Video poker is an ingenious combination of two wildly popular casino games – poker and slot machines.
Video poker is a marriage of the thrills of poker with the excitement of slot machines and has developed into one of the most well-loved floor games in both land casinos and in the online form.
When examining the history of the development of this superb game, one needs to look at the roots of video poker’s founding fathers – poker and slot machines. Both of these games have their own distinct history and were fused together in the late 1970s to create video poker.
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During the first half of the 20th century, mechanical poker machines went in and out of fashion. 1964 saw the introduction of electronic games when Nevada Electronics produced the “21” machine. Other companies started following suit and began producing roulette, horseracing and poker machines. One of the absolute hits during that time was Poker-Matic, developed by Dale Electronics.
With the development of personal computers in the mid-1970s, video poker became a reality. Advances in technology and the reduction in prices of the production of these items facilitated the combination of a CPU and a TV-type monitor. The graphics were extremely primitive but they did not deter exited players who were exposed to these games.
The Fortune Coin Company introduced a video bell slot machine in 1975, which developed into a draw poker machine. This machine was an instant hit and is considered to be THE machine that introduced video poker to the masses. SIRCOMA, a leader in the field, and still very active today as International Game Technology, introduced Draw Poker in 1979 and the rest is history.
Video poker machines are a permanent feature in every land casino today. They are a very popular game because they combine 2 top casino games in one simple machine. Many people love video poker machines because of their simplicity, while others love the fact that they can sit alone and be undisturbed by the rest of the casino mayhem.
While it is told that poker originated from several medieval card games such as Poche, Asnas and Brag, the modern-day version of poker really developed in the United States in the mid –1800s. Jonathan Green was the first person to document the existence of poker on the riverboats on the Mississippi River and was described as using only 20 cards – Aces, face cards and tens.
As the west was settled, the game of poker became an extremely popular pastime in the saloons. New styles and rules developed for poker and the game was reinvented as its fame increased. Exciting features were added to the game such as jokers, jackpots, wild cards and flushes.
The first types of slot machines were based on poker card face combinations. These coin operated gambling machines were developed in the late 1800s by a company called Sittman and Pitt of Brooklyn. These machines were unique in the fact that they did not offer the winner in cash payout, but rather offered prizes such as cigars, liquor and tobacco. They were placed in bars, saloons, and liquor stores and were an instant hit.
The machines worked on a mechanism whereby the player put a coin into a slot and pulled a handle. Five drums, displaying pictures of poker cards, would spin around and would eventually stop. Depending on the combination of the cards on the displayed drums, the player could win their prizes. At some stage, the machine’s proprietors removed the Ten of Spades and Jack of Hearts from the drums in order to reduce the players’ chances of winning.
In the late 1800s, Charles Fey was also very busy developing what would become the extremely famous slot machine. Liberty Bell was developed in 1887 and took the market by storm. At first it also used the card symbols but had others such as bells, stars and horseshoes. Within a couple of years, Fey was working non-stop to fill orders for these machines and ultimately hooked up with the Mills Novelty Company.
Fey’s primary contribution to the development of video poker was the creation of the first ‘draw’ feature. This addition allowed the player to implement their poker skills in the game, instead of relying purely on luck. The player was able to keep some drums still after the first spin, while pulling the handle to spin the other drums. This action could be known as the first “hold and draw” combination.
The final chapter in the history of every casino game is the online version. The online casino industry has facilitated people from around the globe to play almost every game that is available in a land casino. Due to the fact the video poker was already computerized and involved minimal human contact, it was one of the simplest games to reproduce in the online format.
Video poker is a quicker version of the regular poker game, but still requires basic understanding of poker rules and strategy. For beginner players, video poker is much less intimidating than poker tournaments but still call for a certain level of decision making. Video poker requires more strategy than basic slot machines which are all pure luck, but still require less thought and strategy that regular poker.
Online video poker has introduced players to alternative forms of the game – Deuces Wild, All American, Jacks or Better etc. Online video poker combines action, skill and luck and it is rumored that if the optimal strategy is used, then players may even develop an edge over the house. This rare feature is not found in any other online casino game and is part of the reason for video pokers immense popularity in the remote gambling format.
Fun, skill, action and a potential edge on the casino - what more could players want in a game?
Posted by CCJ Team
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