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Video Poker History and Regulation

Video poker is simply a digital version of 5-card draw poker played on a computerized monitor similar to a slot machine. The digital 5-card draw poker began with a TV-like screen using a solid state CPU, thus making it viable as a business or gambling machine. The early models of video poker appeared in the mid-1970s.

In 1979 SIRCOMA, Si Redd’s Coin Machines later International Game Technology, introduced Draw Poker establishing video poker. The popularity of video poker in casino skyrocketed during the 1980s, possibly because people found it less threatening than the table game. Currently, video poker is an established game in the halls of casinos everywhere. Casino patrons tend to flock to video poker, especially in the local casinos of Las Vegas. The machines currently in use at casino lounges usually offer 25 cent machines or higher.

Play starts by placing a wager, through a barcoded paper ticket, into the machine and hitting the “deal” button. The player then chooses to keep or discard any of the five cards he has drawn. New cards from the digital deck are dealt for all the player discarded cards. The player’s hand is evaluated against a paytable and paid accordingly based on the pay schedule. Usually, machine payout begins when a player has a pair of jacks. All hands better than a pair of jacks are rewarded, usually based on the rarity of the hand.

A number of machines offer hands with a royal flush a progressive jackpot, in some cases even other rare hands. The video poker jackpots are meant to entice players to play more coins and to play more hands.

Gaming equipments in states that have its operation regulated require that the software programs in the machine deal random card sequence. This is a Nevada regulation that has since been adopted by most other states that also has a gaming authority. The regulation states that an electronic game which requires dice and cards simulate the randomness or as close as possible to the real thing within the gaming authorities computational limit. Tests are required to ensure compliance of the gaming machine before the equipment is offered to the general public. Nevada video poker games are required to replicate a standard fifty-two card deck or fifty-three card deck with a joker.

There is no clear evidence that gaming machines at Native American casino establishments are under the same Nevada-style regulations. Since casinos in Native American reservations are sovereign to the Native American tribe that holds the gaming license.

The current version of the video poker software does not deal all ten cards immediately. The software now only deals the first five cards, after the draw button is hit, a second set of cards are drawn based on the remaining forty-seven cards on the deck. This was done after smart players were able to reverse engineer the cycle of the random number generator from the sample hands. They were then able to figure out the hidden cards in advance.

This article was written by Alexis.

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