History of Playing Poker in Times of War

Poker is believed to have originated in China in the 10th century. Persians and the Spanish began playing it in the 16th century. The game found its way into America in 1803 after the Louisiana Purchase. Since then, poker has been a favorite game of the military. They have played it in times of war to escape from the death stakes of the battle. It was common to see soldiers play poker during the civil war, WWI, and WW2.

Soldiers and gambling during the civil war

Tensions caused by the slave trade climaxed into the Civil War that started in 1861. As the Southern and the Northern states were battling, the soldiers played poker to escape the reality of the death that faced them. Today, poker variants have changed a lot. Apart from playing the traditional game, soldiers can also play poker in an online casino for real money.

During the war, the young men spend a lot of time foraging for food, digging drills, and cleaning weapons. At one time or another, the war would erupt, and they would rush to the battlefront with drawn swords and loaded guns. After the smoke dwindled, they would return to their camp and keep themselves busy playing poker.

Playing poker in the trenches during WW1

WW1 was one of the most deadly wars in history, but soldiers still found time to play their favorite game of cards. The British, Germans and many other soldiers went to fight on American soil. American soldiers dug trenches to shield themselves from gun battles. Although they were aware of their enemies hiding in other trenches, they still played poker to pass the time and escape from their fears. The soldiers might not have had the luxury of playing cards on poker tables, but the cards were popular as a way to kill time.

Playing poker during the Spanish-American war

The Spanish-American war was fought from 1898 to 1918. The war started after the Americans decided to support the Cubans and Filipinos against Spanish oppression. During the time of tension, a US battleship docked in Havana Harbor exploded. The Americans blamed the Spanish, and war ensued. America won the war, which ended Spanish colonial rule. The US also acquired land in Latin America and Western Pacific. The war was fierce, but due to the fun of gambling, soldiers could not resist playing poker amid the war.

Poker during the American – Mexican war

The American – Mexican war was fought from 1846 to 1848. The Americans were seeking to expand their territory after Texas gained independence from Mexico. Over 1,700 American soldiers marched to Mexico but also carried their poker cards. This was the time when poker grew most across many territories in the US and beyond.


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