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Oct 13, 2019 5:00 PM

The 2019 Global Gaming Expo has arrived!

I’ve been told that I can expect to see more table games this year than the past few years. That remains to be seen. Table games appear to be making a strong comeback as I recently read an article in a gaming publication that said several of the newer casinos on the East Coast removed some slot machines to make more room for their table games. I think this is good for the players.

This week, I’m going to give a bit of a preview of some of the games that will be on display at the Scientific Games (aka Shuffle Master) booth. I performed the original math analysis on all of these games, so I am very familiar with them. In the coming weeks, I will review some of the games that I get to see for the first time at the show.

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Scientific Games will be showing two Blackjack variants. One of them was at last year’s show as well. It is called U-Turn Blackjack.

I find this game to be very interesting in its concept. Using a specially designed shuffler, the dealer draws out all the cards he will use before the player needs to act. With the exception of the traditional up-card, the rest will be dealt face down. The optical reader in the shuffler can detect the rank of each card and thus can determine the total number of cards that the dealer will need to either get to 17 or bust.

Knowing the number of cards the dealer will have may not seem all that useful, but it is. Imagine the dealer has a Face Card up and then shows that he has two down cards. He might still have a 20, but the probability has dropped considerably compared to just knowing he has that 10.

In fact, if the dealer shows four or more cards, the player will never hit if it can cause him to bust. That’s right, you would stand on a 12 against a 10.

The catch? The game utilizes the Push 22 rule where the player will only push if the Dealer busts with a 22. The net result is a game with a payback of 99 to 99.6 percent depending on whether or not late surrender is allowed.

As I’ve preached the past couple of weeks, do not attempt to play this game using only standard blackjack strategy!

The other Blackjack game is really a side bet. If the player gets a blackjack, he wins. The twist is in how much he wins. Called Lightning Blackjack, the amount the player wins is determined by the roll of three special dice. They are six-sided dice that contain four blanks, one white lightning bolt and one black lightning bolt. At a minimum, the player will win 9 to 1 even if all three dice show all blanks. If he rolls three bolts of the same color, he would win 200 to 1. A variety of combinations exist in between. The payback is about 92 percent and it affords the player a 1 in 108 chance to win 200 to 1 if they are dealt a blackjack.

Next up are the new proprietary table game offerings. The first is called Paris Poker.

Why Paris? I did the math for the game and I haven’t a clue. The twist in this game is that the player and the dealer can each declare one card in their hand to be wild. Not one rank of card, but literally one card. So, a 5-7-8-9-K — that’s a Straight!

The betting structure is a relatively simple Ante/Play like Three Card Poker. If the dealer doesn’t have at least a pair of Aces, his hand does not qualify and the Ante pushes and the Play wager stays in action. With the unique wild card feature of this game, the dealer will not qualify about 22 percent of the time.

Using Expert Strategy for the game, it has a 97.63 percent payback. This is slightly below Three Card Poker while having a strategy about as difficult to remember. The advantage it has over Three Card Poker is that it’s main side bet (based on the player five card hand) affords more opportunities for a big win over Pair Plus. Paybacks on the side bet range from 91 to 95 percent depending on the paytable.

Speaking of Three Card Poker, the next entry is a variant of this popular standard. I think it is one of the more unique games I’ve seen in a while. The game is called Three Card Sabotage.

The player gets three cards and the dealer gets four cards. But, then two ‘sabotage‘ cards are dealt face up. If the dealer has any cards of the same rank as the sabotage cards, they are removed from his hand. While it would be rare, imagine if the dealer has three Aces and a King and one of the sabotage cards is the fourth Ace. Now, the dealer has a King High hand!

The betting structure in Three Card Sabotage is also an Ante/Play one. However, the player may wager up to 2x his Ante on his Play Wager and there is no qualifying Like Three Card Poker, there is an Ante Bonus that pays on a Straight or Better. The payback is 98.23 percent which makes it a smidge higher than the original (albeit on a slightly larger average wager) while adding more excitement to the game.

The last new proprietary table game that will be at the Scientific Games booth will be I Luv Suits. This is the latest entry into the games that only look at a subset of Poker hands.

All that matters in this game is Flushes. Who has the most cards of a single suit? Like the prior two games, this one also employs the Ante/Play structure. The player and dealer are each dealt seven cards face down. If the player has a 6+ card Flush he may wager 3x his Ante for his Play wager. If he has a 5-card Flush, he may wager 2x his Ante for his Play wager.

If the dealer does not have at least a 3-Card Flush 9-High, the Ante will pay even money and the Play wager will push. Otherwise, the player will win even money on his wager if his hand outranks the dealer’s hand. The hand with the larger Flush wins. If both hands contain the same size Flush, the ranks of the cards within the Flush will determine the winner (as in regular Poker). So, a 2-3-5-6 Flush will outrank an A-K-Q Flush.

The payback here is 98.42 percent, which is quite solid. There are also two side bets — both based on the player’s hand. One is based on the size Flush the player has and the other based on the longest Straight Flush the player has in his hand.

The final new product that you’ll find at the Scientific Games booth in the Table Game area is one that I probably never would have expected (except I did the math on it!). It is a Monopoly ‘Big Wheel.’

The Big Wheel hasn’t exactly been in high demand the past several years. Perhaps one branded to the very popular Monopoly theme will re-invigorate the space. There is no doubt that this version adds a bit of excitement to the original.

The player can pick from several property groups to wager on, each one having its own percentage of space on the wheel. If the player wagers on Chance or Community Chest and it comes up, it will cause a secondary wheel to spin which will determine how much the player will win.

Each of the spaces on this secondary wheel come from the Monopoly game itself. Adding to the excitement is if the player selects ‘Go’ or ‘Free Parking’ and it comes up. Besides paying a fixed amount, it will also entitle the player to a free spin (or two). In the free spin, it is as if the player has every space wagered, so he will win whatever the outcome is. It is also possible for the player to win more additional spins if Go or Free Parking come up on that extra spin. Definitely a new spin on an old game.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll cover more of the games that I actually see at the show. I should be roaming around on Wednesday and Thursday. Feel free to drop me a line if you see anything that you think might interest me or that interests you.

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