Independent inventors and small companies have left their mark on video poker, usually by licensing their creations to larger companies — mainly IGT.
The multi-hand games that began with Triple Play Poker were devised by Ernie Moody at Action Gaming, then licensed to IGT. The same goes for IGT's Multi-Strike Poker, invented by Larry DeMar at his Leading Edge Design firm.
Timothy Nottke devises video poker games with a wrinkle, too. He hopes to get them licensed and available for wagering, whether they wind up in brick-and-mortar casinos or whether he can place them online in jurisdictions where wagering sites are legal.
One new game is Multi-Draw Poker, and you can find demonstration versions of single-hand play and a multi-hand version at RealizeGamingLLC.com.
As in many new games with a bonus wrinkle, Multi-Draw requires an extra bet to activate a feature. The extra bet is twice your base bet, so if you play maximum coins at single-hand Multi-Draw, you bet five coins on the base game and another 10 on the feature for 15-coin total bet. On a Triple Play version, you'd bet 15 on the base game and 30 more on the feature for 45.
The attraction is that after you choose which cards to hold, a Multi-Card symbol on the draw can trigger extra cards, giving you two to five cards on the draw instead of one. Each card creates a separate hand, so you could have up to five hands when the Multi-card appears. It also could trigger a 2x to 5x multiplier on any winnings.
Let's walk through an example. On a single-hand version of 9-6 Double Double Bonus Poker, I was dealt 2-9-Ace-8-6 of mixed suits. I held the Ace.
On the draw, the Multi-Card appeared in the position vacated by the discarded 8. It called for three draw cards and a 2x multiplier. The rest of the draw had an Ace in the first position, Queen in the second, and the held Ace in the third and a King in the fifth.
The multicard in the fourth position brought three cards — a Queen, a 7 and a 10. Now I had three hands — Ace-Queen-Ace-Queen-King, Ace-Queen-Ace-7-King and Ace-Queen-Ace-10-King.
One hand was a winner with two pairs, and the other two were winners with Ace pairs. Because the Multi-Card brought a 2x multiplier, winnings were doubled on each of those hands.
If that sounds a little complex, don't worry. The first time you see a hand played, you'll pick it right up. If the Multi-Card gives you two cards, you could be paid on two hands, with three cards, you could draw three paying hands, and so on.
In the three-hand version you could get different Multi-Cardz on every hand. In a trial run, I was dealt 2-King-5-6-2 of mixed suits on a display that showed the draw would play out three times.
I held the 2s, and in the bottom hand I was dealt a Multi-Card for two cards in the first draw position along with a 3x multiplier, on the second hand got a Multi-Card for three cards in the first position and a 2x multiplier, and on the top hand got the Multi-Card in the second draw position instead, this one for three cards and a 3x multiplier.
That meant I had two hands on the bottom line, three in the middle and three more on the top for a total of eight hands. Four of them were winners — all two pairs, normally a five-credit win for a five credit bet. But with the multipliers, they brought 55 credits for my 30-credit wager.
I found the game fun to play, but then I love twists on multi-hand games. See for yourself at the links above.
Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).