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Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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November 18th, 2010 at 3:31:08 PM permalink
G2E just occurred, the big gaming industry trade show and conference at the Convention center. From all the parking problems, $15 sandwiches, getting registered, meeting your cohorts without getting lost, walking through swarms of people (the whole mega-conference thing), we made it through another year of G2E.

I’ve been cruising the floor at G2E perusing table games, and well, it’s scary. So much new stuff that’s really old stuff, variations of poker and BJ and Bears – oh, my! I look at all the crap (and a few gems), and as a game designer, I know that a new game’s gotta have a WAY better twist or improvement to an existing type game, or be fresh and exciting and so easy to pick up and learn. 99% of the stuff there is of a re-hash old hat sort of thing, and this is from the greats, the big boys at the show….looking at all that I saw, I am tempted to…
a. Drop to my knees holding my head, muttering:
b. It’s IMPOSSIBLE…[banging my chest]…It’s just impossible….
c. But we keep going….

Some of the stuff that was fine was not new game related, but was assist-related: The I-table from Shufflemaster is an example, discussed below. There were a few tiny booths where independent game designers had made it to the point of gaming approval and set up their own booths there, hoping to get a casino operator to take interest, and give then an install; I’ll mention one good example later on.

Okay..on to the items:
Shufflemaster:
Shuffle Master has a new technology product for table games, called I-table. It’s a betting console at each player’s spot, and it works with the i-deal shuffler or roulette wheel, where it allows the game to progress and be tracked in an automated fashion. The player buys in at a table with a standard chip rack, but gets instead money allocated to his position’s console. The player makes bets on the console; the image looks like betting spots with scorekeeping, player “comp” crediting, and account balances shown, very similar to online gaming screens and applets, but right at your seat. Once the next round begins, the bets are locked, preventing any sort of chip capping or pinching type maneuvers. I played it on a three-card poker table, and it worked mighty fine. When the player is finished, he colors up and then receives chips to take to the cage or to another table.

I both like it and dislike it. I like playing with real chips, and the I-table gives a bit of a “too electronic” feel in some ways, but you still have the cards, wheel, etc. It helps in some ways for Roulette, in contrast to Rapid Roulette “booths,” as you play with fellow players on regular-sized tables with the same intimate social atmosphere. The I-table for roulette will help Roulette side bets like www.poker-for-roulette.com et al.
SMI’s weaker offerings, I feel, are some new table games that aren’t that exciting or are great improvements over existing products, though a cutting-edge casino must have the latest-and-greatest to be competitive. They and their players will decide and may buy.
Below is a sample new game from Shuffle Master, No flop Pineapple hold ‘em. I played this the first day with Mike, with an attractive dealer that was all in the “pineapples and flop” kind of spirit, ahem. 100% carny game. Below is a description.

