History of Texas Holdem Poker

The casino card game, poker, has its roots in Europe and has literally been played all over the world for centuries. It has dozens of variants, or off-shoots, and Texas Holdem is one of the most recent additions to the poker family.

The Birth of Texas Holdem

The powers-to-be in the southern US State of Texas have claimed the game as their own, and the Texas State Legislature went as far as to officially recognise the birthplace of Texas Holdem as the relatively inconsequential town of Robstown in the southern Lone Star State. It was allegedly first played on the tables of this small community in the early 1900’s and about sixty years later made its way to the gambling halls of Las Vegas and interminable growth and recognition.

The few men who had the tremendous foresight to introduce the game to the denizens of the Nevada gambling paradise are pro poker players themselves – Crandell Addington, Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim. All have poker in their blood, and had spent their formative years touring the poker dens and early casinos for action.

"They didn’t call it Texas Hold ’em at the time, they just called it hold ’em… I thought then that if it were to catch on, it would become the game. Draw poker, you only bet twice; hold ’em, you bet four times. That meant you could play strategically. This was more of a thinking man’s game," said Addington after the game was introduced to Las Vegas in 1967.

From Sawdust Joints to the Big Time

The fledgling poker variant had its initial home in the downtrodden and not so stylish Golden Nugget Casino, which was not on the celebrated ‘Strip’, and which was, literally a sawdust joint, with oiled sawdust covering the floors.

In an effort to grow the innovative game, it was decided to move Texas Holdem and its growing flock of proponents to the Dunes Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The Dunes was know for its ground-breaking edge and had already caused quite a stir in the city of fun by introducing the first topless revue, the celebrated Minsky’s Follies, and by bringing in the legendary member of the rat pack, Frank Sinatra, to entertain the growing numbers of punters who were flocking to Las Vegas.

In 1968, Texan, Tom Moore, set up what would become the very first WSOP tournament in Reno. It was an invitational event but did not garner the support hoped for. A year later Moore included Texas Holdem as part of the events scheduled for the Second Annual Gambling Fraternity Convention, and it proved to be a very wise choice.

Las Vegas casino owner and poker player, Benny Binion, and his son, Jack saw the enormous potential of the annual gambling fraternity and quickly bought up the rights for the event. In 1970 the first WSOP was held at Binion’s own casino, Binion’s Horseshoe, and Texas Holdem was included for the first time.