Bobby Florence is a former UNLV Hall of Fame basketball player, a stroke survivor, a casino employee and now a gaming inventor.
It’s the latter he wishes to promote for all the right reasons.
"I wanted to create a variation of blackjack players would enjoy because life gave me a second chance," Florence said when reached at his home last week. "I was a dealer for 30 years so I know how tough it is to win at blackjack. With my game, I feel players have a better chance."
Florence’s invention is called Royal 20’s and is found exclusively on two tables at the Gold Coast.
"I’m so thankful to Boyd Gaming for giving me the opportunity to show my game to the public," said Florence, who invented Royal 20’s in June of 2010 and has been collecting royalties since the game first appeared at Gold Coast two months ago. "In poker you can win hands on the river. That’s what I’ve created here."
Royal 20’s uses many of the rules of blackjack with these additions that allow the player to take advantage of both good hands and bad.
"I wanted to create the opportunity that when having say 16 and facing a dealer’s face card it could be at least a 5-1 payoff for the player if the dealer draws another face card."
Here’s how Florence’s game works. After making your original wager, you can make a side bet anywhere from $1 to $25.
A player will receive 5-1 on that side bet if EITHER the dealer or player has a Royal 20, which is any combination of queens, jacks and kings. Aces and 10’s are no good.
A player can receive 10-1 if EITHER the dealer or player has Matching 20’s, which are face cards of the same suit. For example, the dealer could have a King-Queen of diamonds and a player have a Queen-Jack of hearts.
A player can receive 50-1 payback if BOTH the dealer and player have any combination of queens, jacks or kings.
And, a player can get 100-1 if BOTH the dealer and player have Matching 20’s, or face cards of the same suit.
"It’s an anticipation bet," Florence said of the side wager. "It keeps you in the game. It gives you a second chance to win your hand, much like I was given a second chance at life."
Florence suffered his stroke in 2006 and said it changed his life.
"I changed the way I eat, and think of every day as a second chance," he said. "I wanted to give something back for being alive and Boyd Gaming made it happen, for which I am forever grateful."
Florence said he plans to market the game to as many hotels as will take it.
"With the popularity of poker, I think my game creates that same feeling of being able to win on the river," Florence said. "Players are really not out of the hand until the last shot. That’s the way it was during my basketball career. I always wanted the last shot."