Poker Anywhere, Anytime

5 months ago
Poker Anywhere, Anytime
09 Sep

When Doyle Brunson won the World Series of Poker Main Event back in 1976, the game may have been a favourite pastime among families, but it was still an underground, frowned-upon occupation at professional level.

Fast-forward almost half a century and Texas Dolly is still playing, but the game has been transformed beyond recognition: tours in every corner of the world; tournaments televised and livestreamed to millions; coaching, staking and thousands of websites dedicated to the game.

The poker landscape may have changed enormously, but there has been one version that has been present throughout the game’s long history – video poker.

While Doyle Brunson was winning the first of his brace of Main Event titles, a man named William Si Redd was making his name in Nevada too, building up his International Game Technology company.

Alongside the millions of slot machines he produced and sold, video poker became a staple – twice the play for the same money as traditional slot machines – Redd himself surprised, explaining in an interview:

“I never could have dreamed of how successful the video poker machine would become.”

As traditional poker has evolved from a ‘smoky backroom game’ to a modern, often tech-oriented pursuit, video poker has seen similar changes.

The slots of the 70s may not look too dissimilar to those today, but even Redd couldn’t have expected the rise of the internet, mobile phones and tablets – video poker now a ubiquitous part of every online gaming offering.

And naturally, the basic version has spawned dozens of variants, Redd’s initial Draw Poker now the granddaddy – as Doyle Brunson is also called – of most of today’s video poker variants.

For those who think it’s just a random ‘luck’ version of the real poker game (which involves ‘luck’ as well), you might be surprised at how sophisticated the strategies are for winning at video poker.

With machines designed to pay out at close to 100% in many cases, even the briefest of tutorials can help turn you into a winning player, and a quick search online offers plenty of help.

If you are a poker player who is thinking - ‘Meh, why bother, I have the ‘real game’ - then you might be  interested to know that last summer’s WSOP saw poker pro Bart Hanson winning $200,000 – at video poker!

Who knows where poker will be another half-century from now as technology advances, but you can be absolutely certain the video version will be right there with it.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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