Some historians say poker’s origins can be traced to a domino-card game played by a 10th-century Chinese emperor, others claim it is a descendant of the Persian card game “As Nas,” from the 16th century. Poker’s closest European predecessor was France Poque from the 17th century. French colonists brought Poque to their settlements in New Orleans. A modern school of thought rejects these ancestries, and historians are clearer about how poker was developed sometime during the early 19th century as a betting game, and spread throughout the Mississippi River region. Soldiers in both the North and South played poker during the Civil War, and it became a staple of Wild West saloons in frontier settlements in the 1870s and 1880s.
Modern tournament play became popular in American casinos after the World Series of Poker began, in 1970. Two significant events in the late 1980s led to the first poker "boom". In 1987, California legalized the flop games of hold'em and Omaha, and in 1988 Congress legalized casino games on Indian lands. Poker's popularity experienced an unprecedented spike at the beginning of the 21st century, largely because of the introduction of online poker and hole-card cameras. Broadcasts of poker tournaments brought in huge audiences for cable and satellite TV distributors. Following the surge in popularity, new poker tours soon emerged, and in 2009 the International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) was founded in Lausanne, Switzerland.