Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One of the best beginners' luck stories I've heard. I received a phone call from a father who took his son to a casino for the son's 21st birthday. They were playing from a common bankroll, alternating hands. On the first hand the son ever played in a casino, he drew a royal flush. Father and son collected $500 apiece. Later, playing on his own, he drew another one, good for his own $1,000. Level head on his shoulders, he put about $1,400 of it in the bank.

I'll be expanding on this in my regular columns. Watch for the Chicago Sun-Times, Casino City Times, and others.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pik-It Poker from DigiDeal

One of the pioneers in multiplayer electronic table games, DigiDeal is promoting a new game called Pik-It Poker. It's two-tiered game with both play against the dealer and a 3-Card Bonus bet. Antes plus bonus bets start play, and the bonus is resolved first. Cards are dealt face down, and players touch the screen to pick which three will be turned up to make a three-card poker hand. Winners are paid according to a pay table --- just as in Pair Plus in Three Card Poker, they don’t have to beat the dealer --- then the other two cards are turned up, and those who wagered on the bonus get an additional payoff if their five-card hand includes two pairs or better.

Then it’s time for play against the dealer. You check out your hand to see if it’s a stronger play to bet on a three-card hand or the full five cards, then touch the screen to choose which to play. Taking advantage of the electronic format, Pik-It has a “suggested: play” feature to tell the player the optimal choice.

DigiDeal has carved out a niche with traditional table games such as blackjack in an electronic format. Its first games used electronic cards dealt by a random number generator, but real chips for wagering. That format remains available for casinos that like to use a dealer-host to interact with players and settle bets, but game with touch-screens for wagering also are available. One advantage of the touch screens is that DigiDeal can offer multiple side bets on the same game without slowing it down, and without mistakes in payoffs.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bally goes for "Grease"

At the 2011 Global Gaming Expo, the casino industry’s annual Las Vegas showcase, the sounds of “You’re the One that I Want” rang through Bally’s booth with the introduction of the new "Grease video slots."

“We were really looking to increase our brand portfolio,” said Jean Venneman, Bally’s vice president of product marketing and licensing. “It’s not an area we had really been in in the past. We wanted to make sure we picked a couple of strategic brands that really hit the [slot-playing] demographic and we could create a lot of interesting games out of. We felt that Grease hit the mark on that.”

Grease, based on the hit movie musical, is a wide-area progressive, meaning that in states where it is legal, machines in different casinos can be linked to the same jackpot. There are two playing fields on the screen --- two sets of five reels --- in a penny game with a 60-cent minimum wager. Reel symbols are chock full of movie imagery, and there’s music and video featuring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

There are an number of bonuses, but the event everyone wanted to see was the “You’re the One that I Want” free games. The stars wooed each other in the “Grease” showpiece video in the top box, a scaled down video played atop the spinning reels on the main screen, and speakers in the back of the game’s special chair contributed to a surround-sound effect.

“This one has been fun to watch people play,” Venneman said. “They seem to be more focused on the video than on the actual game. And everybody has fond memories of the first time they saw the movie, or that they thought that Olivia Newton John was amazing, or John Travolta.”