The game of poker is among the most enduringly popular gambling games in the world today. It first came to prominence on the Mississippi riverboats of the early 1900s. Initially played with as few as 20 cards, the 52 card deck we all know and love now quickly became the norm for nearly all types of poker. Many versions have developed over the course of time. The version of the game on which Video Poker relies is commonly called Five Card Draw.
The draw innovation of this game became popular around 1850. It was also around this period a ranking of hands began to develop, such as the improvements of the straight and the flush. One of the most important attractions of poker is that the combination of skill and luck it gives, together with all the pitting of one’s wits against fellow players. Nevertheless, the inner workings of the game are so entertaining enough in their own right that attempts were made to make a version of this game which may be played against the house. With the popularity of slot machines, it seemed a logical step to combine the gamblers’ love of machine and poker gaming.
Poker and Machines
The very first poker gambling machine on the album came back in 1891. A mechanical machine instead of the screen-based games we have now, the game featured five spinning drums each with 10 cards represented on them. The drums would spin much like a classic style fruit machine and lock with five cards on the screen. These five cards would signify the player’s poker hands and he’d be paid out accordingly.
Seven years after this a new machine was brought to market. This improved on the first by introducing a draw attribute. The reels would spin as before, however, if a player was unhappy with the first result he could decide to hold at least one of the reels and re-spin the rest. It was pretty much like today’s video poker machines but was somewhat restricted as a result of complications of trying to replicate a poker deal on a reels-based machine.
These early machines were popular in certain pubs and clubs but never really took off in a major way. The playing poker on machines wouldn’t truly break out before the growth of computer chips and video displays in the 1970s.
Innovation: The Computer Age
The first personal computers started to appear in the mid-1970s. Although almost laughably basic by today’s standards, they still possessed more than enough processing power to manage the permutations possible in a deck of cards. That these machines were both economical and reliable enough to be made in massive numbers, along with the fact that they could be connected up to a movie-style monitor, was crucial to discovering that this was the time that video poker could emerge. It would not take long for someone to spot the possible gambling applications of the new technology.
The gentleman responsible for the arrival of the video poker is Mr. Si Redd. He was employed as a casino game distributor and had experienced success in introducing several new slot design games into the casinos. However, he was discovering his new video poker job to be a difficult sell. His employer Bally Casino were reluctant to forfeit floor area allocated to the more standard slot games that were proving to be quite profitable. Undeterred, Mr. Redd took on the patent for the match himself. He contacted Fortune Coin Company, who believed in the match, and consented to mass-produce a machine capable of supplying it. The company was in an advantageous position since they had already produced a video-based slot design game in 1975. They managed to successfully adapt their current machine technology to concoct a basic but efficient video poker terminal.
Video Draw Poker premiered in 1979. Although not an immediate smash hit, by 1981 it was the most successful brand new game in town. A couple of tweaks here and there served to improve the popularity of the game. Perhaps the most important one was the shifting of the minimal hand requirement. In its first incarnations, two pairs have been the least a participant needed to be able to yield a payout. It did not take long for the game’s owners to change this to a single pair of jacks or better being the lowest qualifying hand. To many, this edition of the game is only called “Jacks or Better” to this day. The impact of this greater regularity of payout has been dramatic. The sport has grown to such a level that there are hardly any casinos around the globe that do not have some type of video poker as part of the offering.
Advancing technology has also played a role in the growth of the game. The displays of the first game were similar to that of a 1970’s computer with blocky graphics and giving out just basic sound. Contrast this with the complete color high definition displays of now and we can see just how much the aesthetics of these machines have improved. As the look of the machines has become more appealing and inviting the game has continued to grow and increase in popularity.
With the growth of gaming applications, features like the multi-hand alternative became possible. This allows players to perform up to 100 variations of the same hand in an instant, hugely increasing the activity and excitement of the sport.
Fans of casino gambling also discovered that the video poker machines provided them something they could not find at a real poker table. In a video poker terminal, a participant doesn’t have the worry of getting his choices and perform scrutinized by fellow gamblers. The privacy provided by machine play goes a massive way towards explaining the popularity of slot gambling generally. For those looking for the excitement of a card-based game together with the more solitary gaming experience of slots, the newest video poker machines provided the ideal solution.
Being a screen-based game, video poker has been moved to an online setting more readily than a number of the other casino games. Roulette, for instance, required new applications to be developed for the provision of this game in the digital world. Since the mid-1990’s the software for video poker has become more and more sophisticated. Gamblers around the world can play just about any new or present variation of this sport in the comfort of their own homes and even on their mobile devices. Stop by any online casino now and you’ll discover video poker prominently featured.
The future for a video poker will most likely follow a similar pattern as the past with the basic principles versions enduring and frequently spiced up and improved by new interpretations. Possible variations of this game are just restricted by the imaginations of the games’ designers. Some recent examples are the addition of a progressive jackpot feature like that used in Caribbean Stud.
Among the more recent variants brings us back to the first slot poker match of the late 1800s. Spin poker is a reels-based game, however, with modern technology, is far better equipped to replicate the poker experience compared to five drum machine of 1891. The widespread popularity of this multi-hand attribute has motivated the game developers to create a new twist with this facet of the game. Multi-Strike Poker is a new version that permits players to play multiple diverse hands with escalating pay tables. Total the future is bright for video poker because of its simplicity, player participation, and quick adaptability. Additionally, it provides one of the best bargains to the gambler with upwards of 99 percent being the norm concerning return to the participant.