Video poker machines have become a staple in casinos in England and globally, offering diverse variations inspired by traditional poker. With popular options like Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and Draw Poker, these games typically range from £1 to £5 per spin.
19th Century Poker Machines
In 1891, the Sittman and Pitt Company of Brooklyn, New York, manufactured and marketed the first poker machines. The poker deck contained five drums, each with 10 playing cards. You had to insert a coin into a slot and then pull a handle to turn the drums. Each drum eventually stopped on a card, thus constituting a poker hand. These machines from another time are at the origin of video poker.
Winning hands consisted of at least a pair of kings, and winnings were in drinks or cigars. To receive your reward, venue operators would first have to verify your victory before handing over the “winnings”.
In 1898, Charles Fey, the pioneer of slot machines, created the Card Bell, marking a shift to coin payouts. The largest possible was 20 coins for a Royal Flush hand. The subsequent invention in 1901, the Skill Draw, introduced a “Hold” function. Players could select several of the first 5 cards received to keep and rotate the other drums to obtain a better hand. This was a precursor to the video poker we know today.
Gaming Business in the USA
In the early 20th century, poker machines thrived in bars and smoking rooms across major US cities. Poker game machines and slot machines represented a very lucrative business.
Poker machines from the 1900s consisted of a deck of poker cards. Despite a deck reduction to 50 cards, excluding the 10 of spades and the jack of hearts, the popularity of poker game machines soared. Even though it halved the chance of a royal flush, the strongest poker hand! Obviously, and fortunately, the video poker machines we know today use decks of 52 cards.
Poker has always been a people’s game in the USA! So, being able to try your luck on a poker game machine that paid out winnings directly was quite an invention.
Prohibition of Gambling
Between 1910 and 1930, gambling prohibitions meant manufacturers had to transform their poker and slot machines. To continue making these “one-armed bandits”, producers had the genius idea of turning them into chewing gum dispensers. Instead of paying real money, the machines rewarded winners with gum balls!
The end of prohibition in the 1930s revived the slot machine business.
The 1970s Poker-Matic
In 1970, when the large-scale computer boom began, Dale Electronics introduced the Poker-Matic, the first video poker machine. They would install these machines in practically every casino in Las Vegas! However, players didn’t like these games – they preferred the good old mechanical slot machines.
1980 and William Redd
In the mid-1970s, William Redd’s idea for “Video Poker” faced rejection by Bally Gaming as they didn’t want to risk moving away from the mechanical slots style. It was a big mistake! The Fortune Coin Company of Reno purchased the patent for the Video Poker machine from William Red for a modest sum of money.
In just a few years, Redd’s machines became a huge hit, and by 1981, video poker saw widespread success in all major US casinos, then throughout the world.
From 1980 to 2023
Despite seeming primitive, video poker machines from the 1980s laid the foundation for today’s diverse and improved variations.
From the 2000s, video poker games with progressive jackpots were the most popular. Additionally, on almost all video poker variants, a Royal Flush hand paid 4,000x the bet, naturally attracting players looking for big wins.
Today, in 2023, video poker remains an iconic game in the gambling sector.
The Era of Online Video Poker
The virtual casino sector has become huge on the Internet since the 1990s. The most popular of these online casinos have millions of loyal customers and, of course, feature Video poker.
If you’re looking for the best poker machine games, it’s worth checking out sites like Luxury Casino. Their video poker variations are some of the most played in the world.
International Gaming Technology
Today, video poker machines in land-based casinos are supplied by global giants like International Gaming Technology, a leader in slot machines, lottery, and scratch ticket machines. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the company is worth billions of dollars and has over 10,000 employees.
The origin of the first poker machines dates back to the 19th century, but video poker only appeared in the 1970s in casinos. Loved by card game enthusiasts, video poker also attracts jackpot hunters thanks to its numerous variations.
Today, whether in land-based casinos or online casinos, video poker is a total classic. As people become more and more accustomed to the electronic world, playing video poker games only on screen is the norm for card game enthusiasts.
Head to a real money online casino today to try your luck at all the different variations of video poker games!