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Our Hypomanic Helix: The Poker Strand of American DNA

by James McManus |  Published: Feb 13, 2008


Why would an 18th-century parlor game played by a few French and Persian aristocrats take hold and flourish in kingless, democratic America? Why did poque (or poqas, or As Nas) evolve into our national card game, some say our national pastime, instead of piquet or cribbage or whist? How much has poker's popularity had to do with bluffing and risk-management, and with the fact that money is its language, its leverage, its means of keeping score? And why have Vietnamese Americans become so damn good at it?

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