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The History of Strip Poker: Undressing the Game

It’s not often an assignment lands on my desk and immediately brightens my day. There’s a definite ‘forbidden thrill’ in sitting up to the fullest in my chair to obscure my saucy monitors from prying eyes during research. Finally, I’m getting paid to use incognito mode.

A far cry from awarding endless ticket bushels while hepped up on caffeine, this job is something new entirely. What picture I must paint of myself by proximity to this perverted project of pornographic poker, in which the earliest mentions of strip cards will be dragged screaming from the unstirred dust of history. You don’t get these lessons in school.

Let it go to the record that no games of strip poker were conducted during preparation. No dignity was harmed in the making of this project.

Murky origins

Every generation thinks they invented randiness. Sure as seasons changing, there has existed always, throughout the vast breadth of history, games of skill and chance on which were wagered articles of clothing, played with the express purpose of a sordid eyeful.

Any poker variant can be adapted – or perverted – to strip. More often, simpler games with fewer betting rounds are chosen, like five card draw, or in this case, five card draw a cloth across your exposed bits. Read on to find out how strip poker was played throughout it’s life time.

Really, the only difference between poker and strip is the use of garments instead of chips. Nobody can pinpoint the exact creation date; it’s as difficult bottling lightning than sourcing the first corrupted mind to coin the concept. The term strip poker was coined in 1916, although reports exist of it being played in Louisiana brothels since the early 19th century, where it first rose to prominence. Initially, it was thought to have been created to allow young men with empty pockets continue playing high-stakes tournaments. A single gender game removes the presumed sexual element, at least in times where homosexuality was punishable via a litany of cruel, unusual penances. More likely, greedy men feltside got a whiff of innocence off the green boys with jangling purses and retconned rules to suit their stacks. There are no formal rules to the game, instead party hosts or individual players will devise their own set of deviant directions they wish the game to take.

Mixed Games

Powered fops across the swell played mixed games involving men and women, causing parlor windows to steam the length of England. This iteration, upon reaching America, was confined to unlicensed casinos and brothels, or on the trundling steamers and military encampments spreading cardgames like a cloak from coast to coast.

Another equally likely origin claims the game was invented by horny teenage boys trying to pry their innocent female roommates from their strides – definitely believable.

Regardless of where the game originated, it experienced massive popularity spikes  in 40s, 50s and 60s. Fearing that an imminent missile salvo would churn to world to a toxic desert, people embraced the wild freedom a game such-like offered, which their not-too-distant ancestors could never have admitted to indulging. From students drunk on independence and older married couples spicing up Suburbia, strip poker was the new pet rock, albeit bawdier.

Nowadays, swingers parties reportedly use strip poker as an icebreaker, although I can’t imagine shyness as an issue in those circles! In our modern age of rocket cars and robot shoes, strip poker is regularly played online via webcams, normalized by shifting sensibilities and unexiled from the mound of taboo practices.

The world’s largest strip poker tournament was held in Cafe Royal in London in August 2006. The prize fund was £10,000 and 196 participants took part.

How To Play Strip Poker Variants

Fast Strip Poker involves everybody but the hand winner removing an article of clothing. Medium strip poker involves only the person with the worst hand removing an article of clothing. Slow Strip Poker involves playing regular poker until someone runs out of chips. At this point, all players left without chips must begin betting clothing instead.

That’s about the height of strip poker for now. In our age of webcams and handheld voyeur cameras, strip poker seems less-sordid and more-accessible than ever, with numerous sites hosting different variants; some in which players are randomly matched to other webcams every five minutes, or organised games are played over secret Skype chats. Wherever your cards fan to the tune of dropping pants, from the steamboat to the aristocrat’s parlour, know you’re playing part of history.