Mikohn to develop ‘smart’ poker game

Jul 1, 2002 10:54 PM

Mikohn Gaming announced that it has entered into a licensing agreement with Gamecraft, Inc. for that company’s patented Heads Up Poker game, the first video poker game allowing a player to compete against an intelligent computer opponent.

The game gives players the opportunity to play traditional poker with bluffing, raising, calling, and folding, in a human vs. machine competition, as well as standard video poker. The agreement grants exclusive rights to Mikohn in nearly all gaming jurisdictions in North America.

"We are excited to join forces with Gamecraft to bring this innovative product to casinos throughout North America," commented David J. Thompson, Mikohn’s chairman and chief executive officer.

According to the agreement, Mikohn will develop the game on a platform to be named and expects to begin regulatory submissions by mid-2003. Heads Up Poker has already been approved by Gaming Laboratories International, Inc. (GLI). The game won the gold medal as the most innovative gaming product at the American Gaming, Lodging & Leisure Summit in Las Vegas and also received Best of Show at the 1998 World Gaming Congress & Expo.

Heads Up Poker is already being played at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California and Gamecraft has agreements with Foxwoods Casino and several other Native American casino operators.

Darrell Miers, Gamecraft’s chief executive officer, stated: "This agreement is a major step, which will enable us to achieve greater distribution and visibility for Heads Up Poker throughout gaming markets in North America. Our unique product and innovative technology, plus Mikohn’s strengths in game development, compliance and nationwide sales and support make a great team and a great fit."

The unique aspect of Heads Up Poker is VersusPoker, a one-on-one, five-card draw poker match against the simulated intelligence of a computer opponent. The machine also includes traditional video poker, as well as the ability to play traditional video poker while using the same cards to match wits with the machine.

The computer opponent plays with variety and near perfect strategy including bluffing, raising, calling and folding, and the player has the same options, just as in the card-room game. With action before and after the draw, the game is a fast-paced, highly interactive blend of skill and "luck-of-the-draw" (just as in traditional poker) with broad appeal to novices and experienced poker players alike.

Unlike other slot machines, the electronic opponent’s strategies and moves are based on a complex set of mathematical algorithms and utilize the player’s decisions in determining how to proceed.

The game’s foundation is the proprietary GC2000 technology, a Pentium powered Windows gaming platform that enables significantly faster game development and simplifies maintenance through unique pull-and-replace component features. It also allows for leading-edge animation and interactivity comparable to arcade games.

Headquartered in Huntington Beach, California, Gamecraft, Inc. was incorporated in Nevada in 1997 for the purpose of developing and marketing innovative interactive gaming products. www.gamecraftinc.com.

Mikohn is a diversified supplier to the casino gaming industry worldwide, specializing in the development of an expanding array of slot games, table games and advanced player tracking and accounting systems for slot machines and table games. The company is also a leader in visual displays and progressive jackpot technology for casinos worldwide.