Video poker is one of the world’s most popular games, both in land-based casino establishments, online casinos, and mobile casinos. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of video poker games available, with a range of different themes, reel compositions, player formulations, and action scenarios. It is hard to imagine, then, that there was a time when video poker was a new game just invented, and one that executives did not believe in and did not want to make.
History of Poker Machines
The history of video poker is closely related to the history of slot machines in general.
The first so-called poker machine was invented in 1891 by the Sittman and Pitt Company of New York, and the first slot machine was invented by Charles Fey in 1898. Both were machines based on poker that could make a final poker hand and, with the latter, pay out a cash prize.
In 1901, Fey created a new poker machine that incorporated the hold feature of the poker game. This was the first five-card draw poker machine.
Sittman and Pitt continued developing these during the early 1900s, and they became enormously popular, primarily because players felt that they were really playing the game and could make an impact on the result.
These machines did not hold a full deck of 52 cards, eliminating the ten of spades and the jack of hearts, literally cutting in half the chances of landing a royal flush. Nonetheless, these machines remained popular and were the ones that led to the development of the current video poker machines.
The Video Poker Genius
In the mid-1970s, a gentleman by the name of Si Redd, who worked as a distributor for Bally’s Gaming, pitched an idea for a new game, one to be called Video Poker. The company, however, rejected the idea as they did not want to branch out from the slot machines they were dealing with to give a new and untested game a try.
Si, however, did not give up on his idea, kept the patent, and shortly after made a deal with Fortune Coin Company to develop the first Si Redd’s Coin Machines, the first video poker machines. Interest in the game grew slowly at first, but by the early 1980s this was the most popular game on the market, and it still is hugely popular to this day.