*** Sample SMI new table game ********************
No flop Pineapple:
No Flop Pineapple Hold ’em is a poker-based card game played against the house. The object of the game is to win by having the best 4-card poker hand using 2 hole cards and 2 community cards.
Rules
No Flop Pineapple Hold ’em is played using a single 52-card deck. The game uses standard poker rules when comparing 2 hands: Four of a Kind; Straight Flush; Straight; Flush; Three of a Kind; Two Pairs; Pair; High Card Hand.
To begin, all players make a blind bet wager. They have the option to make a wager on the Pocket Pairs side bet. If the players 2 hole cards are a pair, they wins the side bet and are paid according to the posted Pocket Pairs pay table.
The dealer then deals 3 cards face down to each player and 3 cards face down to himself. He also deals 2 community cards face down.
Each player then examines his 3 cards and determines which 2 cards he wishes to keep and which card to discard. Players are not allowed to share information about their unseen cards with other players.
After all players discard one card, the dealer will reveal the first community card. Each player must now decide to either fold his hand or lose his blind bet or raise 2X his blind bet and continue playing the game.
After all players have either raised or fold, the dealer will reveal the last community card and his 3 hole cards. He will then discard one of his 3 cards to make his best possible 4-card hand.
The dealer will then compare his hand to each player's hand. If the dealer's hand beats the player's hand, the player loses his blind and raise bets. If the player's hand beats the dealer's hand, the player wins even money on his blind and raise bets. If the hands tie, the player's blind and raise bets push.
If the player gets a flush or better, the player wins a High Hand Bonus on his blind bet regardless of the outcome of the game.
The following is the pay table for the High Hand Bonus: Four of a Kind: 40 to 1; Straight Flush: 20 to 1; Straight: 3 to 1 or 2 to 1; Flush: 2 to 1 or 1 to 1.
New game? Yes. Anything special that it offers over existing games? To be decided by casinos.
****************
Other new games from SMI are Rabbit Hunter and Six card poker. Their established games are Three card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold ‘em, Texas Hold ‘em Bonus, and Blackjack Switch. In credit to SMI, they used their booth to display new games and technology. See them at www.shufflemaster.com.
Galaxy: This is the company founded by Robert Saucier of Emperor’s Challenge and Pai Gow Insurance fame. Rob Saucier is the man who stood down Shuffle Master with his Emperor’s Challenge, and essentially broke the monopoly (stranglehold?) that Shufflemaster had on table game distribution. Their booth was way off to the side, but near DEQ and Prime Table Games of Derek Webb Fame. Their games are listed on Mike’s main gaming site, www.wizardofodds.com, and Galaxy’s site is www.galaxygaming.com
Their offerings are Emperor’s Challenge Pai Gow, Triple Attack Blackjack, Texas Shootout, and Lucky Ladies side bet, already described on the posts here. Their big hits are Lucky Ladies and Emperor’s Challenge.

DEQ:

This is the vendor that distributes my EZ Pai Gow Poker game. DEQ is a player via their established EZ Baccarat table game (250+ installs), their G3 side bet/progressive console, their EZ track for Baccarat, and EZ Pai Gow Poker. They JUST released a new progressive for Blackjack called Bad Beat Blackjack. This side bet pays if a player’s 20 gets beaten by a dealer’s flipped-over Blackjack or a 3 or more card 21, with more cards in the dealer’s 21 giving a higher payout. Casino operators were particularly interested in EZ Baccarat, EZ Pai Gow, and the new Bad beat Blackjack progressive, which runs up against Gaming Network’s Lucky Lucky BJ progressive.

To DEQ’s credit, they had their Marketing and Product development people deal and explain the games, along with the Great Max Rubin, who was there because of the new Bad Beat Blackjack progressive. This was brilliant, because casino operators do ask some serious technical questions about these products performances in production environments. This is how you get sales: real answers from executives, not fake boobs on a rent-a-dealer.

Prime Table Games of Derek Webb. This is a game design and distribution company founded by the inventor of Three Card Poker, Mr. Derek Webb. I met him Tuesday, and I guess in a way it was like meeting Peter Frampton, with his Three Card Poker being so hugely successful. (Three card is sort of his “Do You Feel…Like I do” Mega-hit of proprietary table games.) I also had a look-see at his offerings. They are:
1. 21+3, which is face-up Blackjack where the two player’s cards and the dealer’s up card form a three card poker hand. Pays 9:1 on flush, straight, trips, or straight flush, even on a pair. That was done to simplify payouts for the dealer, which surprised me, as you’d think a more finely tuned Three card pair plus table is something that a BJ dealer could handle. Yet simplicity is crucial in getting a table game accepted by both the players and the casino house operating the game. This game is big in many mid-west casinos, and it should soon have an entry in WOO’s game list.
2. Jokolor – a Pai Gow side bet where you’re betting for a hand with a joker to get 5:1, or 10:1 if seven cards of a color, or 30:1 if six of a color plus the joker. This bet is similar to the Red/Black bet for PGP where a majority of color pays 1:1, and where all 7 of a color pays 5:1, where 3 and 3 plus the joker pushes.
3. Baccarat-21: This is where the dealer deals two BJ hands, one player and one banker, and you can bet for player, tie, or banker. Similar to Wish-Card poker that uses two three card poker hands (2 banker + 2 player side + one community card).
4. PTG Poker, which is poker room poker that switches the direction of the player’s betting each round of a hand.
Prime table games has other offerings, but their main website www.primetablegames.com] is devoted mainly to his legal conflicts with Shuffle Master, Inc. He does have another website for PTG Poker at www.ptgpoker.com. Mr. Webb is devoted to making gaming fairer, (as well as fostering better IP laws and regulations), and his company uses the catch-phrase “Designed to be fairer” as a corporate slogan.

