It’s common knowledge that slots are the most popular casino games in the world, but did you know that Video Poker is a close second? Video Poker and slots are very similar in some ways.
They both offer high return to player percentages, they both offer instant payouts for the right symbol or card combinations, and they both come in a variety of fun themes to suit everyone’s tastes.
Video Poker is essentially a combination of 5 Card Draw Poker and slot machines. Their history thus runs closely parallel with that of traditional slots. The original Draw Poker Machines were poker-style slot machines that were based completely on luck, with no card hands or elements of skill involved.
Fusion of Slots and Draw Poker
The first Video Poker machine was created when a draw feature was introduced to these Draw Poker machines. All of a sudden, the game was no longer based on pure luck. Players could actually work towards improving the outcome of their games, at least to a degree.
This original Poker machine was named ‘Skill Draw’. It boasted the draw feature that made it so unique, and was developed by Charles Fey – the same man who invented the slot machine – in 1901. The machine had 5 reels, and players’ initial spins created a poker hand to start with. A player could then choose to retain some of the cards and spin the reels once more to complete their winning hand.
The first Video Poker machine, Poker-Matic, hit the market in 1970. It was developed by Dale Electronics Corporation, and combined a basic TV monitor with a central processing unit that had basic computing capabilities. Because of its rudimentary graphics, it did not instantly become popular at the casinos of Las Vegas.
IGT Hits the Video Poker Jackpot
In the mid-70s, the mastermind behind Video Poker William ‘Si’ Redd and owner of Bally Gaming, developed something new. His all new game was called Video Poker, but his company’s executives did not want to abandon slots and allowed him to keep the patent for it. Redd soon inked a deal with Fortune Coin Company to create Sircoma, the company that began mass-producing Video Poker machines. In 1980, Sircoma went public and changed its name to International Game Technology.
IGT enjoyed massive sales from its Video Poker machines back in the 80s. Players loved their wide range of betting options, easy availability, low variance, high payouts, and unique draw feature. Soon enough, touch screens and new Video Poker variations like Double Bonus and Deuces Wild were created, boosting the game’s popularity even further, making it almost as popular as online pokies games.
Nowadays, Video Poker can be found at virtually every casino, both land-based and online. Online players can play for real money thanks to the advent of the Internet, and even mobile device owners can join in the fun. The versatility of online Video Poker enables you to play at work, bars, airports and train stations, not to mention from the comfort of your own home. It’s no wonder that this game’s popularity is still growing by the day.