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History of Video Poker

Early History

Video Poker can be viewed as slots games that have poker hand rankings in the payout table. Some of the early slot machines did use cards as symbols. In fact the machine developed by Sittman and Pitt in 1891 used 50 playing card symbols across 5 reels. Unfortunately it had removed the jack and ten of spades and thus made it extremely difficult to get high ranking hands. Probably this is why it did not catch on.

Casino Video Poker
Video poker as we know it today was introduced in 1970 in the casinos of Las Vegas through Dale Electronics’ Poker-Matic video poker machine. It was not successful. Then using computer software based random number generators Walt Fraley introduced a new machine in 1975. The problem was that there were no visible spinning reels in this machine and players were not willing to trust the invisible computer software. Hence there were few takers for this machine.

In 1979 a company names SIRCOMA entered the fray. Today this company is known as IGT and is highly respected by the gaming industry. SIRCOMA did pioneering work to explain the integrity of the computer software based machines and ultimately got players to accept them.

In the 1980s the popularity of video poker increased because it gave the players an opportunity to play a poker game of sorts away from the intimidating atmosphere of the poker tables. Casinos kept on introducing variants to the basic game of video poker in order to maintain the interest. For example wild cards were introduced. Also the low denomination 25-cent machines were introduced to give a fillip to the low rollers.

Online Video Poker
In 1994 Microgaming harnessed the power and the popularity of the Internet with its first online casino software and video poker games were a part of that package. Now video poker could be played from the comfort of the players’ homes without having to go to casinos or malls.

The online casinos’ costs were extremely low as compared to land-based casinos and therefore the payouts were adjusted to give games with negligible house edges. Advances in software technology introduced enhanced graphics and special effects in video poker games. Progressive jackpots that linked games across casinos were also introduced.

Mobile Video Poker

Now players can connect to online casinos using mobile phones. Therefore players can play video poker while traveling, while waiting in the doctor’s clinic and while commuting to work.


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