Few would argue that table games are in revival mode and gaining back lost popularity on the gaming floor.
But this increase in patronage does not mean gaming operators are exempt from searching for new table game concepts and formats to further entice customer interest in pit offerings. Table games developers are happy to oblige this demand for new product, and innovative game prototypes are introduced at a fairly steady clip. And now the educators at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute are getting involved, helping student with table game development aspirations flesh-out their ideas and present them before a receptive audience—the attendees at Global Gaming Expo (G2E).
At G2E 2017, two UNLV students demonstrated new table games concepts at the American Gaming Association (AGA) Innovation Lab, taking the next step in defining what may become the industry’s next hot table game property.
EASY AS PIE
One year ago, Matthew Stream, owner and inventor of Easy Jack, moved from California to Las Vegas to follow his dream of inventing the next great table game. Working as a dealer for the California card rooms, Stream noticed that inexperienced players were often confused and apprehensive about playing traditional blackjack. This is where he came up with the idea of making a simpler version of the table game, Easy Jack, with the same general concept as blackjack but with fewer cards and rules.
“What I believe sets Easy Jack apart from other table games, particularly blackjack variants, is its simplicity,” said Stream. “With most new table games everything has gotten more complex, which also means slower. A slower game means fewer hands per hour. With fewer hands per hour, the game must have a higher house edge for the casino to maintain expected profits. A game that plays as quickly as Easy Jack allows the casino to offer a lower house edge than practically every other new table game being offered today. This means on a hand-for-hand basis, the player has a more reasonable chance of winning, while at the end of the day the casino hold is still competitive with other games on the casino floor.”
“Another benefit of Easy Jack’s simplicity is the ability for a new player to understand and feel comfortable with the game,” Stream added. “Something that cannot be said about most all other new table games.”
Through his participation in UNLV’s gaming innovation program, Stream refined his game and landed a field-trial at Harrah’s Las Vegas. Easy Jack is now approved for Nevada casinos and he is actively working to distribute his game nationwide.
Easy Jack is essentially one card blackjack, with the goal of getting as close to 11 without going over. Players must place a base wager and have the option to place a side wager referred to as “Dealer Bust.” Players receive one card face up and the dealer receives one card face down. All card values are the same as in traditional blackjack. The players have the option to stay with the first card they receive or take additional card(s) until they are content with their total, or until they go over 11. Going over 11 is a bust, just like going over 21 is a bust in traditional blackjack. The dealer will hit with a total of six or less and will stay with a total of seven or more. If a player receives an ace as their first card it is considered a natural 11 and pays either 3:2 or 6:5, depending on which version the casino decides to offer. A natural 11 beats any multiple card hand totaling 11. In the 3:2 version, if the player’s first card and the dealer’s first card are both aces, it is a push. In the 6:5 version, if the player receives an ace as their first card, they win 6:5 on their base wager immediately, regardless of what the dealer’s first card is.
The Dealer Bust side wager is an optional bet a player can make that wins when the dealer busts (goes over 11). The payout for the Dealer Bust is based on the total number of cards in the dealer’s busted hand, starting with a two card bust paying 3:1, all the way up to a six card bust (i.e. 2+Ace+Ace+Ace+Ace+6 or higher) paying 500:1.
“Easy Jack is exceptionally simple, no new technologies are required,” Stream said. “As far as future plans regarding technology, I look forward to seeing Easy Jack being played as an ETG, as well as being played on the ever growing online gaming sites.”
Easy Jack is simple for both players and dealers to understand, has a higher house edge than traditional blackjack, and has more hands per hour than traditional blackjack along with less risk of advantage play than traditional blackjack.
Also presenting a new table game at G2E was Harold Moret, who used the familiar tabletop game of dominoes to create Casino Dominoes and perhaps reach a previously untapped wagering customer.
Moret comes from the music industry in Los Angeles where he has produced records with artists like Dr. Dre and Eminem at Aftermath Entertainment. When he first read about UNLV student Hien Nguyen and the sale of her casino game, Domino Dragons, to Konami Gaming, he knew that he would soon be making his own trip to Las Vegas to create new games. Moret loves the traditional game of dominoes, so much that he founded the Universal Dominoes League, the largest tournament league in the U.S.
Through is participation in UNLV’s Gaming Innovation class, Moret invented Casino Dominoes, the first house-banked dominoes table game which he plans on distributing to casinos nationwide, according to press materials. This new table game concept could give millions of dominoes players a new gaming option.
Moret saw people gamble with dominoes every day, so he wanted to create a fast, simple, and exciting game that was familiar to customers; and could be played on the casino floor. “It is based on traditional Muggins Dominoes, which is played in senior citizen homes, college campuses and military bases worldwide,” said Moret. “The game is very simple, match four cards with the community card and score in multiples of five.”
Casino Dominoes is a house-banked game where up to six players get dealt four cards each. Participants can make two different bets, the Doubles bet, which is how many doubles they have, and the Casino Dominoes bet—which is the main bet, based on how many of the players cards connect to the dealers card. The rules are familiar to Dominoes players, and the game has a patent pending specialty that shows the dealer all matching cards and point value printed on every card. The 28 cards in the deck are in color making it easier to recognize and play. The more points a players scores, the more the payout will be. The deck also holds seven doubles, with the Doubles bet, if the player has two or more doubles, they receive a payout. The house advantage is 2.65 percent with a hit frequency of 26 percent for Casino Dominoes, in terms of Doubles the house advantage increases to a 7.46 percent with the hit frequency dropping slightly to 25 percent.
Casino Dominoes will be exhibited at this year’s Table Games Conference November 14-16 at Paris Las Vegas (www.tablegamesconf.com). Attendees can stop by to see a live demonstration of Moret’s innovative table game.
AGS fuels table games growth with five new game acquisitions
The library of table game offerings from AGS continues to grow after it announced the purchase of five dynamic, new games from New-Jersey based company In Bet Gaming. This strategic acquisition elevates the company’s table product install base to more than 2,500 and marks the largest table game investment in AGS history. The company showed some of the games involved in this purchase—Super 4 Blackjack progressive game, Jackpot Blackjack game and the Royal 9 Baccarat progressive game—at last month’s G2E.
Jackpot Digital unveils Jackpot Blitz gaming table
Jackpot Digital recently launched Jackpot Blitz, a digital gaming table that allows players to play multiple table games simultaneously including poker, Texas Hold’em, Omaha and video poker, blackjack, baccarat, roulette and other casino games (in any combination desired by the operator) digitally without real cards, chips or even a dealer.