The Evolution of Video Poker

Today there are hundreds of different video poker games to be found yet Jack or better  still remains one of the popular versions...

Card games have been around, in one form or another, for centuries, with none more popular than poker. It is a game that has a multitude of different versions and which has somehow transcended its history of taking place in smoky back rooms, to the living rooms of the world on national television.

It can be argued that the introduction of poker to the masses came when the cards were taken off the table and placed on a screen in the form of video poker. The fact that the popularity of the game started to spike when video poker machines started to show up in the casinos shows just how big an impact those initial terminals had on the average player.

It was the mid 70’s when those first video poker machines started showing up in casinos across the country. Draw Poker was the first game to arrive on the scene, with a pair being the lowest hand that would pay out. The functions themselves were pretty basic, with deal, draw, and hold buttons pretty much all that was on the machine. The video poker transformation didn’t really take full effect until 1981 when the Jacks or Better game was introduced onto the casino floor, making the machines one of the biggest draws in the building.

It wasn’t just the introduction of new games that helped take video poker to the next level of popularity. When the first machines came out, they looked more like a television that you would have in home than what we are used to today. It was the 80’s when the home computer started to take off, allowing technology to actually catch up to the game and making it much more fun to play. As the popularity grew, the demand for bigger and better games did too, which eventually led to much more choice for gamblers that loved to spend their money on video poker.

Nowadays there are literally hundreds of different video poker games to be found on the casino floor. The variations in gameplay and paytables is nothing short of staggering, although one of the earliest forms of the game still remains the king of them all. Jack or Better is still the leader of the video poker pack, but the way in which the game is played has changed dramatically. It’s not the gameplay itself that has changed, but the terminals where it is played. Touch screens are now the order of the day, even though old school players still love to use the machines with the standard buttons.

The success of video poker machines led to slot machines adopting the video display, as opposed to the spinning reels of old. Video terminals are definitely the wave of the future, and the game options that the average better now has are second to none. There is even a hybrid version of both games called Spin Poker which is quickly becoming a big hit. To put it in simple terms, the casino floor looks and sounds a lot different than it did 30 years ago and video poker has a lot to do with that transformation.