The Fascinating Evolution of Video Poker

min read
Person playing video slot in the casino
BetMGM Dec 04, 2023, 2:56 AM

Fact.MR has reported that, as of 2023, the global video poker machines market is valued at US$ 21.61 billion. There’s no denying that this poker variant is extremely sought after among fans of this game of skill. But have you ever wondered about video poker history and how it came to be the gambling go-to that it is today?

Read on to take a journey through the fascinating evolution of this online casino game. Trace its roots from the early days to the advanced online video poker that graces modern screens today and discover how it compares to other poker variants and certain ever-popular online slots.

What Is Video Poker?

Video poker is a mixture of traditional poker and cutting-edge technology. It’s a digital adaptation of the classic five-card draw poker in which players are dealt a virtual hand on a screen. 

Wondering how to play video poker and win? The aim is simple: create the best possible poker hand by strategically choosing which cards to keep and which to discard. Unlike live poker games, video poker is a solitary game, pitting players against the machine rather than fellow competitors.

Early Days: The Birth of Video Poker

Video poker made its debut in the 1970s. The early days were characterized by the emergence of rudimentary machines that bore a striking resemblance to television screens. These machines, although basic by today’s standards, laid the foundation for a revolution in the way people experienced poker in a casino setting.

From the start, the core concept of video poker has been to provide players with a digitized version of the classic five-card draw poker. Initially, the gameplay was simple yet revolutionary: players would receive a virtual hand of five cards on the screen, mimicking the traditional poker experience. This departure from physical cards and human dealers marked a shift toward automation and electronic gaming.

As video poker machines became a common sight on casino floors, they opened the door for subsequent developments in technology, leading to the introduction of more sophisticated digital versions, diverse variants, and enhanced features.

Video Poker Development and Variants

As technology advanced, so did the complexity and variety of video poker games. These were some of the major developments: 

  • One of the earliest and most enduring variants has been Jacks or Better, a straightforward version in which players aim to get a hand with at least a pair of Jacks to win.
  • Then there was the introduction of Deuces Wild, which presented a wild card — the Deuce (2), which could substitute for any other card to form a winning hand. This added an exciting twist to the gameplay, requiring players to adjust their strategy to accommodate the presence of this card.
  • Double Bonus Poker and Double Double Bonus Poker further expanded the landscape by offering additional bonus payouts for specific hands.
  • Progressive jackpot video poker games took the excitement to a new level by offering a growing jackpot that accumulates over time. Players have the chance to win a substantial jackpot if they hit a rare and coveted hand.

Video Poker vs Cash Games vs Tournaments

Video poker stands apart from both traditional poker cash games and tournaments in several respects. Unlike the strategic depth and psychological battle of live poker, video poker is a solitary experience. There are no opponents to outwit — it’s just you against the machine. This makes video poker a more relaxed and casual option for those looking to enjoy poker without the pressure of a competitive environment.

What Type of Gambler Enjoys Online Video Poker?

Video poker tends to appeal to players who appreciate a mix of skill and luck but prefer a more straightforward, less complex gaming experience while being allowed to play at their own pace. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking the thrill of poker without the social dynamics of live games.

Is It Easy To Win at Video Poker?

Keen to play video poker and win? Many believe it’s one of those online casino games with better odds, making it easier to win. So, what exactly are the odds in video poker? In general, video poker games typically offer high RTP percentages compared to many other casino games, including online slots. When played with optimal strategy, a common variant like Jacks or Better can have an RTP of around 99.54%. This means that, theoretically, for every $100 wagered, you can expect to receive $99.54 back in the long term. 

The odds of achieving specific hands in video poker also play a crucial role in determining overall success. For example, the chances of getting a Royal Flush — the highest-ranking hand — are relatively low. In fact, it’s a rare occurrence. On the other hand, getting a pair of Jacks or better is more common, but the payout is lower.

Video Poker and Online Slots

Wondering about the difference between video poker and online slots? Despite some similarities, video poker and online slots are very different. While both rely on electronic interfaces, video poker requires strategy and decision-making since players have to choose which cards to keep or discard. Online slots, on the other hand, are entirely based on luck. 

Play Video Poker Online at BetMGM

Do you love to play poker online and are looking for a reputable poker platform? Choose BetMGM. Known for its ever-expanding range of online casino games, BetMGM offers a choice between video poker, cash games, and various poker tournaments. You can also try your luck with online slots, jackpot slots, variety games, live dealer casino games, and plenty of classic casino table games.

Register now to explore the full range of offerings.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.