Video poker is a casino game which is based
loosely on five-card draw poker. It is played on a computerized
console which is a similar size to a slot machine.
The video poker machine is one of the most popular
gambling machines in existence today. Part poker, and part
video game, it's the perfect combination to make it a modern
day gambling sensation. Although today's video poker machines
are the epitome of our current high tech in gambling, they
have existed in simpler form for about two hundred years.
Video poker is of course based on the card game
of poker. The video poker machine of today is the result of
the game of poker being manifested into different types of
games at varying levels of technology through the generations.
The game of poker has been played in America since the early
1880s, with the game being referred to as ‘Poker' in 1834
by a man name Jonathan Green.
The earliest recorded ancestors of the video
poker machine were coin operated machines which used poker
cards. These machines came into the scene in the late 1800s,
and were manufactured by a company by the name of Sittman
and Pitt of Brooklyn. The poker card machines were placed
in liquor stores and cigar shops, and shortly worked their
way across the U.S.
These machines worked by the player putting
a coin into the poker machine and pulling a handle, which
spun five drums that held the poker cards. The player would
wait for it to stop, while hoping for a winning hand. A winning
hand was paid out in cigars or drinks. Sadly, and unbeknownst
to the players, the Ten of Spades and the Jack of Hearts were
left out of the deck to reduce the chances of winning.
In 1901, Charles Fey made the next big improvement
to the poker machine by adding the first ‘draw' feature to
the already wildly popular machine. Fey's addition to the
poker machine allowed the player to actually use their poker
skills in the game, as opposed to being left to the mercy
of blind luck.
Charles Fey's improvement allowed the player
to hold certain drums still after the first spin, while pulling
the handle to spin the remaining drums. This in effect was
the first ‘hold' and ‘draw' combination.
Over the following years, people's interest
in poker card machines diminished, with only an occasional
hiccup of interest every now and again. It wasn't until the
late 1970s that the poker machine was reborn into the video
poker machine, thus rekindling the love of video poker.
The first of these machines appeared along side
of the personal computer. It was this technology which made
the video poker machine a reality. With its solid state circuitry,
and its television like monitor, this clunky machine would
give rise to the poker machines of today. These machines have
made their homes in bars, casinos and even online.
The first century of coin operated game
devices ended in 1990 with animated video poker machines becoming
one of the hottest sensations of modern-day casinos.