Gaming Network: This is one of the big boys, but they did not rent a booth at G2E; instead, they shuttled prospective clients to their offices in the McCarran Business Park area. I can see why: their offices are huge and well-appointed, where they can discuss business away from the din of the conference floor. Their game offerings are:
1. Lucky Lucky BJ progressive: a big hit. Payouts start at three-card 19’s or better at 2:1, up to 200:1 for a suited 777.
2. Three Card Blackjack: player gets dealt three cards, and makes his best two-card BJ hand from it, where the player can raise or fold. Dealer needs at 17 to qualify where the hands are compared, else the bets are a push. This game won the Bronze at the 2010 Raving table game conference in August.
3. Instant 18: another BJ side bet that’s getting installs. Bet the side bet, and it wins if the dealer has 17 or busts, figuring that 18 is a good enough BJ hand…
Among others. GN has a good track record in getting their games out onto the casino floor. See their games at www.gamenetinc.com.

Now for a little guy:

Die Rich dice game (actually a one-die game) was invented by a Ken Coleman from Reno, they’ve been trying to break this game into casinos for a while, perhaps as a very easy, ladies version of craps.
1. Die Rich is a one-die dice game. This is a game I saw at Raving Table Games, and didn’t really have an interest in checking it out then. Well, when I saw that they sprung for a booth here at G2E, I played it. It’s a one-die game where you bet the main bet (sort of a pass line bet that’s out on a one-crap getting thrown, wins on a “yo-six,” and any other number is the point: 2,3,4,5). You have three chances to get your point number (let’s say, a two) before a one is thrown. If you roll your point on the first or 3rd point roll, it pays 2:1, else if it’s rolled on the 2nd point roll, it pays even money. If three rolls occur, or a one-crap is thrown, you lose the main bet.
2. There are two side bets, a number bet of 2,3,4,5 other than the point, and are one roll bets that pay four to one. You can also bet the one and the 6 in the same fashion, although they act as naturals. They’re one roll and pay 4:1.
3. There is also a shooter’s streak bet, analogous to a fire bet. If you win the main bet consecutively, the streak beat increases it payout, and loses on any main bet loss.

Was it fun to play? Yes, it was a good little game. Would the game be adapted? I don’t know, and it’s been sadly difficult for Mr. Coleman and company to get placements.

You can see the game at http://www.crapshero.com/craps/die-rich/ and at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/dice-play/Games/DieRichCraps.htm.

Most of the progress of (your game’s) advancement occurs during the year via canvassing, following up on leads, preparing for installs and watching them unfold, taking care of the math and fixing procedural issues, and the like, but a lot of contacts are made during G2E that are priceless.

There were two things I did NOT understand about G2E:
1. The half-dozen or so automated Roulette Game distributors from Korea and Europe, (Interblock, Novomatic) taking up huge floor space with Rapid Roulette clones of enormous size, Golden Roulette wheels encased in a hermetically sealed velvet 6’ x 6’ floor mounts, surrounded by 24 brass and leather consoles with electronic screens. I was waiting for 007 to show up, but he never did. Few people linger around these “Roulette City” sellers, but they’re an ever-present feature every year. What is the deal, Shufflemaster has the Rapid Roulette, do these guys really place any units?
2. Tiny gift shops manned by bible belt people selling Hummel figurines with gambling motifs. Some of the stuff is great and affordable, but it seems like such a support cottage industry.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
EvenBob
EvenBob
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November 18th, 2010 at 3:48:31 PM permalink
Quote: Paigowdan

