Video Poker, like most table games, has not changed much in the transition to online casinos. They are based on a formula and format that just work perfectly.
The fact that they remain as popular as ever leads to developers feeling loathe to tamper with this winning format. That said not only has Video Poker come a long way since its inception, it has also seen new and additional features added without changing what makes the game so fun and rewarding.
Early Slot Machines
You cannot look at the evolution of video poker games without looking at the start of slot games. This is because both slot games and Video Poker can trace their origins back to the Sittman and Pitt Gambling Machine. This mechanical device was created in 1981. It is debatably more a Poker machine than what we would consider a slot machine. The game consisted of 5 drum covered in 50 playing cards, 10 on each drum. A Player will spin the drums and hope to make a good 5 card hand.
It wasn’t until the Liberty Bell in 1895 that slots as we know them came into being. Video Poker evolved from the Gambling Machine into the Card Bell, an updated version of the Gambling Machine from 1898, developed by Charles Fey.
This machine was the first to offer an automatic payout for a win and offered a then very impressive sum of 20 coins for a royal flush. Two years later Fey would define the Video Poker machine by adding a Hold button that allows players to keep certain cards and “re-draw” additional cards. And so the 5 card draw poker machine was born.
Sittman and Pitt were not about to be left in the dust, and soon their Gambling Machines also started including the Hold and Draw options in their games. The machines were so popular that they literally could not be built fast enough. They popped up in liquor stores and tobacco stores across America.
In 1976, Dale Electronics released the Poker-matic. This machine popped up in almost every Vegas casino but very few players opted to play the Poker-matic instead of a physical poker game. This device was soon replaced by, you guessed it, Video Poker.
The game was created by Si Redd who pitched the idea with Bally, but since Poker-matic failed to be a huge hit, they decided not to take the chance.
Si Redd then approached Fortune Coin who was developing innovative slot machines at the time. They loved his idea and helped Redd form the company Si Redd’s Coin Machines. This company would eventually turn into IGT, who still innovate in the industry today.
Si also helped introduce the now famous Jacks or Better rule set that gave players an irresistibly low house edge to play against. Finally, for players who felt intimidated by the poker tables, either because they are new or simply dislike the competition, there was now a great alternative, Video Poker!
The Online Revolution
As we said, the foundation of Video Poker has not changed much. It is still essentially 5 card draw poker for a single player. What has been altered in the modern age of online gambling is the fact that now players have a huge variety of alternate rule sets that help enhance the basic Video Poker game.
Modern versions can include massive progressive jackpots, uniquely themed machines and alternate payouts and odds. If history is anything to go by, it doesn’t seem that Video Poker will drastically change anytime soon, and players wouldn’t have it any other way.