The premise is simple enough — hit the various drop targets to assemble five poker hands of varying strengths, from a single ten up to four aces and a Joker. However, different targets must be hit depending on which ball is in play, testing the player's mastery of the entire board with ever-increasing difficulty. Successfully make the current target bank to light the 5x bonus multiplier, and get the top rollovers for an extra ball.
Joker Poker is a game that's truly easy to learn but hard to master. Ten thousand machines were made; most were solid-state, but 820 were electro-mechanical versions with slightly different art and rules. The solid-state game is lauded by players, while collectors have pushed prices for the EM version into the stratosphere.
Joker Poker demonstrates the following tropes:
- Headless Horseman: In the electro-mechanical version of Joker Poker, a roly-poly cartoon jester fills the center of the playfield, wearing a crown and with his nose as the "5X Multiplier" light. The solid-state version keeps the crown and the light, but inexplicably removes his head all together.
- Art Shift: The jester has surprisingly detailed hands.
- The Magic Poker Equation: Played with; the player must assemble a Ten, two Jacks, three Queens, four Kings, and five Aces (four Aces plus a Joker).
- Masculine Lines, Feminine Curves: Three curvacious female jokers are featured on the backglass, while the playfield has two playing-card Kings, sporting traditional angular features.
- No Plot? No Problem!
- Sexy Jester: The backglass features three playful sexy jokers courtesy of Gordon Morison.
- Wackyland: The jokers on the backglass are playing in a checkerboard landscape beneath a red and yellow sky.