Global Gaming Expo 2014
Every fall the gaming world convenes in Las Vegas for the Global Gaming Expo. On the exposition floor you will find suppliers for everything you might encounter under a casino roof, including table games. In that section of the business, you'll find everybody from the starry-eyed newcomers with a single game to the big corporations fully loaded with a whole portfolio of the latest twists to blackjack, poker, and baccarat.
I've been going every year, in large part to check out the new games. To be honest with you, it is one of the few chances I get to chat with pretty women.
Although it is supposed to be the gambling business, 2014 didn't see a lot of risk taking in the new table games arena. Mostly it was a lot of poaching of existing games already proven to be successful. The number of mom-n-pop businesses with their single game or two was way down from prior years. This year, SHFL Entertainment (commonly known as Shufflemaster) and Galaxy Gaming were the big fish in the pond of table games.
Following, in alphabetical order, are the new tables games for 2014.
21 or Nothing
21 or Nothing is one of a couple games at the show by Play Live, featuring a custom-made 55-card deck, which includes the numbers 1 to 11 in five different colors. The company's philosophy is that we've all been brainwashed with the standard cards and a new deck is needed to bring new life to the casino floor.
The way blackjack is played with these cards is to beat the dealer with either the best score up to 21 or the lowest down to zero. White cards are subtracted from the running total, so it is possible for the score to be negative. I can't say it was the easiest game to comprehend, but I certainly give the game makers points for creativity. Game by Full Color Games. Also see their game Full Color Baccarat.
7 to 1 Blackjack
This blackjack side bet pays 7 to 1 if the player's first two cards and the dealer card are all the same color AND the player wins the blackjack bet. There is another version called 3 to 1 Blackjack, where only the player's cards are required to be the same color. Game by TCS John Huxley.
Bust Bonus is a blackjack side bet. Unlike other side bets on whether the dealer will bust, with this one the player may choose to make the wager after seeing the dealer's up card. The pays vary according to what the up card is and whether or not all the cards in the dealer hand are suited. By Galaxy Gaming.
Cajun Stud looks the same to me as Mississippi Stud Poker with a couple of side bets tacked on. By Galaxy Gaming.
Criss Cross Poker
This is one of the few new concepts at the show that wasn't too far out in left field. I already explained all about it in my Criss Cross Poker page, which I wrote just before the show. This was the first time I actually saw the game, which I worked hard to analyze. Game by AGS.
Dueling for Dollars
Dueling for Dollars is a pretty much Casino War, except the player may bet on which side will win, as in baccarat. The Tie side bet pays a premium for a suited tie. An added feature is the Dual Bet, which pays based on the two-card poker value of the two cards. By Galaxy Gaming.
DJ Wild looks like Caribbean Stud Poker, except deuces and a single joker are wild, with a couple side bets thrown in. By SHFL Entertainment.
Four Card Frenzy
This is Galaxy Gaming's version of Crazy 4 Poker. I must have lost my rule card so that is all I can tell you at this time.
Fortune 7 Baccarat
As near as I can tell, this is the same game as EZ Baccarat, except with a progressive jackpot tacked on. By SHFL Entertainment.
Full Color Baccarat
Another game by the people at Full Color Games with the 55-card deck with five colors. This one is based on baccarat. Sorry, but that is as far as I can explain it at this time. Also see their game 21 or Nothing.
This is a blackjack side bet on whether the dealer's up card will fall between the player's initial two cards. The smaller the gap, the more it pays. By AGS.
One of the more interesting games of the show, and I think the only table game with a booth to itself. It is blackjack, except it uses 64-card decks. The extra 12 cards are 11s, 12s, and 13s. There is a side bet to hedge against the possibility of busting on the first two cards. All due points for trying something new!
Match 'Em Hi Lo
This is one of the few new games concepts at the show by a major brand. Cards are scored like in blackjack, except face cards are worth zero. The player gets three cards and then chooses whether to play his hand high or low against the dealer, with an option to make a raise bet. The dealer gets five cards and makes both a high and low hand. If you beat the dealer in your chosen direction, then you win. Of course, there is a side bet in there too. By SHFL Entertainment.
Solitaire Stud is much like High Card Flush, except instead of being based on the longest flush run, it is based on the longest solitaire run, as defined as a straight of alternating colors. A couple side bets thrown in, of course. By SHFL Entertainment.
The closest game to compare Supreme 99 to is pai gow (tiles). However, instead of tiles, the game uses cards. As in pai gow, the player and dealer each get four cards and arrange them into two two-card hands. The ranking is like pai gow in that pairs are high and then goes by baccarat scoring rules. The two high hands are compared as well as the two low. If the player wins both ways, then he wins even money with no commission. The house edge comes entirely from the dealer winning on copies. Finally, there is a side bet on whether the player will have any pair among his four cards.
Three Card Prime
How to make money in the table game business in 2014:
- Find an existing popular game. In this case, Three Card Poker.
- Add a side bet.
- Change the name a little.
Vegas 2047 Pinball
Vegas 2047 Pinball was by far the most innovative idea at the show. The game itself is a very realistic electronic representation of pinball. The cabinet looked like a copper and brass contraption that one might encounter in one of the Myst games. I was told this style is called Steampunk.
The game is also novel in that the player can select any bet and winning goal he wishes, subject to game limits. After the player makes his wager, he plays a game of pinball. As an awful pinball player, I was pleased to see my bet last about a minute, which is about twice as long as I last in a conventional pinball game.
The pinball stage of the game has some bearing on the players odds of winning, but is mostly for show. After the last ball is gone, a wheel will spin on the game, with winning and losing sectors. Depending on the player's ratio of winning goal to bet, his performance in the pinball game, and the performance of other players, the size of the winning slices will be adjusted. If the wheel stops in a winning slice, the player wins.
The game will calibrate itself to how much skill is needed to widen the winning slices according to how well previous players did. This way, the game can guarantee to be not exploited by advantage pinball players. The game makers say that the game can not go above 100% theoretical return, even if Tommy plays it after having been played for years by drunks and elderly bingo players. The maximum return may be set even less, according to the settings chosen by casino management.
By NanoTech Entertainment.
By AGS, the same people who brought you War Blackjack. I'm afraid I forgot to get a rule card on this one as well. This tends to happen when I am concentrating on taking a photo of a beautiful woman.