If you have ever been to a casino, or perhaps even a bar, airport, or train station, you have more than likely come across, if not played, a video poker machine at some point in your life. But how exactly is it that video poker came to be so widespread and popular?
The Origins of Video Poker
Poker machines have a long and fascinating history. “Video” poker, as we know it, owes much to early inventors such as Charles Fey and his ingenious 1901 “Skill Draw” poker machine, as well as the many variations of poker slot machines used by casinos going as back as far as the late 19th century.
It was much later, however, in the 1970’s, that poker machines made a notable and momentous leap in evolution. Alongside the historic invention of the desktop computer, the very first “video” poker machines were developed.
These new poker machines combined the technologies of computers, television, and slot machines.
Although the first attempt, a game called “Poker-Matic” created by Dale Electronic Corporation in 1970, did not prove to be a huge success around the Las Vegas casinos, this was all soon about to change.
The Golden Age of Si Redd
Towards the mid 1970’s, a businessman named William “Si” Redd (1911-2003), holding the patent for a new and improved video poker machine, joined forces with Fortune Coin Company to create Sircoma (Si Redd’s Coin Machines). By the end of the decade, Sircoma’s wildly successful “Draw Poker” machine was being mass produced and distributed to casinos throughout the US.
In 1980, Sircoma then changed their name to the renowned ‘International Game Technology’ (IGT) and, over the following decade, oversaw the flourishing popularity of video poker world-wide. Many of the classic features and conveniences enjoyed by modern video poker players were introduced over this period, such as a greatly broadened variety of betting types, access to video poker machines outside of casino establishments, as well as a far greater similarity with poker played at a table.
The Internet and Online Video Poker
Internet and online gambling in the 90’s provided yet another pivotal leap in progress for video poker, and in 1994, the first online game was launched by Microgaming.
This new format allowed for better visuals, an even greater number of features and variety, and best of all, something that no one, until then, had thought possible. The convenience of playing video poker from the comfort of one’s own home.
Video Poker Today
Video poker in the modern age continues to grow alongside technology in leaps and bounds, providing a whole host of new ways to play, such as on a mobile tablet or phone.
Modern games also offer greater security and an ever-increasing variety of options, titles, and features to choose from. Thus, ensuring that video poker remains one of the most popular and frequently played casino games in the world to this day.