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New table games focus on poker

John Grochowski

John Grochowski

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Updated: October 31, 2012 8:08PM



When game developers create new table games, the first look usually is at poker. Poker-based games usually are easy to learn and easy to deal, and have proven to attract players with success such as Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud and Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker.

So it was no surprise at October’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas that new table games had a heavy poker lean. SHFL Entertainment — the company formerly known as Shuffle Master, the leading distributor of new table games — showed four new poker games. Face Up Stud Poker features heads-up play against the dealer, an optional Trips bet and a progressive bet. Players get to see all the dealer’s cards before deciding to play or fold, and winners get bigger payoffs when the dealer’s hand is stronger.

Raise It Up Stud Poker is a six-card poker game where the player combines his own three cards with three community cards, a la Let It Ride. Three Card Mulligan is a take on Three Card Poker in which players have an option to replace their initial hand. And 6 Card Fortune Pai Gow Poker is a variation on the seven-card Fortune Pai Gow game involving a five-card high hand and a one-card low hand.

Galaxy Gaming showed Two Way Hold’em, where players not only can win when their hand beats the dealer, the dealer’s hand can win for them. There are two bonus bets, the Two Way bet and the Trips Plus bet. Trips Plus pays off on any three of a kind or better, while Two Way pays off with a straight or better in either the player’s hand or the dealer’s.

One non-poker game that caught my eye was called BJ-Bac, from Toke Gaming Corp. As the name suggests, it’s a hybrid of blackjack and baccarat. The game is blackjack, but as in baccarat, only two hands are dealt — a player hand and a banker hand. You can bet on player, banker or tie, just as in baccarat. And there’s an optional side bet on the first four cards out of the shoe.

The banker hand hits on 16 and below, and stands on 17 and above, just like blackjack. And the dealer plays out the player hand according to a basic strategy chart. There are double down and pair splitting opportunities, but you don’t have to make the extra bets to get a decision on the hand.

One tip for players: Avoid the tie bet. The house edge is lower on either banker or player.

John Grochowski is a local free-lance writer. Look for him on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).



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