The Evolution of Video Poker
By: David Olsen
Video poker has been around for over 30 years. It started out when casinos noticed that many people liked to play cards but were too scared to actually sit down at a poker table. Video poker allowed these players to play poker without having to look their opponents in the eye. With the explosion of online casinos Video Poker’s popularity grew exponentially. This growth in turn led to the development of new versions of video poker. Here we’ll take a look at some of the more important developments in the video poker world.
1. Multi Hand Video Poker
Multi Hand Video Poker is like “normal” video poker on steroids. As its name implies, you’re playing more then one hand at a time. Common variations include Jacks or Better (of course), 10’s Or Better, Deuces Wild and more. The Games come in 4, 10, 50, and even 100 hand versions. Multi hand video poker is an exciting twist on standard single hand video poker. Today, most online casinos have at least one multi-hand version.
2. Power Poker
Power Poker is Microgaming’s version of Multi-Hand Video Poker and is probably the most popular multi-hand version on the web. Currently there are 11 different Power Poker Games in 4, 10 and 50 hand versions. Playing Power Poker is like playing the single hand version of the game. You start with the same 5 cards in each hand. You then select the card(s) you wish to hold. The remaining cards are discarded and new cards replace the discarded ones. Winning hands are determined by a redefined payout schedule.
3. Progressive Video Poker
Progressive Video Poker is yet another exciting variation of good old video poker. Progressive Video poker follows the same rules as a non-progressive version of the same game. The difference is in the payout of the royal flush. Often times, progressive jackpots build through multiple casinos, so potentially the pot can be huge. When playing a Progressive machine, it’s crucial to play the max coins on every play, that’s the only way to win the jackpot.
4. Online Poker Rooms
Online Poker is not technically a video poker; however, since there are obvious similarities between the two, I felt a brief overview should be included here. In video poker you are playing against a machine, winning and losing hands are determined by a static payout schedule. However, when you’re playing online poker, you are playing against real people. There is no predetermined payout schedule, you can win as much as your opponents are willing to wager on each hand. Also, and more importantly, Online poker allows you to bluff, meaning in theory, if you’re a good enough bluffer, you can have the worst hand at the table but still win, if you’ve been able to convince your opponents to fold. This is the main reason for the huge popularity in online poker.
Lastly, as you can see, video poker continues to evolve. What started out as a game for would-be poker players who were too intimidated to sit down at a real table, has, with the advent of Online Poker, come full circle. Today a poker player can sit down at a virtual table with players from around the world. Amazing.