Ex-basketball star launches new table game

Nov 6, 2001 7:02 AM

Former UNLV and NBA star Bobby Florence has a new game in town. The ex-basketball jock recently debuted a table game he invented, Next Card 21, at Palace Station.

“It’s pretty exciting having your own game on the casino floor,” Florence said. “Maybe not the same rush as a slam dunk, but it comes close.”

Florence points out that creating and copyrighting a new table game isn’t so farfetched: He worked for many years as a dealer in Las Vegas following his basketball career.

“I’ve accumulated 25 years in the gaming industry as a blackjack dealer at various Strip hotels, most recently the MGM Grand,” he said.

In fact, Florence’s Next Card 21 is a variation of blackjack.

“It’s really a simple game, one that every blackjack player can relate to,” he said. “Basically, it’s the same as 21, with the addition of being able to bet on what your ”˜next card’ will be.

“The idea started to form when I would deal cards to players, who often implore the dealer for a certain card, such as ”˜give me a six,’ or ”˜give me a seven.’ In Next Card 21, you can actually bet on what card you will receive after the deal.”

The game is played on a standard blackjack table, except the layout is altered to include a cluster of 13 spots ”” one for each card, Ace through King ”” that encircles each player’s spot.

The player may bet on what his next card will be by placing a bet or bets on the spots after the cards are dealt and prior to anyone taking a hit. If he correctly picks what his Next Card will be, his bet is paid off at 10-1.

“It adds a lot of interest to your standard game of 21,” Florence said. “Players can be on one or as many of the 13 value cards as he likes, as long as no single side bet exceeds the original 21 bet.”

The Next Card 21 game was installed at Palace Station only two weeks ago. Florence is hopeful other casinos will pick it up as players become familiar with the game.

Before his gaming career, Florence was an All-Star hoops star at UNLV in the early 1970s. A member of the UNLV Basketball Hall of Fame, he was also drafted into the NBA by the Los Angeles Lakers and the Indiana Pacers.

Following a brief NBA career, Florence returned to Las Vegas where he has excelled as a community leader. His service includes writing a helpful guide for student athletes, “College: What Every Athlete Needs to Know,” and creating an educational and motivational rap song called “Staying in School.”

Florence has also been involved with the Clark County School District’s Community Partnership, and Staying in School programs.