Video Poker originally came about in the mid 1970s, as that was the first time in history that it was commercially viable to pair a monitor with a central processing unit. The first Video Poker games were extremely basic, and severely resembled the flashy games seen in the casinos of today. The first video poker game that was released was "Draw Poker" in 1979, which was produced by International Game Technology. "Draw Poker" was the big game through the early 1980's, and players started becoming very fond of Video Poker machines because they were simple and much less intimidating than the more complicated table games like Craps or Blackjack.
Present day Video Poker games come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The most common game, Jacks or Better, has been around for over 20 years and continues to remain a player favorite.
Jacks or Better is played just like the original "Draw Poker" game. The player receives five face up cards, and which which of those five cards he / she would like to hold, and which he / she would like to discard for new cards. After you've selected which cards to hold, click "Draw" to receive your new cards. If your final hand is a pair of Jacks or better you receive a payout that varies in size depending on the hand and the pay table used at the specific Jacks or Better machine.
That brings us to our next point in this article: pay tables actually vary from machine to machine, even if both machines are running the same game. Jacks or Better, for example, is offered with over five different pay tables ranging from full pay (the best for the player) to low pay (the best for the casino). If you're going to play video poker, you should research the corresponding pay tables for the machine you're playing to make sure it is offering the best odds possible. Full pay Jacks or Better pays out a maximum of 99.54%, while some of the low pay installments pay back as little as 95%.
Another fact to note about Video Poker games is that some games actually have twists on them such as wild cards, progressive jackpots, or bonus rounds. Wild card games like Deuces Wild design a certain card (in this case, twos) as wild, and they can be used as any card in the deck to improve your hand. Progressive video poker games have progressive jackpots that are won by the first player to hit a Royal Flush. Bonus games offer players the opportunity to double their winnings every time they have a payout by picking a card that has to be higher than another card.
Overall, video poker has really developed and matured over the last thirty years since its inception.