Even the term Video Poker sounds pretty futuristic. So you may be rather surprised to learn that the history of this popular present-day pursuit actually goes all the way back to the late 1800s. It’s a pretty colourful history involving various role-players and some incredibly innovative thinking over the years.
So, while you take a break from the game, why not do a little bit of light reading about how your favourite electronic casino game came to be?
From Riverboats and Saloons to Slots
The earliest origins of video poker can be traced back to the riverboat casinos and saloons of the late 19th Century.
It was at about this time that the first slot machine was developed. Video poker can actually trace its roots directly back to these early slot machines, the first of which was brought out in 1891 by Sittman and Pitt. This coin-operated five-drum machine featured 10 different playing cards – see the video poker connection now?
The Card Bell Machine
In 1889, the evolution of video poker was taken another step forward, with the advent of the Card Bell by Charles Fey. This machine, which automatically paid out cash prizes to winners, was followed in 1901 by an updated version with a hold feature. This allowed players to improve their hands by holding one or more drums while spinning again – further advancing the skill element of video poker. For all intents and purposes, Fey had created a five-card draw machine.
The Poker-Matic and Sircoma
Things remained pretty stagnant in the video poker game for several decades until the 70s, when the first true poker machine was created. This machine, entitled the Poker-Matic, was developed by Dale Electronics.
Next, Bally machine distributor, Si Redd stepped into the fray, convincing bally to take the patent on a new machine and then merging with the Fortune Coin Company to form Sircoma, by which these new machines were produced.
Enter Interactive Gaming Technology
In 1981, Sircoma merged with leading casino game software developer Interactive Gaming Technology (IGT). IGT went on to become one of the leading developers in the casino industry.
Meanwhile, the popularity of video poker machines increased along with their increasing functionality.
Microgaming Takes Video Poker Online
Finally, over two decades ago in 1994, video poker was taken into the online space when another software giant, Microgaming, began developing a wide range of games specifically for Internet play. Microgaming remains the leader in online video poker to this day and, incidentally, is the developer behind all the games available here at Mummys Gold Online Casino.