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poker is a casino game based on five-card draw
poker. It is played on a computerized console
similar in size to a slot machine.
poker first became commercially viable when it
became economical to combine a television-like
monitor with a solid state central processing
unit. The earliest models appeared at the same
time as the first personal computers were produced,
in the mid-1970s, although they were primitive
by today's standards.
Video poker became more firmly established when
SIRCOMA, which stood for Si Redd's Coin Machines,
and which evolved over time to become International
Game Technology, introduced Draw Poker in 1979.
Throughout the 1980s, video poker became increasingly
popular in casinos, as people found the devices
less intimidating than playing table games. Today
video poker enjoys a prominent place on the gaming
floors of many casinos. The game is especially
popular with Las Vegas locals, who tend to patronize
locals casinos off the Las Vegas Strip. These
local casinos often offer lower denomination machines
or better odds, although this was more common
in the 1990s as casinos across the country have
recently been cutting their paytables and/or only
offering 25 cent machines or higher.
play begins by placing a bet of one or more credits,
by inserting money (or in newer machines, a barcoded
paper ticket with credit) into the machine, and
then pressing a "Deal" button to draw
cards. The player is then given an opportunity
to keep or discard one or more of the cards in
exchange for a new card drawn from the same virtual
deck. After the draw, the machine evaluates the
hand and offers a payout if the hand matches one
of the winning hands in the posted pay schedule.
On a typical video poker machine, payouts start
with a minimum hand of a pair of jacks. Pay tables
allocate the payout for hands based partially
upon how rare they are, and also based upon the
total theoretical return the game operator chooses
Some machines offer progressive jackpots for the
royal flush, (and sometimes for other rare hands
as well), thereby spurring players to both play
more coins and to play more frequently.
poker machines operated in state-regulated jurisdictions
are programmed to deal random card sequences.
A series of cards is generated for each play;
five dealt straight to the hand, the other five
dealt in order if requested by player. This is
based upon a Nevada regulation, adopted by most
other states with a gaming authority, which requires
dice and cards used in an electronic game to be
as random as the real thing, within computational
limits set by the gaming authority. Video poker
machines are tested to ensure compliance with
this requirement before they may be offered to
the public. Video poker games in Nevada are required
to simulate a 52 card deck (or a 53 card deck
if using a joker).
It is unclear whether all video poker machines
at Indian gaming establishments are subject to
the same Nevada-style regulations, as Indian casinos
are located on reservations that are sovereign
to the tribe which holds the gaming license.
Newer versions of the software no longer deal
out all 10 cards at once. They now deal out the
first five cards, and then when the draw button
is pressed, they generate a second set of cards
based on the remaining 47 cards in the deck. This
was done after players found a way to reverse
engineer a random number generator's cycle from
sample hands and were able to predict the hidden
cards in advance.
Kinds of video poker
video poker machines may employ variants of the
basic five-card draw. Typical variations include
Deuces Wild, where a two serves as a wild card
and a jackpot is paid for four deuces or a natural
royal; pay schedule modification, where four aces
with a five or smaller kicker pays an enhanced
amount (these games usually have some adjective
in the title such as "bonus", "double",
or "triple"); and multi-play poker,
where the player starts with a base hand of five
cards, and each additional played hand draws from
a different set of cards with the base hand removed.
(Multi-play games are offered in "Triple
Play", "Five Play", "Ten Play",
"Fifty Play" and even "One Hundred
In the non-wild games (games which do not have
a wild card) a player who plays five or six hundred
hands per hour, on average, may receive the rare
four-of-a-kind approximately once per hour, while
a player may play for many days or weeks before
receiving an extremely rare royal flush.
Full pay games
pay video poker machines are games which offer
the typical maximum payback percentage for that
game type. Payback percentage expresses the long-term
expected value of the player's wager as a percentage.
A payback percentage of 99 percent, for instance,
indicates that for each $100 wagered, in the long
run, the player would expect to lose $1. Payback
percentages on full-pay games are often close
to or even in excess of 100 percent, assuming
error-free perfect play.
Full-pay Jacks or Better, for example, offers
a payback percentage of 99.54 percent when played
with perfect strategy. It must be remembered that
winning the jackpot (royal flush) is also part
of the "long run" in every variant.
One should not play a "full pay" video
poker game expecting not to lose, because even
over many thousands of hands played, you are playing
a game that pays back less than 100%.
Casinos often place full pay machines alongside
other machines with pay schedules that offer less
attractive payback percentages, leaving it up
to the player to identify which video poker machines
offer full pay schedules.
Most full pay machines are configured with a pay
schedule that is only full pay when the maximum
number of credits is bet (Credit: