According to the website pagat.com, the card game is believed to have been around since the 19th century. The site says, "Its cradle was the gambling saloon in general and, in particular, those famous or notorious floating saloons, the Mississippi steamers, which began to ply their trade from about 1811."
The origins of Poker, while interesting, are not as important as the life lessons it's been teaching people for centuries.
Here's what I've learned:
(1) The game of cards is similar to the game of life.
(2) Life is a gamble, but we still have to take chances.
(3) Nothing's a sure bet - ever.
(4) You don't always have to show your cards.
(5) Some people bluff.
(6) Nobody plays it straight, all the time.
(7) Some people always play the hand they're dealt.
(8) Just because you hold a heart in your hand, doesn't mean you'll know what to do with it early on.
(9) Just like the suicide king, you may get a knife in the head (or hurt, if you don't pay attention).
(10) Some people are really good at wearing a poker face, and can be very hard to read.
(11) Protect your hand. Some people cheat. Not everyone is an honest player. Some people will do anything to win.
(12) Most cheaters get caught.
(13) Not everyone is good at bluffing, so don't insult the intelligence of others when you're a bad bluffer.
(12) You 'will' lose many hands, but that doesn't mean you stop playing.
(13) If you play your cards right, the pay-off can be better than you EVER imagined!