Casino games are already some of the oldest in the modern age. They’re classics that must never change, and yet, the likes of blackjack and poker have nothing on backgammon.
Backgammon is one of the oldest games in history. When you think about it you probably imagine old people passing time in the park. But did you know that this board game, that involves dice and colour-coded moves, is the ancestor of modern poker? Find out how backgammon became poker here.
If you’re anything from a poker fan to a professional poker player, you need to know not only the history of the sport but also any new tips and tricks, upcoming events, and more. To get the information from around the world you need, check out the GGPoker Blog, for everything you need.
The history of backgammon
Backgammon is so old that archaeological discoveries of it have been found in Persia dating back nearly 5,000 years. Spin-offs of the game have been found in areas of central Europe, including Ireland, Scotland, France, and Spain.
As with most things fun, Britain’s history with the game can be described as the rich outlawing the games the peasants were playing, only to realize that they quite liked it too, and soon the likes of the English clergy were altering Elizabethan laws to bring back what the Irish and Scots had been playing for centuries.
The US’s contribution to the history of backgammon is also its most recent. The citizens of 1920’s New York upgraded the game by adding a doubling cube, which forced players to consider and make their best move, but also guess the probability of winning, making backgammon a game of expected value we know today.
How did backgammon become poker?
What you will know about backgammon is that it is a board game involving dice and checkers. The point of the game is to “bear off” or gradually remove all your fifteen pieces off the board, before your opponent.
I can already hear you ask what that has to do with poker? A game that has no board, no dice, no checkers and the objective is miles from the hand collecting we expect from poker.
Well, backgammon was famed for being a game that combined strategy and luck. Does that sound familiar? You can make strategic moves to give yourself the best chance of winning, but ultimately the dice, the cards, or in other words, luck, will determine whether you win or not.
Everything that makes poker so thrilling is in backgammon: the luck and strategy combination, the tense stakes, and the ability to build off of what you did before. It makes for a very enthralling and popular combination that makes poker one of the biggest games in the world.
Where is poker today?
Today, poker has expanded far beyond the game. The internet allowed poker to make one more massive adjustment and adapt to a new environment.
Gone are the days when poker was taught by “my father and his father before me”. Poker is far more accessible thanks to the internet, so its popularity has soared. A lot of newer poker players interviewed at tournaments talk of being “self-taught”. What they mean is that they have Googled the rules and practiced on online casinos, with other online visitors as opponents.
Sites like GGPoker offer not just the ability to play poker online, but to compete in and watch tournaments. The biggest poker tournament in the world, the World Series of Poker, is covered and streamed all year on the GGPoker website, to an audience of millions. Poker players stream their games on Twitch and create content on social media, becoming small celebrities in the poker world.
Poker has come a long way from the board game you spotted hidden in the back of your grandpa’s cupboard, and where it goes next will be something to keep an eye on.