the origins and history of video poker

by
updated:

Video poker is among the most recent game types to become listed on the casino floor. Since its first introduction in early 1970s, video poker’s popularity surged to the point where its presence is indispensable from any reputable casino. Even in the net casino era, the overall game remains probably one of the most in-demand casino titles ever created.

Keep reading to learn more about the history of video poker!

Video Poker Evolution

Even though it wasn’t before the 1970s that the video poker machines were first introduced to the masses, the style was made well before that moment. The first mechanical poker machine was released in the late 1800s. Still, the technology in those days wasn't advanced level enough to help make the game viable at larger scales.

The inventor of the first video poker machine is Sittman and Pitt Company, which can be located in Brooklyn. The original version was more just like a slot machine – it had five-reel, each with ten handmade cards. To play, you'd need to insert coins and pull the lever to help make the reels spin. If the rotation was over, each reel would stop on a card and form the poker hand.

Years later, Charles Fey, referred to as the “father of slots, ” invented “Card Bell, ” which was like the initial version of video poker. Still, it was included with an automatic payout feature, which would quit to 20 coins reward for a royal flush.

The concept was further refined at the beginning of the 20th century when Fey created a new and updated game called “Skill draw, ” where players could “hold” the cards. After spinning the reels once, gamblers had the choice to carry more than one cards and then draw again, hoping that their hand would improve.

Skill draw is the first 5-card draw poker machine, that was significantly similar to those in casinos today. Sittman and Pitt started creating their version of the machines with the hold and draw features. The game became so popular that the company couldn’t fulfill all of the orders.

Precisely why the poker terminals were so popular in early 1900s is that they were commonly put into cigar and liquor stores, so every one would stop by to decide to try their luck spinning the reels.

While back in the day you'd need to go entirely to the liquor store to enjoy some gambling action, in these days you can simply open your web browser and straight away gain access to an array of casino games from the comfort of your property. If you want to hone your skills and take your game to another location level, we highly suggest choosing a title from our video poker free play collection, where you can enjoy some reel spinning without having to deposit or download anything.

Classic poker machines – not a good deal for the player

In the 20th century, gamblers didn’t care a lot of about the go back to player percentages or winning odds. Ergo, the game’s design was purposely built to reflect the lack of gambling understanding of the common casino player and had only 50 cards available, despite being marketed as a 52-card deck based video poker machine.

The game creators would eradicate the ten of spades and the jack of hearts, making it impossible to acquire a royal flush with these two card suits. What’s much more interesting is that video poker was predominant, although gambling activities were strictly forbidden everywhere in the United states of america. Therefore , winners were given non-cash rewards, such as drinks or cigars. Even today, this practice remains common in certain rural gambling parlors, where winners are issued an incentive which can be later exchanged for money at a broker nearby.

Today, all video poker games use Random Number Generator software to ensure that they play in a safe and fair environment. In the end, the video poker machines are known for having the lowest house edge in the market, and thus you can pay less overall to the casino operator over time.

Check out our poker sites section, where we of casino analysts has assembled a detailed guide on the best way to select a regulated gaming platform and never have to worry that your computer data or money is at risk. The internet is a robust tool for seeking information, since it allows you to check the viability of a casino before joining it. By reading our guide, you will see how to make a more informed gambling decision and get the most out of your casino promotions.

What was the first version of electronic video poker?

After digging deeper into the history of gambling, our experts can see that the definition of “video poker” was coined not exactly 70 years later following the invention of poker machines. Dale Electronics was the inventor of the “Poker-Matic, ” which can be widely thought to be the first casino game that works on the tv screen showing cards generated by a computer program.

The casino industry thought that Poker-Matic would have been a hit, so every gambling avenue had these machines installed on the premises. However , the audience was quite skeptical, since in those days, technology was still in its infancy and individuals were having mixed feelings about trusting computer programs.

It wasn’t until William Redd, among the distributors for Bally’s Casino in Vegas created a brand new version called “Video Poker, ” when the game actually became the star of the casino floor. William Redd’s version was inspired by the famous five-card draw game Jacks or Better and somehow squeezed a patent for it, making him a millionaire within a few years.

Bally’s executive board turned down Redd’s pitch, thinking that Video Poker would wind up much like Poker-Matic. They certainly were wrong. By the 1980s, his game was considered one of the best casino titles obtainable in all Nevada, and everybody was in for some card drawing action.

Understanding that he found the golden nugget of the casino industry, Redd chose to take up a gambling hardware manufacturing business called SICOMA, that has been publicly listed on the stock market in 1981. He later changed the company’s name to International Game Technology (IGT), which is to this day, one of the most prominent game providers around the world.

Video Poker Today

Despite the release of new innovative features and high-quality graphics casino games, video poker remains to this day probably one of the most impressive titles. You can take pleasure in the game in land-based and on line casinos. The newer versions are even optimized for cellular devices, meaning that you can look at your luck while transiting to work.

The actual evolution of video poker relates to its variations to the rules. Whilst the old-school version required you to get a hand with 2-pairs or simpler to win, some versions of the overall game now allow you to win with an individual high-ranking pair, like the remarkably popular Jacks or Better variant.

Today, you are able to pick from a huge selection of versions, all having different rules and ways of improve your odds. Yet another exciting addition to the video poker collection is multi-hand games, in which players can play up to 100 hands at any given time, bringing much more fun to the dining table. You are able to learn more about the game within our in-depth poker guide, where we will explain the exact strategies used by professional players for consistent results.

The bottom line


Video poker comes with an incredible history, going from a poker machine with only 50 cards that have been often put in liquor stores to being the most used game in Las Vegas casinos.

Even in today’s technology-driven world, where you will find countless options to select from which have more complex features and better graphics, many players prefer playing a casino game of Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild.

If you’ve never played video poker before, we recommend trying it out, at least in the free version. We promise you won’t regret it!

Reference list

  • Video poker history by IGT
  • William Si Redd in the Gaming Hall of Fame

Please note:

More Info Read less