SPIELO International has developed its poker suite specifically for its video lottery markets. Its units use three screens, with pay tables up top, cards on the main screen and a video button panel that displays images of cards, where players touch the card images they wish to hold.
“Video poker is more popular in some markets, such as Montana and South Dakota, because historically only keno and poker content were allowed, though both now permit spinning-reel content,” said Carman Misener, vice president of content strategy at SPIELO International. “However, poker plays a role in all the video lottery markets that we serve in Canada, the United States, and Europe.”
SPIELO uses a mix of traditional video poker games and proprietary games. In the second-screen bonus in Bullfroggin’ Poker, players must navigate the male bullfrog across the pond filled with lily pads to his mate while collecting credits and trying to avoid the round-ending alligators. Another proprietary game, Cash Climb Poker, is a five-card draw game with a 52-card deck, but with a bonus that lets players climb a mountain, revealing multipliers or free games as they go. Multipliers increase but the choices decrease the closer the player gets to the summit.
“Some of our new game mechanics include second-screen bonus features, multi-level progressives, fever rounds, and of course entertaining themes, animations and videos,” Misener said. “We currently have a couple of poker games in development that integrate video into the bonus games, with animations on the top screen.”
“One of the advantages we have as an end-to-end gaming solutions provider, rather than being uniquely focused on video poker, is that we can draw on our experience with reel games, and indeed from other channels [such as casino or online] to adapt popular game features to the video poker market,” Misener added. “We also carry out extensive player validation, which helps us stay in touch with the content our players want to see.”<br><br>
WMS is hoping to claim a piece of the video poker market with My Poker Multi-Game Poker and My Poker Winning Streak, and is getting an early boost by partnering on a launch with Station Casinos properties in Las Vegas. Multi-Game Poker includes standard video poker games with optional feature bet games, such as a Find the Ace game in which players make an extra wager to get a chance to multiply returns on winning hands.
Winning Streak is a new approach to multi-hand games. If you have a winning hand, it’s moved up a level signifying a 1x pay table winner, and you’re dealt a second hand. Win again, and the second hand moves to the 1x slot, while the first moves up to 2x, where additional wins move it to 5x and 10x. You keep playing as long as the winning streak holds up.
“Both My Poker products are available on the Bluebird XD for great graphics and stunning sound,” Gelber said. “We are just beginning to get operator and player feedback and it looks really good.”
There are loads of customization features as well. The position of the cards and pay table on the screen and the color of the background are player configurable. Players can choose from a variety of decks, including a Western theme and cards with oversized letters and numbers designed for those with weak eyesight. You can choose to have cards dealt in order of rank or of suit, for easy recognition of possible straight or flush draws. Choices can be made at playerslife.com and be ready for players who log in at casino games.
That brings something different to the market, but it keeps the familiar games, too. With choosy video poker players as the target audience, that’s how it has to be.
John Grochowski’s syndicated casino column appears weekly in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Gary Post-Tribune andThe Press of Atlantic City. He is the author of six books on casino games, including The Video Poker Answer Bookand and The Slot Machine Answer Book. His tips for players are broadcast on WLS-AM 890 in Chicago.