A longstanding and hugely popular casino gambling option that has endured the test of time is the video poker machines. However, a lot of evolution has happened during its existence. By which we, of course, are going to have a closer look at its own subject, a brief history of video poker. Plus, what has kept his early pioneering product lining the casino floor, both on land-based establishments as well as in an online setting. Also, we will discuss some strategies for you to implement in your sessions, no matter your level of previous experience. So, join us as we re-reveal and bring forward into the light a fan favorite that keeps on surprising the industry. But also, it might be some small important attribute that even you, as the experienced video poker player, might have overlooked?
A brief origin tale of video poker
It’s widely accepted that video poker machine or poker slots, if you prefer, originates from 1891 via a Brooklyn, New York, based company. And according to surviving specifications and blueprints, the first video poker machine had relatively simple mechanics. The information says that the 1891 version had 5 rotating “drums” or reels. And on those reels, 10 regular playing cards were attached. After inserting the requested coin size, the drum spun and stopped to reveal a 5 card hand. Simple but highly popular. However, the step into a more “modern” release came in 1898, from the father of slot machines, Charles Fey. When he created his version, called Card Bell, which featured an automatic payout, the first of its kind. Although, also a Mr. Fey creation from 1901 is the first known machine, Skill Draw, that featured the now associated “hold” function.
From crude mechanics to finely tuned machines
It might sound like ancient times. But the first real evidence of a modern video poker slot was in the early 70s and got Poker-Matic’s name. That was a product from a 3rd party provider to Bally Gaming, namely, Dale Electronics, and the brainchild of William Redd, more known as “Si Redd”. Yet, modernization took some time to gain popularity, in fact. And it was not until about 10 years later, in 1981, the option was by far the most requested machine by all land-based casinos in the US. And to make a long story short. After its success in the early 80s, Mr. Redd went public with the company and changed its name to International Gaming Technology. Yes, that same IGT that we know today as one of the biggest gaming entities in the industry by any measure.
We couldn’t, with accuracy, guess all the released versions of video poker. Though, we are most definitely looking at well over 100 different versions and take on the never-failing product, video poker. Still, some are better than others. So, why so many versions of the option? Well, it’s pretty simple math; usually, the edge on these games is exceptionally bad, for the house, that is. And it’s not rare; in fact, most experienced players expect the return to player (RTP) to land between 97% to 99%. As such, they are making up the low house edge by the number of machines instead. Plus, player participation relies on having a good time as well in theme and special features. But as said, some released versions still entice and keep players coming back for more in the US player demographics. So let’s check them out in no particular order.
Jacks or Better
We did say in no particular order. Still, Jacks or Better is by far the most popular video poker option; why? As the name implies, get a pair of jacks or better to win. And that’s why it’s still immensely widespread, the simplicity and usually clear paytable overview. Moreover, this type of game normally boasts some of the industry’s highest RTP.
It is another classic 5 cards dealt from a 52 deck of cards. Where the player naturally can hold the wanted cards for the re-deal. Additionally, any 2’s or “deuces” are wild and can as such substitute any card to form a winning hand.
Double Bonus Poker
Technically, there is little difference between Double Bonus Poker and Jacks or Better. Basically, the payouts on the lower 2-pairs, for instance, are shrunk. And made room for a broader approach of 4-of-a-kind. In essence, Double Bonus Poker separates the options and payouts. To explain, different payouts on higher valued cards or face cards in Double Bonus Poker. While Jacks or Better statically awards 4-of-a-kind, does it make sense?
Can you apply a strategy in video poker?
Even if video poker operates on a random number generator or RNG, there are some quick tips and strategies to deploy while playing the games.
Always max bet
Video poker is the only product we promote to max betting on. And it’s simple if we are not considering Blackjack, this product is by far the best return to player (RTP) machine you will find on the casino floor as well online. But, make sure you find an operator that houses the low-stakes max bet versions or a range that suits your bankroll. Yet, with some quick research, we are quite sure you will find a video poker option that has all your must-have criteria. After all, there is an ocean of options out there to pick from.
Check the RTP
Always be loyal to the RTP and not the operator. What do we mean by that? You will stumble upon the same version in both names and “special” features. As such, pick the operator that has the best paying RTP version, simple as that.
It might be obvious, but take your time, so you really hold and discard the cards you intended to either throw or hold. As, after a while, you could develop sudden blindness. No, not in a literal way, but what some players end up suffering from is not seeing all the available combinations. So slow down and think before you press “draw” for the re-deal.