Video Poker History

The first video poker machines were coin-operated. Players would put their coins into the machine and 5 drums, which held the cards, would then be spun by the player with a handle...

Video poker is a game based on five-draw poker. The interesting history and ever-evolving face of video poker is what draws many players to this game. Many players agree that video poker is one of the most exciting poker variants available. Video poker is modeled on the five-draw variant. 

This game is the product of multiple generations of poker players who have changed, and are still changing the game. This game keeps people interested as it is fun, rewarding and most importantly, always changing.


The Origin of Video Poker

Video poker was being played as early as late 19th century. The first video poker machines were coin-operated. Players would put their coins into the machine and 5 drums, which held the cards, would then be spun by the player with a handle. 

These machines did not have the JH or the 10S in order to reduce the winnings odds. The winners were provided with cigars or drinks as their prizes. The first machines were built by a company in Brooklyn, New York named Sittman and Pitt. 

Charles Fey’s Video Poker Machines

Charles Fey is a widely recognized name in the world of video poker. In 1901, Fey added the draw feature to video poker machines. This feature allowed players to keep some of the cards from the drums after the first spin. 

This is thought to be the first combination of hold with draw. Now, the players did not have to simply rely on luck but rather could use their skills to win a game. Fey’s added feature was important for video poker as it led the way for the game to become more popular and to appeal to intellectual people who wished to test their poker prowess.  

Modern-Day Video Poker

In the 1970s, modern video poker consoles were created. This resulted in tremendous interest in video poker, and gave rise to a surge in video poker popularity once again. During this period, the video poker that people know today was invented. Two engineers named Logan Pease and Bill Wells are the primary inventors of modern-day video poker machines. 

A gaming company named IGT released ‘Draw Poker’ in 1979 and was an overnight success in casinos and other gambling establishments. In 1970 before ‘Draw Poker’, Dale Electronics released their video poker machine called ‘Poker-Matic’ but it was never successful. Video poker’s popularity increased throughout the 1980s as most people felt less intimidated when playing at these machines compared to an actual poker table. In 1998, Ernie Moody created the first multi-hand video poker machine called ‘Triple Play Draw Poker’. Before this, multi-hand games were not allowed to be played. These games gave players almost 3 times the amount of payouts if a high hand was dealt compared to the older video poker machines

Changes in Video Poker Over Time

Early video poker machines were black and white only. These machines were released in 1976 and within eight months, color video poker machines were available. Other changes in video poker machines that have occurred include modified payoff schedules, progressive jackpots and wild cards. In 1994, video poker was available for play online after Micro-programming developed online casino software. The online success of video poker is enormous and now, players around the world can enjoy video poker without even leaving their homes.