Casino & Betting Expert

Never Heard Origins of Online Video Poker

There is a long history to video poker machines, from drum-based machines in the 1890s to more advanced draw poker machines in the 1900s. Every predecessor made a valiant step to what we would call the first video poker machine.


Jump to 1970. The world’s first video poker machine, the “Poker-Matic” by Dale Electronics. While the Poker-Matic did not take off as much as Dale Electronics would have hoped, it was used widely throughout America and laid an important foundation for future video poker games to follow and follow they did.


This is where video poker really started to shine. William “Si” Redd, now commonly known as the king of slots, after some trail and rejection with the company he worked for at the time, Si managed to strike a deal with Fortune coin company, in this deal Si’s new company SIRCOMA would be formed. SIRCOMA would be the pioneers who would push video poker to the front of the market. While growth was slow in the beginning, after some alterations to the game video poker quickly took off, becoming the most installed machine in casinos by 1981.

The Rise Of Video Poker Popularity

There are several factors that can be contributed to the polarity increase of video poker. Most notably was intimidation in a casino, not unlike today’s online casinos, video poker provided an easier way to get into the game without the intimidation of a real table.

Less stress meant a more enjoyable game and likely better decisions on the players behalf. While there were those who did not trust the electronic game and preferred physical interaction, the number of people who came to trust and use video poker machines quickly rose and surpassed the popularity of similar based slot machines.

Interesting Facts To Note

  • The first truly interactive poker machine was the “skill draw” poker machine, created in 1901 by Charles Fey. With the Skill draw poker machine players would have the opportunity to hold one or more cards and re-spin, allowing the player to potentially improve their hand
  • As initial poker machines only had five drums containing 10 cards a piece, they were two cards short of a standard full deck. The most common excluded cards at the time were the ten of spades and jack of hearts. While most players were not aware of this at the time, it would in-fact half the chances of getting a royal flush as it was not possible to get a royal flush in spades or hearts.
  • Without modern technology, calculating the house edge was not as simple a task as it is today. The task would involve hiring teams of people, often in the dozens to sit and play the video poker machine for weeks at a time, recording the outcome of every game. This would in turn allow management to calculate a house edge to supply to prospective casinos. While not the most efficient method of calculating the house edge, it was good enough for the casinos to install the machines.