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Video Poker History

Tracing the history of video poker will not be possible without delving into the history of slot machines. After all, these two games are somewhat similar to one another. It was in 1891 that the first slot machine came to be. It was developed by Sittman and Pitt who made use of 5 drums and 50 different symbols or designs.

In this game, the drums begin to spin once a coin is dropped or inserted in the machine. Once the momentum weakens and the drums eventually stop, a combination of symbols or designs will be revealed. Each drum holds one specific symbol. If the five drums form a winning combination, the player is given a prize. Cash winnings were not yet thought of back then. Instead, prizes come in the form of drinks or cigars. Such machines were usually found in entertainment venues like bars back in those days.

Several years after, in 1898, another type of slot machine was developed, albeit much improved. This invention can be attributed to Charles Fey who first called it the Liberty Bell. Thanks to Charles Fey, this slot machine could now give out cash prizes to the winners. In 1901, he made another invention which he called the Skill Draw Machine. This time, another new feature was installed. The machine is now capable of “holding.” The game unit is still made up of five drums. A player can spin all five and at the same time observe his results. He has the option to “hold” one or more drums if he is not satisfied with the result. To this day, this feature remains one of the most important part especially when playing poker online.

It will be many years later that because of these first forms of slot machines that a video poker will be developed. Poker is traditionally a game of cards. It makes use of a standard deck with 52 cards. For many centuries, this was played manually. By manual, it means there is a person who acts as a dealer and distributes cards to players. The players gather around the dealer in a semi-circle and place their bets on the table. This is what you will typically see in a poker table when entering a casino.

However, it can sometimes be noticed that amateur casino goers would often be satisfied in watching poker games instead of sitting at a table to play. Intimidation gets the better of them and they feel that they could not face it off with other players. They are satisfied just being a spectator in poker tables.

It can further be noticed where they go in a casino if they are not playing poker. These players opt to go to slot machines where they find it much easier to gamble with only the machine as a contender. They do not have to deal with their fears. And because of this, the video poker was born.

Playing slot machines is very easy. It only takes a pull of the lever bar or a push of the button to start it. After that, the reels will start to roll and the player just has to wait for it to stop and hope that he gets a winning combination. So why cannot it be the same with a poker game? Thus, in 1970, at the same time that the computer technology was slowly penetrating the market, the first video poker machine was also developed.

Video poker was very ingenious. At last, an expert or beginner does not have to contend with intimidating players. This gives them an alternative to still play poker and be eligible to win from their bets even if they are not sitting at an actual poker table. They are still inside a casino and they can still play poker.

Perhaps the main difference is that the dealer is actually a machine. There is no shoebox where the cards are held before dealing. The machine “contains” all the cards. If an actual game makes use of a standard deck of 52 cards, in video poker, it can be more than this. Thus, the odds computation may also vary. The house edge may also vary.

The introduction of video poker was very timely because it sort of coincided with the time that computers are fast replacing a lot of manual equipment for convenience. Video poker became very easy to market too because by this time, the technology of television screens can be combined conveniently with a central processing unit. Nine years after, in 1979, video poker secured its position more strongly in the market when the International Game Technology launched the Draw Poker game.

By the 1980s, almost every casino house has video poker machines already, next to the slots room. If the slots area is being filled with enthusiasts, so are the video poker rooms. The game continued to increase in popularity especially since time and again, there were constant improvements and developments being done. The machines just got better and better. Casinos do not mind upgrading their machines frequently because of this. They profit a lot from these machines because majority of casino goers are amateurs and shy away from card table games.

As the 90s approached, the internet was introduced. This technology changed many people’s lifestyle dramatically. Many traditional activities were given up in exchange for their online counterparts. Instead of shopping in actual malls, people shopped online instead. Online studies were also introduced, as well as online payment of bills and insurances. Many other online activities were introduced, and that includes playing games online.

Thus, online casinos started to mushroom in the virtual world. Many people stayed in their homes to gamble instead of going to a physical casino site. As years went by, internet connection became much speedier and reliable so that games can be played with hardly a glitch. Many types of online video poker software started coming up in the market. It was easy to install and people could play it immediately after installing. Also, different varieties of video poker were developed that brought more fun and excitement to the game.

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