The Colorful History of Video Poker
Video poker is a combination of poker and slots, and of skill and luck. Video poker integrates the rules of 5-card draw poker with the sheer luck of the slot machine. Many people don't know the history of video poker, a game that first appeared in the late 19th century.
The game of poker first appeared in the 1830s and was thought to be introduced by French immigrants in Louisiana. Video poker first appeared in its rudiment form in the 1890s in San Francisco. The first video poker machines were actually coin-operated card machines with reels of cards rather than the symbols used in slot machines.
At first, the card machines were popular among gamblers who like the mixture of skill and luck in a game. However, the Great Depression of the early 20th century and the ensuing financial difficulties added with the obvious lack of technological advancements condemned the primitive card machines to the museum. A small breakthrough came with the introduction of an electronic poker machine in the 1960s but it didn't catch on.
By the 1970s, advancements in computer and electronic technology made the mass production of video poker machines possible. Poker machines were equipped with a Central Processing Unit (CPU) that controls the action while a video monitor displayed the outcome of the game. The result is the video poker machine. Cheaper and more powerful computer chips gave rise to better and more intelligent video poker machines.
The first video poker machine using computer technology was made by Bally Manufacturing in 1976, but it used a black and white monitor. The Fortune Coin Company came out with a color version eight months later. Casino operators became interested in the potentials of the video poker machines and incorporated them into their traditional offerings of games.
By the 1980s, video poker machines achieved widespread popularity in casinos all over Las Vegas. The most popular models of video poker machines were made by slot machine manufacturer IGT. More and more gamblers played in video poker machines, attracted to the better odds of winning and the less intimidating way to gamble.
Throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries, video poker achieved a degree of sophistication and advancement, as technology improves and the Internet became widely available. Virtual video poker machines can now be found in many online casinos, joining the more established casino games in making the transition to the virtual world of the Internet.