Poker in the 1950s

At a time when Bill Haley & His Comets were topping the charts, and a young Elvis was just emerging on the music scene, popular pastimes included dances and cinema, but what about gambling? Poker is popular with people from all walks of life. There are many celebrities that play poker on a professional standard (Ben Affleck is perhaps the most well known today) but back then it was not as popular as it is today.

Casinos were rare in the UK with their emergence not really starting until the 1960s, in fact, there was a limited prohibition on gambling in the UK, but with the popularity of Las Vegas, home of a thousand casinos, increasing exponentially, they were not going to stay on the back burner for long.

Although not properly legislated until the 1960s, casino games such as poker, or any game where a wager is placed, was considered fun. Poker was often played behind closed doors, back rooms of the pubs or in the privacy of one’s home. Poker is a game that requires some skill, but as all casino games, it is also largely down to chance. One turn of the card can make or break a decent hand, you could lose the shirt off your back or go home the victor.

Played to a backdrop of Rock around the Clock or Jailhouse Rock, poker was a great way to pass time for those who didn’t want to go dancing or who wanted to try their luck at winning some extra money. It was mainly for the men, however, as in the 1950s, women didn’t really partake in such activities. They preferred to stay home cooking and looking after their family, a concept that might seem a little outdated in today’s world, but back in the 1950s, it was the norm.