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The Early Beginnings of Video Poker


Many players believed that the poker machines consisted of 52 cards, but only 50 cards were used. It wasn’t cheating, but it was necessary as the machine could only accommodate 50 cards. It was usually the jack of hearts and the 10 of spades that were removed, as this halved the chances of being dealt a royal flush.

Modern video poker is born

The 1970s were a strange time, where technology was slowly progressing, and having a personal computer was nothing but a pipe dream. The foundations of video poker as we know it today were laid by Si Redd, also known as William, although the concept was almost scrapped. 

William Redd’s design

Redd worked as a distributor for Bally, a huge name in the casino industry, and was responsible for many modifications that led us to enjoy the modern slot machine. His concept of electronic video poker was pitched to Bally executives, but it wasn’t well-received as they weren’t ready to progress in the gaming industry. They weren’t prepared to commit to a new type of game that the public hadn’t tested.  

Regardless, Redd was determined to bring his idea to fruition and eventually persuaded the executives to provide him with an exclusive patent for video poker. This proved to be a mistake for Bally, as Redd struck a deal with Fortune Coin Company to start his own firm, called Sircoma. The first machine was called Draw Poker and had two pairs as the lowest winning hand. 

After Sircoma went public and rebranded as IGT (International Game Technology), it went on to have success in producing video poker. Its Jacks or Better title remains one of the most popular games found at online casinos. You may well have already played it!

Growing popularity

Many players were intimidated by playing table games such as Blackjack and Texas Hold’em Poker, and by the late 1980s, video poker grew in popularity. This occurred around the same time that video slots came into existence, but video poker didn’t catch on because many people preferred games that had physical reels. 

Video poker today

Today IGT remains one of the largest producers of video poker games and has also branched out to virtual casinos, where you can play video poker online. The game can be enjoyed alongside online poker tournament events, live poker, and other variations of traditional poker. Video poker titles have been released with more special features, including multipliers, bonus games, and access to multiple hands in play per game.

There are hundreds of types of video poker these days, and there are plenty of rules and tactics that can be used for each one to enhance your odds of winning. Learning how to play is a lot easier than playing regular poker online or in a poker room, and sites including BetMGM offer guides to understanding different hand values and other aspects of this intriguing casino table game. 

Play video poker online with BetMGM

If you’d like to try your luck at video poker, then BetMGM has a decent selection of games in its catalog. Register and gain access to a wide selection of titles and live poker tournaments, with many different prizes up for grabs!



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