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Texas Holdem has become so popular in just fifty years. It’s hard to imagine that the game reached Las Vegas only in the late 1960’s!  Texas Holdem started in the oil fields of west Texas and came to Las Vegas through three legendary poker players.  Let’s make that trip with them in 2021!

Why is Texas Holdem So Popular?

There is a lot of speculation about the intense popularity of this variation of poker.   Even players at Juicy Stakes Poker Australia play more Texas Holdem than any other poker variation!

Australia is thousands of mils from Texas! Now, keep in mind that in at-home poker games among friends the dealer calls the game and they play a lot of variations of poker.  In poker rooms, however, Texas Holdem is by far the most popular with Omaha a distant second.

The poker variations that dominated the 19th century, five card draw and five or seven card stud are now no longer the default poker variations at most tables in poker rooms and at most poker tournaments.

Is Texas Holdem Really Native to Texas?

Not exactly!

Poker came to North America through New Orleans when New Orleans was still a French port city.  Poker was a French game at the time.  New Orleans sits at the mouth of the great Mississippi River which is navigable for thousands of miles.  Thus, the river became the most important inland trade route with trade going north from New Orleans.

The rough and tumble river boat seamen played the new French card game which was Anglicized into poker.

What Happened to Poker on its Journey North?

The big cities of the eastern portion of the United States (even before the United States was founded) were a long distance from the Mississippi River!  So there was little appeal on the east coast of North America for this newfangled card game.

Furthermore, in the 1860’s the eastern areas were beset by the American Civil War which made travel; from the Mississippi Valley eastward dangerous.  So, poker moved westward into the vast North American continent.

Who Played Poker in those Days?

Poker was the game that rough men played.  The American Wild West was the area where the roughest men lived so poker became a natural game for them.  Some of the roughest men worked in oil drilling lands and west Texas was a haven for oil wildcatting.

West Texas became a major home for poker.

Why Did Texas Holdem Take Over from Draw and Stud Poker?

At this point, no one knows for sure.  One speculation is that in draw poker, the possibility of a player cheating is greater since all cards are held “close to the vest”.

Stud poker uses visible cards so there is no clear transformation from stud to Holdem.

One great difference between Texas Holdem and stud is that some people feel that Holdem is easier to learn!  That may have been the thinking way back when a hundred years ago but it is no longer the case!  Texas Holdem is plenty hard to become expert at!

Let’s Take a Trip from West Texas to Las Vegas

The advent of online poker has changed the dynamic of poker to a large extent.  Juicy Stakes Poker features games and tournaments in Holdem and in several other poker variations.

So, the trip from West Texas to Las Vegas serves two purposes.  The first is to show that with great online poker at Juicy Stakes, poker players no longer need to go to land based poker rooms to get great poker action.  So, players can have real vacations!  This road trip is a real vacation!

The second reason to travel from West Texas to Las Vegas is because it is a pilgrimage of sorts for poker players! 

Start in Midland, Texas

Midland is at the heart of the west Texas oil country.  The distance from Midland, Texas to Las Vegas is about 1000 miles by the shortest and fastest route which, since it is all super highway, will not be the route we will take to Las Vegas!

In the great work “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” the people are on a road trip by motorcycle (of course) and Robert Pirsig, the author, speaks about taking the squiggly roads instead of the straight roads.  The squiggly roads, as they appear on a map, are hillier than the straight roads, which makes for better scenery and more interesting travelling.

Museums in Midland

Midland itself has the George W. Bush Childhood Home and Museum, the Museum of the Southwest, and the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum.  Each is an excellent place to learn about the area.

We will leave Midland and make our way north on highway 349 to highway 87 towards Lubbock.  We are in west Texas here with vast expanses of empty land.  In order to understand just HOW vast these expanses are, listen to this:  The famous economist and intellectual, Thomas Sowell, once did a study of the land available to house the world’s population.  He found that Texas and a little bit of Oklahoma are enough to house the entire world’s population - with each family of four living in a one-story, single-family home with a yard! It's just a numbers game, but wow - now THAT is vast!

Back to our travels...eventually, you will reach Lubbock a city of some 250,000 residents.  Lubbock boasts the Buddy Holly Center and the American windmill Museum among its many attractions.

Heading Northwest

If you continue north, you will reach Amarillo which some believe is the home of Amarillo Slim.  Actually, he spent summers there but didn’t actually grow up there so going northwest from Amarillo is a shorter and more interesting route.

We suggest stopping often.  If you are travelling with kids find amusement parks or playgrounds for them.  Motels in thus area have pools so you can make a long trip seem shorter by stopping with time for some pool fun.

There is a museum in Littlefield called the Duggan House which kids might be interested in as it is a one room house that an entire family lived in 150 years ago.

As you continue northwest we suggest you go towards the Santa Fe National Forest where you will find great hiking and scenery.  Change drivers as often as possible since the driving in the mountainous areas is a lot slower than down in the plains and everyone should have the chance to see the grand scenery.

This is just a small sample of the wonders that await you in the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Parks.  Each of these National Parks is well worth half a day!  If you are travelling in the hot months, be sure that you have a lot more water than you think you will need if you go down into the Grand Canyon.  It is a lot hotter at the Colorado River than at the overlooks!

Bryce Canyon is not among the most famous of the National Parks but it is unbelievably exciting.  Go down into the hoodies and walk around.  Take in all of the desert colors!  It is almost like being in the eastern mountains during leaf season!

If you can stay overnight in St. George, Utah there is a great outdoor theater called Tuahcahn Center for the Arts where they put on great shows in their outdoor theater.

From St. George to Las Vegas is a short drive.  You have finished your real vacation and pilgrimage to the modern birthplace of Texas Holdem.

Join Juicy Stakes Poker

The whole point of the pilgrimage was to point out that you no longer need a land based casino to play poker!  Juicy Stakes has poker games in several poker variations, not just in Texas Holdem.  We offer poker in a wide range of stakes so low stakes and high stakes players can find games suitable for them. 

At Juicy Stakes, you are likely to play with players from several countries!  The chat that goes on can be as interesting as the game itself! 

Join Juicy Stakes Poker TODAY and enjoy great poker and great vacations, too!


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