Edit: Sigma Gaming also had several off-paytable versions by the mid 80's... of these Deuces 1/2/4/4/4/8/16/25/160/800 was my fave.
I started playing video poker a few years ago when a bunch of different variants were already out, but can some old timers fill me in on how the evolution of video poker can to be? When did Tito take over coin droppers? When did the first deuces wild machine come out? What is the story about multi-play?
djatc, this comes from memory. I can't remember the source(s). I think it is composite information that I read at one time or another.
The psuedo-random number generator was not developed so we could all play video poker. It started at the Manhattan Project during WWII, when the race was on to explode a nuclear device. In order to make the explosion nuclear physicists had to make sub-atomic particles collide. Nuclear particles travel at random but do not naturally run into each other. The physicists needed to know what random looked like on paper. So they created a giant roulette wheel and paid people to spin it and record the results. This was a very cumbersome method but it worked.
Move on to the computer age and physicists looked for ways to get computers to create random numbers. It took a couple of decades to perfect the P-RNG, if it can be perfect.
Now move on to the seventies and a creative programmer for Bally's came up with the brilliant idea of applying the P-RNG to a deck of cards. A little solid state circuitry and a monitor and....voila! the game called video poker was born. Nevada Gaming had to do their own homework in order to approve the game. It had to fit their definition of gambling which is chance, consideration and remumeration.
Once Gaming approved the devices the first were placed in Sam's Town about 1978, give or take a year or two. The first payscale was:
The game was a big hit at first as people lined up to get a chance to play it. But then the game fizzled out. With that payscale the money was drying up to fast on the players. Then someone came up with the idea to make it Jacks or Better to improve the payback.
In the late seventies the casinos were pretty much all table games with a few slots. One faction of Bally's didn't believe the game would ever make that much money. The Si Redd faction did. So they broke off from Bally's and created their own company that has gone under various names but goes by the name International Gaming Technology today. In one of the biggest blunders in the Gaming business Bally's signed a 20 year non-compete clause.
Video poker took off like a rocket. To the point that it represents over 30% of a casinos earn, the biggest earning game in the casino. According to Lenny Frome the first games were FP Jacks and Deuces Wild. Sometime in the late eighties Bonus Poker was born. Nowadays, we probably have close to 300 different games/payscales.
I welcome all corrections/additions to this story.
What is the story about multi-play?
Ernie Moody invented multi-play. In the link the first half of the article is about Bob Dancer. The second half is about Ernie Moody and how he came up with the concept of multi-play.
Video poker took off like a rocket. To the point that it represents over 30% of a casinos earn, the biggest earning game in the casino.
At least that's the way it used to be. I've been in Montana over seven years and have been out of the loop as to what kind of equipment dominates casino floors in other locations. But I went to Deadwood last year. Video line games dominated the town. Video poker probably represented less than 20% of the machines on the casino floors.
A couple of years ago I went over to Idaho and Eastern Washington to survey things out. It was the same thing there. Video line games dominated. One casino I visited on the Spokane River was filled with video line games. Not one video poker on the floor.
Is this the trend in other areas of the country?
I live in Washington and we don't really have standard video poker. Only tribal casinos have machines and they are all Class II. That is probably why you didn't see one in WA. I know there are ways to simulate VP with the lottery drawing but I am pretty sure the Tulalip casino doesn't have any and it is one of the biggest in the state.
VP still seems pretty big in Vegas although I would be surprised if it were 30%.
I doubt you would find even 15% on the strip.