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Video poker history

History of Video Poker – How Video Poker Developed

Video poker is a combination of poker and slots, and the origins of video poker is an interesting story.

From drums to wins

In essence, video poker is a combination of basic 5 card poker and slot machines. The first slot machine was developed back in 1891. This game utilized 50 card symbols across 5 different drums. With 52 cards in a deck, there was no room for 2 cards. This resulted in the jack and ten of spades being dropped and the chances of landing a top straight diminished. This is also reputed to be the first time a “house edge” was implemented.  Although this game may sound archaic, there is little difference in principle between this game and what we know as today’s slots. Players in those days were awarded drinks or cigars for landing winning symbols.

A few years later in 1899, Charles Frey developed the Liberty Bell. This slot machine replaced the basic card symbol with from its predecessors with hearts, spades, bells and horseshoes. Players could claim a win if they hit a series of symbols. It would be years until poker symbols once again appeared.

The stepping stones

It was only much later in 1970 that Dale Electronics revealed the Poker-Matic video poker machine. This game grew in popularity and was soon found adorning the floors of the world’s top casinos. Many expected the elite to flock to see the new wonder machine. However, this was not the case. Only in 1975, was the video slot introduced by Walt Fraley in Las Vegas. Again, these didn't start out too well as many players were mistrusting of the payouts as they could not see any reels spinning.

This all changed in 1979 when IGT developed their Draw Poker game. The game used the same technology as the 1975 game, but was for some reason better accepted by the gambling world. 
The 1980s heralded a new era for the popularity of video poker. As the demand grew, so too did the range of these machines. Video poker machines started surfacing in all casinos around the world. As the technology improved, more variations of video poker also started to be introduced.

The digital age

The rise of the World Wide Web in the early nineties was the biggest coup for video poker. Within a few years, video poker was available to millions around the globe with nothing more than a simple dial-up connection. This exposure, as well as new technology, boosted the game to new heights. As speeds increased and the borders between nations were broken down in cyberspace, the popularity grew. Countries which do not even have land based casinos now have access to the virtual casinos of the world.

Where we are today

Microgaming was the first software development company to introduce software for online casinos in 1994. Since then, many other companies have joined in and video poker is one of the backbone games of all online casinos found today.