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2006 Global Gaming Expo Report - Part 716 January 2007
When table games designers show their latest and greatest each year at the Global Gaming Expo, the games tend to fall into two categories: games based on blackjack, and games based on stud poker.
Ya Awada of Gaming Entertainment Inc. doesn't shy from either of those categories, with his 3-5-7 Poker and High-Tie Blackjack being among the games that have found casino niches. But he doesn't shy away from something putting a fresh twist on the games, something I had reaffirmed when I approached the GEI booth at the expo.
"John, come here," Awada called out, guiding me toward a game called Duki 4 Poker. "I want you to tell me what you think of this game."
What's a Duki? One card in each suit. That's where the emphasis is in this game, on collecting a heart, club diamond and spade.
Play starts with the player making an ante bet, a Duki bonus bet, or both. Each player and the dealer then receive three cards face down. The player then must decide whether to fold, or play with a wager double the ante. The bonus bet remains in play even if the player folds.
Players then receive another three cards each, look at their hands and place their cards on the table. The player must have a Duki --- one card in each suit --- to win the bonus bet. That's paid according to a pay table, with four of a kind being the highest ranking hand. In play against the dealer, players win just their antes if the dealer doesn't have a Duki to qualify, but win both ante and bet if their Duki outranks the dealer's Duki. The house edge: 3.7 percent of the ante or 1.85 percent of the ante-bet combination on basic play --- a tad lower than the house edge vs. total action in Caribbean Stud or Let It Ride.
"How did you like it?" Awada asked, and I had to tell him, I had a good time in the dozen or so sample hands I played. Duki 4 was fun.
Progressive Gaming, owner of Caribbean Stud and other games with progressive jackpots, showed a number new games, as usual. A blackjack side bet called Blackjack Bullets pays off on Aces --- the more Aces dealt in a row, the bigger the bonus. A single Ace on either of the first two cards pays 3-1, with payoffs climbing to 15-1 on two unsuited Aces in a 75-1 on two suited Aces, and so on, up to a 12,500-1 bonanza on four consecutive Aces of the same color.
Another blackjack side bet from Progressive tries a craps twist. It's called Field Gold 21, and the winners are the totals that would be winners in the field if you were throwing the dice --- 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12. Aces are always counted as 1 for purposes of the side bet. Payoffs start at even money for a two-card 11 or 12 --- and those who make the bets will be grateful for the odd winner 12 --- and rise to 25-1 on a suited Ace-Jack. The price is high, though, with a house edge of 5.66 percent in a six-deck game.
The other table games giant, Shuffle Master, showed a game of streaks with Hit and Run. You receive two cards face up, while the dealer receives one. If your second card is lower than your first, you bust. If your second card is higher, you can either stand or take another card. You can keep taking cards as long as each card you draw outranks the previous card --- a lower card busts you. If you stand with a streak intact, the dealer draws cards until he or she busts. If your streak is longer, you win, and the bigger the difference in streaks, the bigger your winnings.
Smaller game developers were at the show, too, with Jeff Cohen, Cindy Kappenman and Paul Flowers displaying their game Players Choice Blackjack. This is one for everyone who thinks they'd be better off betting on the dealer's hand. In front of each player are two diamonds, marked "P" for player and "D" for dealer. Bet on player, and you play just like regular blackjack. Bet on dealer, and you're betting the dealer hand wins. The player hand then must be played according to set rules, with no double downs or pair splits, hitting on soft 17 and under and standing on hard 17 and over. With rules restricting player options, a bet on "D" carries a house edge of 4.09 percent.
One thing to remember about new table games is that they're much slower to spread onto casino floors than are new slot games. Much more floor space is devoted to slots, and old standbys such as blackjack, craps and roulette always dominate the table pits. Still, I look forward to relaxing over a few hands of Duki 4 between blackjack sessions.
Listen to John Grochowski's "Beat the Odds" tips Saturdays at 6:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 7:41 p.m. and Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM-AM, News Radio 780 in Chicago, streaming online at www.wbbm780.com, and to his casino talk show from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday on WCKG-FM (105.9), streaming at http://1059freefm.com.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network, John Robison managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network.
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