The Advent of Mechanized Poker Technology

1971 introduced casino-goers to Dale Electronics’ “Poker-matic” machine. This automated draw poker “TV” game anticipated the eventual advent of video poker in modern casinos. Video poker, which made its mark on the casino scene in the early 80’s, has now become a staple of the casino industry.

Video poker can be traced, historically speaking, to the briefly popular coin operated card machines developed in New York in 1891. These early mechanical games (known as ‘drop card’ machines) offered the player 50 cards distributed on 5 dealing drums (the two cards missing from the complete deck were most often a jack and a ten of disparate suit whose omission reduced the odds of a Royal Flush by 50%). Player’s inserted coins to spin the drums and were dealt five card hands; winnings were usually paid off in alcohol, tobacco, or miscellaneous merchandise.

Drop-card games reached the height of popularity around WW1 before fading from the gambling scene until 1975 when the first held-hand video poker machine hit the market. Not until the 1980s did video poker technology advance to include draw poker and other games, assuring its swift assimilation into the greater gambling community.

The History of Poker: