Video Poker History

A closer look at video poker history and how it changed the casino and gaming industry and why players love the game.

It Started With Slot Symbols

When the first slot machines were created many years ago, the symbols that graced the screen were card symbols. In essence the video poker area started back with the first slot machines but instead of making “card hands” to win you had to match the card symbols.

Shorter Video Poker History Than Slots

The slot machines were introduced as far back as 1899 by Charles Fey. But video poker didn’t appear on the scene until years later in the early 1970’s. Amazing and somewhat ironic, since poker itself was widely enjoyed by many gamblers at parlors and homes world wide. Ironically it was years until it was envisioned putting the game of poker on a machine until this late date.

Introduced in 1970

Introduced in 1970, the first video poker machine was called the “Poker-Matic Machine”. Developed and introduced to the world by “Dale Electronics”. The Poker Matic Machine was seen in Las Vegas but not in big numbers at first. It was not the big hit the slot machines were to the dismay of the inventors.

Technology Changed Everything

The age of technology was upon us and soon new and better “video poker” machines were unveiled by Walt Fraley in Las Vegas. But to many slot machine players who were used to seeing the reels spinning on the slot machines. Computers were not yet accepted as a part of normal daily life and players were skeptical. They didn’t know what to make of these new poker machines. Mainly because they were video poker and they had no mechanical spinning reels that thy were used to seeing.

In the beginning these new video machines were not trusted by many. Because of that, they did not become popular because the payouts were not trusted.

Early Video Poker Machines Images

Below we have provided an image of some of the earliest models of video poker games. The one on the left is based on one of the early models from Dale Electronics circa 1970. Image on the right is based a later and taller model. This particular model has the panel artwork for Harrah’s of Las Vegas. Most regular video poker players will recognize how the game designs have changed compared to today’s machines.

video poker history image

Video Poker Machines Led to Changes in Slots

At this point in time, the slot machines in most casinos had not yet incorporated the “video” technology that these video poker machines had introduced. Eventually slot machine makers saw the potential for this new technology and incorporated them into the video slot machines we see today.

So in irony, the slot machines started the idea for poker machines, but poker machines started the “video” craze we see today in our slots and poker game.

Introduction of Draw Poker Machine Changes Video Poker History

In 1979 the IGT Company introduced their newly created “Draw Poker” machines changing history. This was the beginning of video poker as we know it today.

Becoming hugely popular and rubbing off into the video slot arena. Most likely this was due to players having more control over the deal.

Suddenly these video machines became highly popular and more trusted than any other games before. All through the 1980’s video poker and video slot machines grew by leaps and bounds. Both in land based casinos and eventually online. Today video poker has become one of the most popular games played in online casinos.

Microgaming Advances

In 1999, Microgaming introduced their brand of video poker games with numerous different versions. This provided players more ways to play, including multi player hands and coin bets. This helped video poker gaming just as big as its one time rival the online slot machines.

Video Poker Millions

Nowadays Video Poker is a million dollar business online and in land based casinos. When you walk into a local casino you will see hundreds of video poker machines. Often casinos will dedicate entire sections of gaming space to video poker machines. Many will have people happily playing and excitedly winning.

Some of these machines may include blackjack games, deuces wild games, joker’s wild games and the favorite jacks or better games, and all of these styles of games are included in all online casinos with much, much more to choose from!

Video Poker History Conclusion

While the history is shorter then that of slots it is just as exciting. Many software vendors are innovating their game suites and there may be more changes in video poker. Only time will tell if more variants will be released or even more changes are coming. Regardless the popularity of playing video poker online will certainly continue to increase.

So if you haven’t visited an online casino in awhile and you love to play poker, make sure to check out the line up of video poker games you have to choose from these days, you will be amazed! Happy Gaming!


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