Wizard
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Wizard
Joined: Oct 14, 2009
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May 1st, 2011 at 2:09:45 PM permalink
News just came to me that Howard Grossman, inventor of Super Fun 21, as well as some lesser-known table games, passed away on Saturday. I don't know the cause, but I think it is something that come on very suddenly.

I didn't know Howard that well, but we had a chat and shared some laughs every year at the gaming show, for at least 10 years. Once in a while I would bump into him in the casinos, generally when he was training dealers on a game of his. He was a fun-loving and nice guy who never seemed to have an unkind word about anybody. In the cutthroat business of inventing casino table games, it takes a rare individual who can stay above the fray, which Howard did. Much like he never had an ill word about anybody, I have never heard an ill word about him. Truly a nice guy in a business that doesn't have many of them.

Before Howard was a game inventor he was a card counter. He respected an honest bet, and his games always gave the recreational player a fair shake. The standard version of Super Fun 21 has a house edge of 1.16%. I know that is a lot higher than regular blackjack, but compared to most proprietary games, it offered a good bet. He never tried to deceive the player with obscure rules or difficult strategy. His goal was to take the existing game of blackjack and try to make it more fun for the players and more profitable for the casinos, and to give the single-deck player another option besides the dreadful 6 to 5 blackjack.

However, you left us much too soon. RIP my friend. If anything comes after this life, I hope to see you there.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
teddys
teddys
Joined: Nov 14, 2009
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May 1st, 2011 at 2:36:13 PM permalink
That is sad to hear. SF21 was also beatable sometimes by counting. I wonder if Howard made that possible as a nod to skilled players.
"Dice, verily, are armed with goads and driving-hooks, deceiving and tormenting, causing grievous woe." -Rig Veda 10.34.4
Wizard
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Wizard
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May 1st, 2011 at 3:55:54 PM permalink
Quote: teddys

That is sad to hear. SF21 was also beatable sometimes by counting. I wonder if Howard made that possible as a nod to skilled players.



He knew, and smiled when he spoke about it. He saw advantage play as a cat and mouse game, and respected those players good enough to do it, even if at his own expense.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
teliot
teliot
Joined: Oct 19, 2009
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May 1st, 2011 at 3:56:43 PM permalink
I knew Howard fairly well. When my book on blackjack came out, with its message to avoid SF21 (for the non-counter), he called me on my cell phone, I was driving somewhere in central California at the time and we had never spoken before. He seemed genuinely confused that I would not recommend his game. In retrospect, I agree with him. For a non-counter, it is a very fun game. Much more fun, for example, than 6/5 single deck. At least as fun as Spanish 21. Every year at G2E I always looked forward to crossing paths with him. For two or three years I admired his black tennis shoes. He finally told me that they were some custom designer tennis shoe, cost over $200 a pair (as I recall). It was kind of a joke between us. More recently he told me the story of the method he used to design and name his game "Super Fun 21." He invented it on a dare that he couldn't invent a successful game overnight. That's right, it took him 1 day. In our last email exchange, he was excited about the new games he was marketing, "Triple up 21," and "Pai Gow Thrill."

RIP

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