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Best of John Grochowski

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Creating a new table game

5 August 2018

Introducing a new table game to the public isn't as simple as hitting on a concept that's fun to play, gives the house a reasonable edge and convincing a casino to try it. There's a seemingly endless series of hoops a game developer must jump through.

That's something Jason Kobal knows all about with his Casino Over Under, newly licensed in Washington state after initial licensing in Mississippi.

To get to the point of licensing, game developers must ask themselves: Is the game easy for players to understand? Is there enough player involvement to keep it interesting? Is it easy to deal rapidly and mistake-free? Is the layout clean and uncluttered so as not to be confusing? Is the math rock solid, preferably done by someone with an established reputation in evaluating casino games and their house edges?

After that comes the big hoops of licensing before state gaming boards, convincing a casino to host a field trial and, finally, selling the game.

Casino Over Under definitely falls in the easy to play, understand and deal category. It's a three-card game, with card values the same as in blackjack except that aces are always 11.

As in many table games, play starts with an ante. You then receive one card face-up.

Then it's decision time. If you think two more cards will lead to a total of over 23, then you may stay by placing a bet equal to your ante in the over field. If you think the total will be under 18, then you can place the bet in the under field. You also have the option of folding, and losing your ante.

The dealer then flips two more cards face up. If you've bet over, you win even money on both ante and bet if your total is 24 or higher. If you've bet under, you win even money on ante and bet if your total is 17 or lower. If the total is 18-23, the house wins.

There's also an optional Bonus bet that pays off on certain hands, regardless of whether your main bet wins or loses. It pays even money on 12 or 27, 2-1 on 11 or 28, 3-1 on 10 or 29, 4-1 on 9 or 30, 5-1 on 8 or 31, 10-1 on 7 or 32 or 50-1 on 6 or 33. The house wins on totals of 13-26.

Michael Shackleford has an analysis at wizardofodds.com. The house edge is 2.1% of the ante or 1.05% of total action. The best strategy is to bet on under if your first card is 5 or lower, and bet on over with 6 or higher. Never fold.

On the Bonus bet, the house edge varies with the number of decks — from 2.38% with four decks to 1.96% with eight decks.

It's been a long road to licensing. Kobal said he had the idea in 1995, then in 2004 had he late Amherst University math professor and gambling expert Don Catlin do the mathematical analysis.

After Eliot Jacobsen, in his outstanding AP Heat blog for advantage players, found Casino Over Under was vulnerable to card counting, Kobal had analysis relative to counting done by Joe Shipman. Then, for licensing, he needed yet another analysis by the gaming laboratory GLI.

The last field trial was halted after the Jacobsen blog — host casino Magnolia Bluffs didn't have continuous shufflers to prevent advantage play.

Now, with licenses in two states, Kobal has hopes rising that the public will get a chance to play his easy, engaging, fun game.

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski