As college basketball fans get primed for March Madness, video poker enthusiasts can look forward to the 2009 Video Poker Madness Contest, set to begin March 8.
The contest is being held by videopoker.com, the Internet’s top video poker site, which is owned and operated by Las Vegas-based Action Gaming, the premiere innovator in the realm of video poker.
Prizes include a dream vacation to Las Vegas, including airfare for two or a $1,000 gas card, five nights at a luxury condominium at the MGM Signature Tower and $500 in spending money.
The contest is free to anyone 21 and older, players can enter as often as they like and there are no software downloads required.
Like the NCAA basketball tournament, the contest format features bracketed play. Entrants can play in any or all of the four different brackets, each one consisting of a different video poker game. The four games include, "Super Times Pay Poker," "Ultimate X Poker," "Quick Quads Poker" and "Good Times Pay Poker."
Contestants will be allowed to play 200 hands of the game they choose as many times as they like. Final scores are submitted, displayed and ranked against all participants during a one week qualifying period.
The top 16 scores in each of the four game brackets will then be ranked, and players will compete against one another until a final champion is crowned on April 6 – the same day as the NCAA basketball championship game.
"We think this is a great way for people to get involved with video poker," said Mike Fields of Action Gaming. "They can try out the new games and practice without spending any money."
Fields added that the Video Poker Madness Contest is offered in addition to the monthly contests hosted on videopoker.com.
"We’ve had a lot of response to the contests and probably gained a lot of converts from slots to video poker," he said.
Indeed, videopoker.com has quickly become a focal point for video poker players. There are nearly 140,000 members (it’s free to register), who learn how to play the various video poker games without wagering any money.
At the same time, they get a first-hand taste of Action Gaming’s latest offerings. Action Gaming, founded in 1997 by legendary video poker pioneer Ernie Moody, is one of the industry’s most innovative creators and is responsible for most of the advancements in video poker.
As noted, the company was founded in 1997 by an inventor named Ernie Moody who had an idea about video poker games while playing cards at his coffee table in Colorado. His idea involved dealing and playing more than one hand of cards at a time.
After dealing a few hands of video poker, you would review and select cards from the bottom hand. The other hands would be face down. Cards you liked in the first hand would be duplicated in the other hands and then using a unique deck of cards for each hand, you would draw and complete all hands. All hands would be played simultaneously so if you started with three of a kind in the bottom hand, it would be duplicated into the other hands giving you a lot more chances of getting one or more four of a kinds. This added a level of excitement and anticipation never seen before in traditional video poker.
Moody’s invention was coolly received by the gaming manufacturers. In many cases, it was flat out rejected. Undeterred, Moody persevered. Eventually, International Game Technology (IGT) licensed his multi-hand poker invention. Thus Triple Play Poker was born and the video poker industry changed forever.
Triple Play was introduced to casinos in 1997 and players lined up to play the game. The casinos could not keep enough of them on the floor and IGT had to race to keep up with demand.
"The game blew the lid off of all of our projections," said Moody, who formed Action Gaming, Inc. to extend the product line. "Triple Play had tremendous play appeal and generated instant acceptance from video poker players all over Nevada. Players liked the fact that when they were dealt a big hand like a Royal Flush, they got paid three times as much as on the older, single-hand video poker games. Many players have told me that after playing Triple Play, they can never go back to playing regular video poker."
On the heels of Moody’s successes, IGT in 2001 put together a Video Poker Business Development group to concentrate resources squarely on the video poker product. "The fact that IGT is focusing on video poker is a powerful message for the marketplace," says John Daley, manager of the group.
Today, working together with its exclusive manufacturing and distribution partner IGT, Action Gaming has brought dozens of video poker games to market with more than 17,000 games in the field at any given time across North America. Some of its most popular games include Triple Play Draw Poker, Five Play Draw Poker, Spin Poker, Hundred Play Draw Poker, Super Times Pay Poker and Five Play Multi-Strike Poker. For a complete list, please visit the company’s web site, videopoker.com, where guests are invited to try out the games free of charge.