Since its introduction in the early 1980's, Video
Poker has grown into one of the casino's most popular
games. Unlike regular Poker, which is played against
other players at a poker table, Video Poker is played
individually on a machine that uses video technology
to create a Poker hand. Based on classic Five Card
Stud, Video Poker challenges players to build the best
possible five-card hand. The player is dealt five cards
and has the option of discarding any or all of the
cards. New cards are dealt to replace the discards.
Payoffs are based on a scale, paying players for hands
as low as a pair of tens or Jacks all the way up to a
Royal Flush. Like slot machines, Video Poker machines
are available in many denominations, with 25 cent and $1
machines being the most popular. Many casinos also
offer progressive payoffs or bonuses for Royal Flushes
or other special hands. Video Poker provides variety
too, with versions ranging from Jacks Or Better to
Deuces Wild and Jokers Wild.
Video poker first became commercially viable when it became economical to combine a television-like monitor with a solid state central processing unit. The earliest models appeared at the same time as the first personal computers were produced, in the mid-1970s, although they were primitive by today's standards.
Video poker became more firmly established when SIRCOMA, which stood for Si Redd's Coin Machines, and which evolved over time to become International Game Technology, introduced Draw Poker in 1979. Throughout the 1980s, video poker became increasingly popular in casinos, as people found the devices less intimidating than playing table games. Today video poker enjoys a prominent place on the gaming floors of many casinos. The game is especially popular with Las Vegas locals, who tend to patronize locals casinos off the Las Vegas Strip. These local casinos often offer lower denomination machines or better odds, although this was more common in the 1990s as casinos across the country have recently been cutting their paytables and/or only offering 25 cent machines or higher.