The gambling games of slots and poker have both been around for a very long time, although up until quite recently, they have completely separate histories. Few people know that the very first slot machine used a deck of cards on the reels, and paid out based upon players hitting various poker hands.
So this machine even preceded what we would normally consider to be a slot machine, although it didn’t last very long and very soon after it was released, it was replaced by the three reel machine we think of as an example of old time slot machines, matching symbols in a row.
Slots have been extremely popular over the years, much more so than poker, although poker has been fairly popular for a very long time as well. Once technology started allowing for video slot machines to take over from more mechanical ones, the potential arose to align these slots with the game of poker, and video poker was born.
Video slots have been around in some form since the mid 1970s, although it wasn’t until 1979 that video poker was born, with the coming of the video based Draw Poker. Soon, these Draw Poker machines started showing up in bars and casinos, and in fact video poker has to a large degree led the way with the emergence of video gambling machines in general.
Video poker actually introduced many casino players to the video format of gambling machines, as at this time most of the slots weren’t video based, but the video version of poker was the only way to play it, and it was new, and it really did catch on fast.
Nowadays, while gambling machines have all gone the video route, and traditional slots remains by far the king of casino gaming, both live and online, video poker has really established itself as a strong contender and comprises a significant portion of a casino’s gameplay and revenue.
Poker On Demand
The game of poker in itself is one that players find quite enjoyable in general, due to the fact that poker does involve a certain amount of strategy anyway, as opposed to slots which just have the player basically sitting back and watching the action.
Video poker isn’t anywhere near as strategically rich as playing poker against human opponents, due to the fact that with video poker there is only a single bet, and therefore there isn’t anywhere near as much strategy involved, but video poker is still poker in a real sense.
Draw poker remains the poker format of choice with video poker machines, and although it’s certainly possible to integrate other poker game types, you don‘t really see that yet very much, perhaps because it’s felt that too much prior knowledge would be needed, for instance if a form of casino hold’em were used.
Casinos do tend to offer casino hold’em, but at a table, players can get whatever assistance they need, where with a video machine they are off on their own.
With video poker though, the big appeal is that players can play poker, and as much of it as they desire, just by sitting down in front of a machine. This is something many players relish, and is the single biggest reason why slots are so popular at casinos, you just serve yourself anytime you want and for as long as you want.
Playing Video Poker
Video poker is exactly like playing draw poker. You are dealt a hand, and you get to choose which cards you wish to keep and which ones you want to discard. Then you are dealt new cards to replace your discards, which results in your final hand.
Rather than needing a better hand than your opponents, as is normally the case with poker, with video poker you get paid out certain amounts depending on the strength of your hand. Generally this starts with a pair of jacks, which usually pays out even money, with stronger hands yielding a profit to the player.
Hands less than a pair of jacks don’t get paid. The bigger the hand you hit, the bigger the payout, with a royal flush representing the biggest payout since it is the most difficult hand to get in draw poker.
While it certainly helps to have at least a basic knowledge of poker, it isn’t really that important, as the pay tables are provided, so even if you didn’t know that three of a kind is a better hand than two pair for instance, that information is provided to you.
This makes the game of video poker completely accessible to everyone, where to sit down at a normal game of poker, it would require at least some knowledge and skill, especially if you are going up against other players.
In order to add more excitement and variety, some video poker machines offer wild cards such as the joker or deuces, which allow the hitting of bigger hands to be more likely, although this is accounted for in the pay tables of course. Operators also use various bonuses for the biggest hands to attract more patrons and have them stand out a bit more.
Overall, video poker is a very popular game and one that many people really enjoy playing.