Video Poker History
Video Poker has a close history with slot machines. The first slot machines which were developed in 1891 Sittman and Pitt actually used playing 50 card symbols across 5 drums. The Jack and Ten of Spades were removed as this made it more difficult to complete poker hands such as straights, as these 2 cards made the maximum number of straights. Typically players would win drinks or cigars for hitting a winning poker hand.
By 1899 Charles Frey introduced the famous Liberty bell slot machine. Playing card symbols were replaced with hearts, spades, bells and horseshoes, rather than Kings, Queens etc. Instead of poker hands making winning combinations, the players had to instead hit a set number of the symbols to get a payout. So many years poker hands didn’t appear on any machines.
Then, in 1970, we saw the introduction of video poker. Dale Electronics introduced the Poker-Matic video poker machine. They became commonly seen in the gambling casinos of Las Vegas, but they did not prove a big hit.
Making use of new technology, in 1975 the first video slot was introduced by Walt Fraley in Las Vegas. These didn’t start off too popular because players didn’t trust the payouts of the machines because they couldn’t see the actual reels spinning.
The turning point for video slots was actually thanks to video poker. In 1979 the company IGT (at the time known as SIRCOMA) introduced DRAW POKER. It was hugely popular in its own right and also boosted the trust factor in video slots as it used the same technolgy and not spinning reels. Both saw a surge in popularity with the video poker machines leading the way.
Through the 1980’s the popularity of both video poker and slots grew. People who had previously felt intimidated by the well known casino table games had now found there comfort zone at the machines.
As technology has improved and better machines have been made the popularity of video poker has continued to grow. Many new variations of the game have been introduced.
The internet has also proved to only increase the exposure of video poker. High speed internet has enabled many players to play online and introduced the game to countries or cities that don’t even have live casinos.
In 1994 Microgaming produced the first online casino software and have since introduced many varieties of video poker as have other software providers.
As the popularity of Poker alone grows and the online software’s become more and more user friendly and faster downloading, so the popularity in of video poker looks set to grow and grow.