If you are reading this in the original print form, there is a good chance you are currently attending the 2014 Global Gaming Expo (G2E).
I look forward to attending each year to see what innovative ideas may be coming to a casino near you. My professional expertise is in table games and video poker. The latter gets a fair amount of floor space. The former, not so much.
Over the past few years, most of the new table games have been from Shuffle Entertainment (bought by Bally Technologies in the past year), DEQ and Galaxy Gaming. Then I’ll usually find a handful of other independents who have some table games, but I’ll have to search far and away to find them.
As I do most of the table game analysis for Bally Technologies, I get a sneak peak at what games will be on display at their booth. This year, they’ll be showing about a dozen table games, most of them fairly new. Three of these games are DJ Wild, Go Fore It and Match’em Hi-Lo.
I’d like to give you a little preview of them and strongly recommend if you are at the G2E you head on over to check them out. I’m also going to preview a game from John Feola of New Vision Gaming. His game will be on display at the CATCO Gaming booth (#4409). It is called Hold’em 3 Bonus. Each of these games has a bit of a unique twist to it.
DJ Wild, Bally
First up, Bally Technologies’ DJ Wild. The betting structure on this game is fairly routine. The Player makes two equal wagers – an Ante and a Blind. Player and Dealer each receive 5 cards. The Player can now either Fold or make a Play wager equal to 2 times his Ante Wager. There is no Dealer Qualifying.
If the Player’s hand outranks the Dealer’s hand, the Ante and Play pay even money. The Blind pays according to a Pay table if the Player’s hand is a Straight or better and pushes if he wins and is less. If the Dealer’s hand outranks the Player’s hand, the Player’s wagers all lose. So, where is the twist?
DJ stands for Deuces Joker. This game has five wild cards, using a 53-card deck. The four Deuces and the Joker are completely wild. The one word of caution is it will take some practice recognizing exactly what hand you have in some cases.
This game can offer a payback of up to 99% on the base game and has a relatively simple strategy of roughly a Pair of 4’s or better.
Go Fore It
The next two Bally Technologies games are unique because they are not poker-based games. To date, almost every successful game has been a poker variant (even Casino War is essentially 1-card poker) or a blackjack variant. Go Fore It is neither.
As you might expect by its name, Go Fore It has a golf theme associated with it. Thus, the goal is to get a lower score, not a higher one. There are three independent wagers. The Gopher is a wager on how many Aces (Eagles) you will get in your 4-card hand.
Getting 1, will get you 2-to-1. Get all 4 and it could be a 500-to-1 payout (or more). The second wager is the Skin wager. This is the head to head wager against the Dealer. If the Player’s 4-card hand is lower than the Dealer’s 4-card hand, the Player wins even money. Player loses ties, which is the house advantage.
Next is the Front 9, Back 9 wager. For this wager, the Player initially makes the Front 9 wager and gets 2 of his 4 cards. He must now either Fold, forfeiting the Front 9 wager or make an additional Back 9 wager equal to the Front 9 wager. A score of 24 or less is a winning hand. The lower the hand, the more the Player is paid (according to the paytable in use).
Again, this is a game that is not based on poker. The Player makes an initial wager and is dealt 3 cards. Aces count as 1’s or 11’s (1 if going Low, 11 if going High). Face cards are 0’s and 2 through 10’s count as their rank.
After reviewing his hand, the Player may opt to go High or Low and he may choose to Double Down, making another wager equal to his initial wager. There is no folding. The Player is wagering whether his hand will be Lower or Equal to OR Higher or equal to the Dealer’s hand. To be clear, the Player wins all ties.
The Dealer gets five cards and arranges them according to the house way. For the most part, this means the 3 lowest cards count as the Low hand and the 3 highest cards (1 card counts in both hands) count as the High Hand. If an Ace is in the low hand it counts as a 1. If it is in the High Hand it counts as an 11.
The one exception to the house way is that if an Ace is one of the three lowest cards, it is automatically placed as the middle card (as a 1 for the Low hand and an 11 for the High Hand). It sounds more complex than it actually is. If the Player wagers Low and his hand is Lower than or equal to the Dealer’s hand, he wins even money.
Likewise if he wagers High and his hand is Higher than or equal to the Dealer’s hand. There are also two sidebets for Match’em Hi-Lo. One is a 3-card Poker sidebet. Keep in mind, Match’em Hi-Lo uses a 6- or 8-deck shoe, so the hand distribution is quite a bit different than standard Pair Plus. The other sidebet pays on how many cards match between the Dealer’s hand and the Player’s hand (in rank).
Hold’em 3 Bonus
This is New Vision Gaming’s entry for this year. Based on its name, it is probably no surprise the game is based on Texas Hold’em. The twist here is there are three pocket cards and four community cards. Doing this allows for a 3-card Poker side bet that is based exclusively on 3 Player cards. Most Hold’em games that have a 3-card Poker wager use the Flop to accomplish this. But, this means the entire table wins or loses together.
By having each Player get 3 pocket cards, each Player wins or loses this side bet individually. To begin the base game, each Player makes an Ante and 1st wager (of equal size). The Player is dealt his 3 pocket cards and 2 community cards are turned face up in the middle of the table.
The Player may now either Fold or make a 1x or 2x second wager. The last 2 community cards are turned face up and the Dealer resolves the hand. There is no Dealer qualifying. If the Player’s hand outranks the Dealer’s, his 1st and 2nd wagers pay even money. The Ante wager will pay according to the pay table in use.
Additionally, even if the Dealer’s hand outranks the Player’s hand, the Player will be paid for his Ante (and retain the Ante wager) if the Player’s hand is at least a Straight or better.
Lastly, the 3-pocket card feature for Hold’em 3 also allows for a second sidebet that is a 6-card Poker sidebet, which looks at the 3-card Player pocket hand and the 3-card Dealer pocket hand as a single 6-card Hand. If the 6-card combined form at least a Three of a Kind, the Player will win.
If you are at the show, I strongly recommend you check out these and the other games at the booths. If seeing anything you particularly like, please feel free to shoot me an e-mail at [email protected].
I’ll be at the show all three days, so if you happen to see me, feel free to stop me and say hello!
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Elliot Frome is a second generation gaming analyst and author. His math credits include Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Mississippi Stud, House Money and many other games. His website is www.gambatria.com. Contact Elliot at [email protected].