Video Poker is a special version of a slot machine. They were first introduced in the 1970’s when TV tube technology and computer chips teamed up to make a graphic presentation possible.
The advantages of video poker are that the house edge is usually fairly low, skill is involved in maximizing the payouts, and there is no need to interact with other people, like a dealer or fellow players.
The rules of video poker are simple: Like regular slot machines, video poker machines have a place for inserting coins or establishing credit (via a swipe of a card), and they have a “handle,” which is often just a large button. Like slot machines, video poker machines have a visual display, which presents the game and tells the gamer if he or she has won or lost.
The machine displays 5 cards, and the player decides which cards, if any, to “hold” and then draw for replacements of the others. The immediate objective is to make one of the winning hands listed on the machine itself. The ultimate objective is to win the top prize.
Also, like conventional slot machines, video poker machines have a jackpot prize. The machine can be “progressive,” meaning that the jackpot accumulates until some lucky player wins it, or it can be a “flat top,” where the top prize is a fixed amount and does not change with the amount of play between hits. Progressive machines are usually found in groups or clusters, where several machines may be linked to the same jackpot.
Why, then, is video poker considered separately from conventional slot machines? The important difference is this: In video poker, between one push of the button to play and the next push of the button to play, there is a moment when the gamer has to make a decision. The decision is whether to hold any cards for the draw, and if so, how many. How much the machine pays out to the gamer depends on that decision. As a result, how much the gamer wins (or loses) depends upon the skill with which that one decision is taken.
There are such people as professional video game machine players. They have a relatively large bankroll that they put into action on video poker machines, and, by skillfully pushing the buttons for the draw, earn enough money to say that it’s a living.
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