Video Poker

History of Video Poker

Today, you’d be hard pressed to come across a gaming enthusiast who hasn’t heard of Video Poker. It’s available at every land based and online casino across the globe and is incredibly popular due to its fast paced game play and the fact that it combines traditional Poker hands with elements of slots.

It’s interesting to note then that Video Poker is not an old game. It has nothing like the rich and illustrious origins of Roulette, or the more murky background of Blackjack or Poker, it’s certainly not been around for centuries and was never played in Kings Courts, the backrooms of saloons or in illicit backroom casinos.

Modern Beginnings

In the early 1970’s the idea of a personal computer was slowly becoming more of a reality and one of the first industries to capitalise on advancing technology was casinos. Casino operators knew that computerised machines offered a whole new way to gamble and that their potential was enormous.

Video Poker is actually a casino game that almost never get off the ground. Si Redd, an employee of Bally technologies who was working at the time as a distributor, pitched a new invention idea to executives in Chicago. This new idea was Video Poker. Amazingly, the executives vetoed the game as being unfavourable as they didn’t want to take a risk and branch out with a game that was untested with players and may flop.

Fortunately Redd persevered and convinced Bally to give him the patent for Video Poker. This was possibly the biggest single mistake Bally ever made, but at the time they had no idea what they were passing up.

Brokering a Video Poker Deal

Within month Si brokered a deal with the Fortune Coin Company, which was based in Reno, and they formed a new company called Sircoma, an acronym for Si Redds Coin machines. Sircoma was set to mas produce Video Poker machines and at first, the initial uptake was somewhat slow.

By 1981 however, Video Poker was the most popular new addition at any land based casino and players flocked to enjoy a game that they found to be a little less stressful than playing against a dealer and others at a table, and just as rewarding. Video Poker also offered the advantage of being fast, and a hand only took a minute or two to complete.

Early Video Poker Games

The first Video Poker game was called Draw Poker and looked like a 1980’s style TV screen, with controls, but it was still very popular. Only a year after its release Si Redd changed the name of his company to IGT and the face of gambling changed forever.

Today there are a number of Video Poker variants available both online and off and Jacks or Better, a game that’s very similar to the initial release, is the most commonly played. Single and multi hand games and different variations all with their own unique twists have emerged, and Redd’s game has become one of the biggest in the world. Funny to think that if he hadn’t persevered, Video Poker may not exist at all.