The History of Strip Poker: The Bare Facts of the Game

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Strip Poker needs no introduction to players. Of all the games ‘outside’ the casino, this one is probably the most exciting and entertaining attraction. Strip Poker is risqué, edgy and deliciously appealing. Poker enthusiasts with a penchant for wild entertainment are always up for some fun and games. When it comes to Strip Poker, things really get cranked up a notch. Instead of using traditional currency to play poker, this variant of the game is all about playing with items of clothing.

When you lose a hand, an item of clothing is removed. This entertaining poker variant is best played with a big chip stack, a.k.a. a lot of clothes on. If it’s winter, you’ve got the perfect excuse to pile on the clothing. If it’s summer time, simply crank up the AC and apply multiple layers of clothing. Without a significant bankroll, you’re the short stack player and that’s a no-no. In Strip Poker games, you’ll want to go in all guns blazing. That means you’re going to want to pile on the clothing (if you’re allowed to) and prepare yourself for the fun to follow. What’s the worst that can happen? You’re about to find out!

The Origins of Strip Poker

Whenever a wild variant of a game is introduced in informal settings, it’s hard to pinpoint precisely when it began or who conjured up the idea to begin with. That being said, poker historians tend to agree that this racy variant was probably developed in the United States in the 19th Century. History supports the notion that Strip Poker was introduced in and around New Orleans, probably at strip clubs and other places of ill repute. It seems fair to assume that Strip Poker gained notoriety in these ‘uncouth’ establishments and rapidly spread far and wide.

Upon further inspection, it’s clear that Strip Poker was already on the cultural scene in the US during the silent era of cinema. Consider the film, The Road to Ruin with Helen Foster as a case in point. This controversial slice of entertainment nirvana was deemed a little too exploitative in the US and was banned in several cities. Yet, despite its rogue status among film goers, it managed to rack up an impressive payday at the box office, with $2.5 million in takings.

The film tackled all the hard issues, including prostitution, drugs, abortion and alcoholism. It seems only natural that a game of Strip Poker was thrown in to spice things up even more. In a remake of the movie, Helen Foster’s character was less provocative and risqué. Nonetheless, the film covered many hard topics and was just as controversial. Here’s the big difference though – the Strip Poker game was replaced by a game of dice.

Throughout the 1930s and 1940s several other notable films were released. These included The Dark Horse with the inimitable Bette Davis. A gubernatorial scene in the film called for a meeting of candidates with a game of Strip Poker in a secluded mountain cabin. Once the pack of cards comes out, the clothes start peeling off and viewers are once again treated to an entertaining game of Strip Poker.

This Hollywood flick was followed by another low-budget stunner in the form of Mad Youth in 1940. There are scenes of gals playing Strip Poker while their folks are playing Bridge. The film references the irony of the mother calling her daughter ‘dutiful’ and ‘modest’ – terms that certainly don’t describe the scantily-clad gal playing Strip Poker. Over the years, many exciting films have shed light on Strip Poker, notably A Sneak Peek at Strip Poker (1966) and scores of others. The cultural zeitgeist of our time has showcased many instances of Strip Poker.

The Rules of Strip Poker

Clothes are the chips in Strip Poker. That’s the currency you use to stay in a hand. If a player loses a hand, then an item of clothing comes off. The more clothes you’ve got on, the longer the games can last. Unlike traditional poker games, Strip Poker does not have to follow the rules of regular poker. You can wing it as you see fit.

The best poker variant to play is 5-card draw. All players are dealt five cards and these can be exchanged for one or more cards from the shuffled deck. This game plays out much like Texas Hold’em and you can see, raise or bet.

It’s really important to ascertain value in Strip Poker games. In other words, how much is each item of clothing worth to you? High-end items like underwear should have high value while shoes, socks, ties, glasses, handkerchiefs, scarves and sweaters should have lesser value.

For the purpose of fairness, it’s probably best to have everyone start with an even number of clothing items. The game will end when someone is bare bodied or close to it. Rules can be changed to facilitate the total humiliation of the loser with no clothing permitted, or partial humiliation with limited items of clothing remaining. It’s your call, make sure you understand the bare facts of the game!

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