Hot games wow crowds

Nov 20, 2006 3:49 AM

Last week, I discussed several of the games that would be making their debuts at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas. I was able to discuss those before the public saw them because I had done the math analysis for the companies that invented them.

At the show, I saw many more games for the very first time. Many of these games are already signed up to go into casinos or have a very good shot at making it. Keep in mind that in the gaming industry, nothing is a sure thing. Having several installations does not guarantee long-term success. The following games are not presented in any particular order.

One of the most original games at the Expo was Ya Awada’s Gaming Entertainment’s Duki 4. According to the dealer, the name comes from a poker variation called Koduki, which requires and rewards the player for having all four suits in his hand.

In Duki 4, the player makes an initial wager (ante) and receives three cards. At this point, he must either fold or make a second wager (play) that is twice the size of the ante.

The player will then receive three additional cards to complete his hand. The dealer will also receive six cards. Unlike any other game I know of, the dealer qualifies IF his hand has at least one card from each of the four suits.

If he doesn’t qualify, the player’s Play wager is a push and the player wins even money on his ante. If the dealer does qualify, the showdown ensues.

If the player doesn’t have a Duki — a hand with all four suits — he will lose to the dealer’s qualifying hand. If both player and dealer have a Duki, the hand with the higher rank will win.

If the player wins, he will win even money on his wagers. There is also an Ante Bonus, which pays if the player has a pair or better (with a Duki) even if the player loses to the dealer. Obviously, I have not had time to analyze the game yet, but one thing I do know — it was a lot of fun to play.

One game that seemed to be generating a lot of buzz was Shuffle Master’s Blackjack Press. The game was created by Geoff Hall who brought us Blackjack Switch a few years ago. As in his first game, Blackjack Press requires the player to play two blackjack hands.

In addition, the player will make a 3rd wager called the Press Bet. The player will be dealt two blackjack hands. If all four of his initial cards are of the same color, the Press Bet loses.

If they are of different color, the player will choose which of his two hands he wants to play the Press bet on. Play continues under normal blackjack rules from this point. If the player wins the hand that he Pressed, he will win even money on this additional wager.

This adds a new layer of strategy for the player to learn, as he wants to Press the hand that he is most likely to win. To offset this advantage, the player is only paid even money on Blackjacks, although he can Press the blackjack hand. I was told that the game has a payback of about 99.25%, which is just a smidge below regular blackjack.

You’re making three wagers instead of one, so the loss rate will be even great, but the Press feature adds a new layer of excitement to a game that has been losing players for years. Each time I went by the Shuffle booth, there were a large crowd around the table. I will not be surprised to see this in a casino in the very near future.

Baccarat is one of the more interesting games found in the casino. It is a game with absolutely no strategy whatsoever, yet is very popular with the Asian players. One of the problems with the game is that when the player wagers on the Banker hand, he must pay a 5% commission when he wins.

This results in delays and arguments when the bookkeeping of these commissions run into issues. DEQ has come up with an alternative to the commissions. If the player wagers on the Banker hand and the Banker hand wins with a three card 7, the hand will push instead of win. The net result is equivalent to a 4.914% commission (according to DEQ), as opposed to the regular 5% commission.

This actually makes the game negligibly better for the player. According to DEQ, eliminating the bookkeeping of the commission may result in 60-80% more hands played per hour. They also feel that eliminating the commission will also result in better customer service for the player.

I would tend to agree. In addition, they have added a Dragon 7 Bonus, an optional sidebet, that acts as insurance for this one hand. It pays 40-to-1 if the Banker wins with a three card 7.

Again, according to DEQ, the house advantage on this wager is 7.61%, which is still rather high, but considerably lower than the existing tie bet. I think casinos will like this variation of the game, which is called EZ Baccarat. The real question will be whether or not the Asian players will accept it as well.

In the coming weeks, I will start working on my own analyses on these games, as well as some others, in order to make sure you’re prepared with the best strategy when these games hit the casino floor.