There were two things I did NOT understand about G2E: The half-dozen or so automated Roulette Game distributors from Korea and Europe,



Isn't it because roulette is such a monster in EU and they keep waiting for it to catch on here? It never will because Americans like to spend hours drinking and playing BJ, and roulette can suck your wallet dry in 20min.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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November 18th, 2010 at 4:10:22 PM permalink
True....
But you would think that one of the houses that gave Rapid Roulette a try could also try them as an option.
I wonder if ANY Euro/Asian Manfacturer broke into an American casino with it.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
Wizard
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Wizard
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November 18th, 2010 at 4:41:23 PM permalink
I posted some photos from the show in a blog entry.

Dan's report of the show was outstanding, thanks. To add to it a little:

1. Agreed, not much new this year. It was small too. I estimate about 75% of the expo space was used. They always make it seem full, but there are big empty spaces behind curtains.

2. The dealer-less table games are bigger in Europe and Asia than here, but mark my words, they are only going to get more and more market share here. In the not too distant future it will be a luxury, reserved for mid to high rollers, to have a human dealer.

3. The parking situation is horrible. There is a lot across the street on Paradise, which I've never used. The lot right in front of the convention center always seems full. Otherwise, you can park at the Hilton for free, but it is about a 20-minute walk to the convention center. Personally, I park at the Hilton, get my bike out of the car, and ride the rest of the way.

4. In the future I'm going to show up after lunch. It is too exhausting to spend a whole day at the show and there is nothing good to eat.

5. The traffic after the show is even more horrible than the parking. If at all possible, take the monorail or leave early. Avoid going south-bound on Paradise if at all possible in the evenings.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Ayecarumba
Ayecarumba
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November 18th, 2010 at 5:56:07 PM permalink
Any feedback on the use of quick changes to the return percentages in server based slots? This is a follow up from the thread on "tracking-best-day-time-to-play-slots"
mkl654321
mkl654321
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November 18th, 2010 at 6:06:23 PM permalink
Thanks for the great report! Makes me feel as if I had been there, but while eating a $4 burrito instead of a $15 sandwich :)

Do you think the relatively flaccid new-game offerings are due to the fact that the faltering economy and plummeting casino earnings make it less likely that casinos will invest money in an unproven product? Or is that due to some deeper malaise--that pretty much all the flourishes, gimmicks, and permutations for existing casino games have been used up (and licensing nightmares pretty much kill off any attempts to bring in something completely new)?

I think we need some casino games based on Japanese sadistic game shows, but that's just me. (That might bring in more of the Asian market, come to think of it.)
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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November 18th, 2010 at 6:46:26 PM permalink
MKL,
I think the reason that there are so many lame offerings is because true inspiration cannot be forced, but IS forced to get out "the next winner." With weak casino incomes, they too are looking harder for a new hit, also!

Virtually ALL game inventors who have had a hit game (Three Card, Spanish-21, EZ Baccarat, etc.) can't follow up with a good second act.
To get one game out, it's a 1:500 chance assuming massive effort and a lot of gaming, legal and math knowledge; for a second act, it's 25,000 to 1 that it will happen in the designer's lifeime. We don't really see it.

The Beatles had countless hits of inspiraton, but game designers are almost all one-hit wonders. If a designer gets one "Three Card Poker" level hit, he's a legend and a millionaire. A comment told to me by Mr. Tejada (co-inventor of EZ Bacc) was to not even try for a follow-up. Take your money and retire from gaming.
ENJOY LIFE IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY!!!

Furthermore, the current environment is rough, not because of economic ups and downs, but because of the "filling in" of the Intellectual property resevoir in gaming over the years.
At this point, ANY good new idea has to be thoroughly researched, as it's more than likely that someone ELSE thought of the very same thing, or close enough to block you off.

