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Best of John Grochowski
The IGT video poker empire14 November 2013
Any Global Gaming Expo tour of new video poker games starts, and almost stops, at the IGT booth.
Most new video poker games are ways to spice up old standbys. One such twist is Flush Fever. You can chose your standard game, and for an extra credit -- a six-coin wager per hand instead of the usual five-coin max, you activate the fever feature. When you have four parts of a flush, you’re guaranteed a winner. The fifth card goes into a rapid-change mode, flipping from one card to another to another until it turns the hand into a winner.
In a switch from usual video poker hands, four-flushes that do not include a high card are more valuable than those that do. In most video poker games, you’d like to see a jack or higher among your four suited cards on the initial deal. Then, even if you don’t draw the flush, you have a chance to pair up the high card to get your money back. In Flush Fever, a high pair feels like a consolation prize. If your four suited cards are all 10s and lower, you’re guaranteed a flush.
Multi Win Poker also uses standard video poker games. In a three-hand game, you see cards on a bottom hand first. Any winning cards on the bottom move up the screen into a second and third hand. So if you’re dealt a pair of aces on the first hand, you’ll see those aces move up into the second and third before you draw.
You get any dealt winners three times. Three royals? That’s a player’s dream that’ll occur an average of once per 649,740 hands.
Atomic Fever and Dice Fever bring a little bonus action to video poker. Along with your regular game, there’s a square next to the pay table. In Atomic Fever, that square contains animated representations of atoms, while in Dice Fever, the dice are rolling while you play. When the atoms align or the dice all match, it triggers free hands.
Also on the bonusing front is a game that IGT showed in 2012, then brought back this year now that it’s ready for the market. Tap House Poker brings and animated twist to familiar poker. A win on the initial deal takes players into a five-hand bonus that multiplies your winnings by factors chosen randomly. Winners during the bonus could be doubled, tripled or even more.
Finding out how big your multiplier will be is where Tap House Poker takes its detour into the animated realm that has proven so popular with slot players. You’re called on to select one of three animated bartenders, each with individualized dialog and animation. Animated beer mugs fill and reveal the multiplier for each hand, and the bartenders cheer on the players and celebrate bonuses and wins.
For something truly novel, IGT introduced Stack’em Bonus Poker. It’s a five-hand game that you can view as having five cards across horizontally, as in traditional video poker hands, but also as five vertical columns. That means Stack’em can pay off not only on traditional poker hands, but on the columns, too.
There are separate pay tables for the horizontal hands and the columns. It’s possible for a vertical column to have five cards of the same suit and rank. That super five-of-a-kind is the big jackpot hand for the columns.
It took me a while to take it all in. Play will be slow at first as players learn to view the cards in a different way, but Stack’em adds excitement for jackpot hunters.
The only other major slot manufacturer showing video poker games this time around was WMS Gaming, with its Multi-Game Poker machines. You can play standard video poker games, or choose among specialty games. One loaded for play at the show was No Risk Double Up.
You pay an extra five credits to activate the double up feature, so it’s a 10-credit max bet instead of five. On any winning hand, you get a chance at a multiplier. To get it, you must choose one of five cards dealt face down, with four aces and one joker. If you pick the Joker, you just get the standard pay table. Pick an ace, and you go to another level, this time with three aces and two jokers. At that level, the joker gives you a 2x multiplier. Keep picking aces, and you have chances to move up to 4, 8 or 16x multipliers.
The “no risk” part means you never risk losing your initial winnings, as in earlier double up games, but you do have to pay to get the feature.
Look for John Grochowski at www.casinoanswerman.com, on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's 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. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of John Grochowski