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Best of John Grochowski
Automated games4 August 2016
That brought several questions from readers about automated formats in other games, with one specifically mentioning Aruze Gaming’s Shoot to Win Craps.
Shoot to Win has been around for about five years. I first saw it at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas in 2011, and wrote about it the following year in the casino industry publication Casino Journal.
There are several ways gamemakers can go in automating craps. They can go the semi-automated route, with video of live dice rolls streamed to gaming consoles stationed in other parts of the casino.
In fully automated games, manufacturers can use animation, with video representations of rolling dice showing players results determined by a random number generator.
Shoot to Win uses a third route. Softball-sized dice sit inside a central column, surrounded by electronic wagering consoles.
Dice are launched by players in turn, going around the column just as the dice are passed after each shooter sevens out at a live craps table.
In Shoot to Win, the shooter rolls the dice by hitting a Bash Button. That activates a big bump from under the column floor, launching the dice into the air. When they land, the numbers on top determine the result.
A random number generator determines how hard the dice will be bumped from the surface below. Sometimes the dice go careening off the dome. Sometimes, there’s a smaller hop and roll. But how they then land is up to chance, yielding a double dose of randomness – the strength of the launch added to the roll itself take the result out of the control of casino and shooter alike.
The result is a game with the same odds as live craps, assuming random rolls.
All standard craps wagers are available on a touch screen. House edges are standard – 1.41% on pass, 1.36% on don’t pass, 1.52% on place bets on 6 and 8 and so on, all the way up to the 16.67% on any 7. Free odds are available, though whether they’re single odds, double, 3x-4x-5x or more can vary from casino to casino.
Bets are explained on a help menu, so even craps novices can pick up the game without dealers having to take time for explanations. That takes an intimidation factor out of craps – many table newcomers shy away from a game that moves so fast and that they don’t really understand.
In casinos with table pits that include live craps, Shoot to Win can be placed in other parts of the casino to offer a new option to those who mainly play electronic games. It has been used in that way in large casinos from Las Vegas to Macau.
It also can bring craps to casinos that don’t have table games or jurisdictions where craps is not an approved game. California’s tribal casinos, for example, are permitted to offer a wide variety of live card games, but are not permitted to offer live dice or wheel games such as craps, sic bo, roulette or the Big Six wheel.
Automated games, including Shoot to Win, can fill that gap. And in the case of shoot to win, it does it with a game that has all the betting options of craps, the same odds as table craps and even something akin to a live craps feel when the consoles are full and players are winning together.
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Best of John Grochowski