In 2008 I came up with a 5-card Pai Gow game, three cards down and a pair up: WAY better than mini-Pai Gow. I did the math, layouts, dealing proceedures, and mini-field trial, and filed a provisional patent after an initial search. As it turns out, a Mr. Roy Ritner of Arizona had filed a patent for the SAME 5-card Pai Gow game called Pai Gow Express about 8 months before I had. I read his patent, and holding my head, my teeth fell out. It was EXACTLY the same game, but with a wild joker (I had both versions); and aside from a few minor differences, it was Pai Gow-32. He beat me by eight months. (His patent was concealed until the non-provisional was issued.) I saluted him, and shook his hand, and moved on. And I hope his game makes it!

This scenario describes variations of existing type games (Poker, BJ, craps, Roulette, and Pai Gow).
If you come up with a really NOVEL game, like two-cards high (Dealt 5 cards; produce a three-card Baccarat hand of 0, with two cards up as a pair or high cards. GREAT little game invention by a strip dealer about five years ago or so. It's installed at a casino in KOREA and it drops about $500,000 a month, but he has problems getting it out here in the U.S.
But with Novel games, you have to fight against established gaming customers who know only what they currently know, and as such are unwilling to pick up a game that is too "alien" - no matter how fine, to a degree.

I may have gotten lucky - I received some interest in my 8-card Pai Gow Poker (Full Poker on both sides - a Pai Gow Junkie's Wet DREAM!) as a specialty game, and some interest, surprisingly, in my bad beat for Pai Gow progressive. I have a chance and a second or third act. But it's a long shot. I will try!

As a joke, I came up with some slot machines take offs: "Dean martin's Wild Party" becomes "Charles Manson's Wild party." "Jackpot Party" becomes "Trailer Park Meth lab Party" - smoke a bowl, ten free spins!" You don't wanna see my Japanese adult-themed slot machines: twine, candle wax, etc...
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
boymimbo
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November 18th, 2010 at 7:29:37 PM permalink
Fantastic contribution, Dan!!! Good luck in all of your endeavors.
----- You want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
DJTeddyBear
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November 19th, 2010 at 8:17:33 AM permalink
Great review Dan. Thanks.

Quote: PaiGowDan

Shuffle Master has a new technology product for table games, called I-table. It’s a betting console at each player’s spot, and it works with the i-deal shuffler or roulette wheel, where it allows the game to progress and be tracked in an automated fashion. The player buys in at a table with a standard chip rack, but gets instead money allocated to his position’s console. The player makes bets on the console; the image looks like betting spots with scorekeeping, player “comp” crediting, and account balances shown, very similar to online gaming screens and applets, but right at your seat. Once the next round begins, the bets are locked, preventing any sort of chip capping or pinching type maneuvers. I played it on a three-card poker table, and it worked mighty fine. When the player is finished, he colors up and then receives chips to take to the cage or to another table.

I both like it and dislike it. I like playing with real chips, and the I-table gives a bit of a “too electronic” feel in some ways, but you still have the cards, wheel, etc. It helps in some ways for Roulette, in contrast to Rapid Roulette “booths,” as you play with fellow players on regular-sized tables with the same intimate social atmosphere. The I-table for roulette will help Roulette side bets like www.poker-for-roulette.com et al.

Thanks for the plug!

But, for the record, I question the use of I-Table for Roulette. How can it be better for the casino OR the player than RapidRoulette? Often, at regular Roulette tables, a player makes a large bet on a specific number, prompting other players to also make a bet on that number. Often these additional bets are NOT in lieu of some other bet, but in ADDITION to a player's regular bet.

Without seeing the action of other players, the casino is missing out on some additional action.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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November 19th, 2010 at 8:51:27 AM permalink
True, it stiffles the comradery of copy-cat betting, the whole "we're now in this together" kind of thing....

But, having small consoles on a truly regular sized table allows for the closeness and socialability of the regular-sized tables. The full-blown Rapid Roulette "auditorium booths" can't provide this between players, unless they are adjacent.

But, I heard Max Rubin describe the Rapid Roulette set-up at Barona as allowing a charismatic Ring-leader dealer to conduct a Roulette show for a larger audience on a wide-scale Rapid Roulette pit.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.

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