Players find new breed of table games

May 2, 2006 12:42 AM

Recent gaming revenue reports reveal that blackjack, while still the most popular table game, has seen its popularity plateau over the last couple of years.

Conversely, games such as Caribbean Stud and Let It Ride poker — both of which have a very high house advantage — have become less popular with players.

There’s no doubt the skyrocketing popularity of live poker has influenced play at the tables, and may have even siphoned off a significant segment.

Enter table game manufacturer Gaming Entertainment Inc. (GEI) based in Las Vegas, which has capitalized on poker’s influence by creating new and exciting table games, as well as innovative variations of traditional games.

"This year, we plan a surprise or two for the annual Global Gaming Expo," said GEI President Joe Awada. "Of course, we have a few new games ready to hit the casinos and we will be concentrating on those over the next few months."

To help market the line of new games, Awada said that GEI has added a new vice president of marketing, Jim Dickstein, and vice president of sales, Craig Garland.

"Craig is the former director of casino operations at the Imperial Palace, and Jim served as general manager of the Cannery," Awada said. "We’re fortunate to have been able to land two seasoned professionals such as these fellows."

Here is a rundown of Gaming Entertainment’s hottest games:

”¡ Mini Pai Gow: This variation of Pai Gow Poker is played at a faster pace, it eliminates the commission and provides more action for customers.

It accomplishes the latter by requiring the player to make his best five-card hand and a second best one-card hand. Thus, the player is dealt six cards instead of seven.

The bonus feature — the best five out of six cards — results in a greater hit frequency for the player, as well as a better payout.

Mini Pai Gow joins GEI’s Pai Gow Plus, which varies from traditional Pai Gow by offering the player the option of betting the "plus" hand (the dragon community hand), as well as betting their own hand.

”¡ 3-5-7 Poker: This wildly popular game has been out for a while and placements have been spreading rapidly, from coast to coast. Its simplicity — a combination of three-, five- and seven-card poker — is a huge attraction for bringing in new table game players, especially because of the poker element.

”¡ High Tie Blackjack: This is one of the new blackjack side bets that have become popular at the tables. With this bet, players in a multi-deck game have five ways to win their side bet, based on their two cards: any pair pays 3-1; blackjack pays 6-1; a suited pair pays 10-1; a suited blackjack pays 15-1; and if the dealer and player both have blacjack — High Tie Blackjack — the player receives 50-1.

”¡ Champion Poker — Texas Hold’em: This is the latest in a series of table games based on Texas Hold’em. It is currently on field trial in Nevada and, so far, the response from players has been encouraging.

At the start of the game, players make their bets and receive two "hole" cards. The player decides whether to fold or play, and if it’s the latter, he places another bet in the "play" spot on the layout.

The dealer then deals out five cards face down. He reveals the first three as the flop, after which the player can bet to raise his ante. The turn and river cards are then revealed, and additional betting takes place.

The player is paid by way of the Hold’em Bonus Table and Ante/Blind Bonus Pay Table on the layout.

"We believe this Hold’em table game offers the best of both worlds for the player as well as the casino," Awada said. "There’s plenty of action for the players, and the game’s easy to learn."

table game players, especially because of the poker element.

”¡ High Tie Blackjack: This is one of the new blackjack side bets that have become popular at the tables. With this bet, players in a multi-deck game have five ways to win their side bet, based on their two cards: any pair pays 3-1; blackjack pays 6-1; a suited pair pays 10-1; a suited blackjack pays 15-1; and if the dealer and player both have blacjack — High Tie Blackjack — the player receives 50-1.

”¡ Champion Poker — Texas Hold’em: This is the latest in a series of table games based on Texas Hold’em. It is currently on field trial in Nevada and, so far, the response from players has been encouraging.

At the start of the game, players make their bets and receive two "hole" cards. The player decides whether to fold or play, and if it’s the latter, he places another bet in the "play" spot on the layout.

The dealer then deals out five cards face down. He reveals the first three as the flop, after which the player can bet to raise his ante. The turn and river cards are then revealed, and additional betting takes place.

The player is paid by way of the Hold’em Bonus Table and Ante/Blind Bonus Pay Table on the layout.

"We believe this Hold’em table game offers the best of both worlds for the player as well as the casino," Awada said. "There’s plenty of action for the players, and it’s an easy game to learn for the casino."