed to the U.S. military. The game and jargon of poker have become important parts of American culture and English culture. Such phrases and clichés as ace in the hole, ace up one’s sleeve, beats me, blue chip, call one’s bluff, cash in, high roller, pass the buck, poker face, stack up, up the ante, when the chips are down, wild card, and others are used in everyday conversation, even by those unaware of their origins at the poker table. Modern tournament play became popular in American casinos after the World Series of Poker began, in 1970. In the 1990s, poker and casino gambling spread across the United States, most notably to Atlantic City and New Jersey. Poker’s popularity experienced an unprecedented spike at the beginning of the 21st century, largely because of the introduction of online poker and the invention of the hole-card camera, which turned the game into a spectator sport. Viewers could now follow the action and drama of the game, and broadcasts of poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour brought in huge audiences for cable and satellite TV distributors. Because of the increasing coverage of poker events, poker pros became more like celebrities, with poker fans all over the world entering into expensive tournaments for the chance to play with them. Free Online poker today is an extremely popular card game, but not everybody plays for real money. The free games are an excellent way for inexperienced players to get a feel for how the games are played and develop some card sense. It is important, however, to realize that the free games are different than real money games. In order to win in the free games, one must make modifications to the strategy they might use when playing for money. If you have a great hand, bet it to the max. You want to build the pots as large as you can. If your hand is a little weaker, you should consider just checking your hand and maybe calling the other player if he bets. Deceptive play is a big part of real poker, but in these free games everybody plays so loose that deception rarely accomplishes much. With so much loose play in free games, you can lose even the best hands to the most miraculous draws. Since you’re not playing with real money it’s easy to keep calling on a hand which you know you’ve lost. If you want to accumulate a lot of points and win, however, you should fold when you are beaten. The only thing you have to gain in free games is the satisfaction of a high chip count and you can’t achieve that if you keep throwing your chips away on losing bets.