Over the past few years, thanks in large part to televised tournaments, Texas hold ‘em poker has become the go to game for poker players, but old school players, like myself, still love the 5 card draw poker game. It seems we are not alone given the immense popularity of video poker machines, all of which are based on the 5 card draw game.
The machines first appeared in the 1970’s; around the same time that PC’s started making it into people’s homes. Much like those early computers, the first poker machines were clumsy and primitive, but that all changed in the 80’s, when arcade video games exploded on the scene.
Video poker is a pretty straightforward game and doesn’t really require the player to be a poker expert. The game starts with 5 cards being dealt, and the player is then given the opportunity to hold or discard all of the cards. All discarded cards are replaced by another set of cards, and from there the player is either a winner or loser. The pay tables are based on the probability of a winning hand with a simple pair being the lowest payout, and a royal flush the highest.
What distinguishes video poker from other machines such as slots is that the hands are completely random and cannot be preprogrammed like the slots. For this reason, there is no “loose” video poker machine like video slots. There are now a number of different video poker games in the casino, from low-wage machines to double bonus machines and even some progressive jackpot poker machines that pay out the jackpot when a player hits the royal flush.
Probably the two most popular games are Jacks or Better, with the lowest payout being a pair of jacks and Deuces Wild, where all 2 cards are considered wild.