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It all started with the basics: Go Fish, Old Maid, Crazy Eights, and the occasional Spoons game. After years of young wide-eyed mesmerisation watching cards being shuffled with a crisp snap of the deck, a taste of adulthood was attained when the first game of Blackjack was played. Pull out a deck of cards anywhere and anyone will recognize the 52 cards that have brought on generations of entertainment since before 1000 AD. This stack of smartly suited faces and decorated numbers is great for gathering friends for some friendly competition, but have you ever participated in an 8773-person game of poker like Jamie Gold? Yes. That’s a lot of people. Yet he beat the odds and walked away with a 12-million-dollar pot.

The thrill of anticipation drives the world’s greatest players to place seemingly wild stakes for a race to the top and discover what treasure lies ahead for the champion. In a game of both skill and luck, it’s incredibly curious how these little cards could harness so much power to change someone’s life.

Ultimately, these gambling games stimulate our excitement seeking tendencies with the illusion of control regarding how we can position ourselves in an unknown situation. Imagine going home with half a million dollars from a 40-person BlackJack game - the odds seem pretty good, right? Not only was that ball in her court for Alice Walker, she also swept up the grand prize of a million dollars as the reigning champion of GSN’s three card poker tournament that past year as well.

The growth of tournaments introduced extra elements that added depth to gambling, increasing the intrigue and curiosity that invited more people to be involved. Poker, also known as today’s most popular Casino table game, actually lacked such popularity until world poker tournaments were born in Vegas in the 1970s.

From there, the internet and world of media connected players in ways never experienced before, introducing online poker as well as televised tournaments that allowed the public to see the players’ hands. This broke down a wall between professionals and the average Joe to open up doors and shed more light on this game of mathematical risk-taking, ultimately have you feeling like a poker champion yourself as well.

Next time you pick up a deck of cards to place a few friendly bets on your full house, take the time to appreciate the beauty and mystery behind the randomness of the game. Indulge in the  thrill of pitting your human intellect against the unpredictable forces of chance all around us. It’s just like how the pros say, “it’s a tough way to make an easy living”.
 



The biggest card tournaments in history [Infographic]

 
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