The Brief History of Video Poker

Video poker is a very popular casino game. One of the reasons for its popularity may be its resemblance to “real” poker – it is a game almost identical to Five Card Draw, a popular poker variant. The only major difference between Five Card Draw and video poker is that there is no pot. Instead, players wager a certain amount on each hand, and when they win, they are paid depending on the hand value, according to a pay table. Basically, video poker is a single-player five card draw that's insanely fast and very entertaining. This is probably why so many poker and casino players play video poker online and in real life.

Video poker has quite a few variants, especially online. Most online casino lists at least a dozen of them, all with either slight tweaks on the original rules, or extra bonuses added for some variants. One of the most played poker variants is certainly “Deuces Wild”, a variant that uses twos (deuces) as wild cards. Other popular variants of the game  include Jacks or Better, Joker Poker, Aces, and Faces, and their multi-hand variants that allow players to play multiple hands at once.

The history of video poker

Poker machines – without the video part, of course – have been around since the late 19th century. They even precede slot machines by a few years – the first poker machine was created by the Brooklyn, New York-based amusement machine manufacturers Sittman and Pitt in 1891.

Their design was very popular, even if two cards from the deck – the ten of spades and the jack of hearts – were removed to make a royal flush less likely. The game was very popular in the 19th century New York – soon after its creation many bars had one. The only issue with the machine was that it was not capable of making automatic payouts like Charles Fey's slot machine could, due to a large number of possible combinations.

The excitement around poker machines subsided for a long time – until the mid-1970s when the first video poker machine was created.

The first true video slot machine was presented in 1976, and poker machines also made a comeback around the same time – but this time they were here to stay. SIRCOMA, the company that has later become International Game Technology (IGT), has launched Draw Poker in 1979, which became a hit in the casino industry. The game's popularity exploded during the 1980s, followed by its transcendence to cyberspace in the mid-1990s. Today, video poker machines are available online and in real life, playable for real money or for fun, all over the world.

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