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Video Poker: A Short History
The 1970s was a big decade for technology. It was the new age of the microprocessor, a tiny little CPU that changed the way the world worked. As these devices started infiltrating everyday life, it completely revolutionised the capabilities of modern machinery. Casinos weren’t about to miss out, particularly when there was money to be made. More foot traffic for casinos meant more cash in the casino’s coffers.
The microprocessor made Video Poker possible, and it fast became a popular alternative to the traditional table version. In some ways, casino patrons were simply enthralled by the novelties of a new computerised system. All those bright and flashy lights were too exciting to miss out on. Much a like a new toy, many people just wanted to play Video Poker for the fun of it. But for more committed gamblers, there was a larger and more sober reason: cold-hard mathematics. Video poker simply gave you better odds than the slots if you knew what you were doing.
The game is essentially an electronic version of five-card draw poker. It’s a hybrid - sitting halfway between the slot reels and the poker tables. Rather than dealing physical cards, Video Poker is all about arriving at optimal combinations based on random-number generated card values. Players bet between 1 and 5 coins. The machine then deals five on-screen cards, some of which are held and others discarded. The machine will pay on the final hand based on its ultimate combination.
Video poker tends to appeal to those who love poker in principle but who dislike all that one-upmanship that tends to accompany community poker games. Games like Texas Hold’em call for a certain level of social deception – you’ve got to know how to bluff your way to victory every now and then.
Not everyone likes wheeling and dealing, some just want to play the odds and push the buttons.