Recently, the staff over at Aces Casino Entertainment took their annual trek to the "Disneyland of casino games," the city otherwise known as Las Vegas. Now, when you're a member of the top Orange county casino party company on the west coast, your mind always tends to flow toward the angle of "what's new and different in Las Vegas," what's out there now that we could bring back to our many clients back in SoCal?
Well, now -- Let's go find out, shall we?
So, off we went, in search of casino nirvana...we noticed there are a few new table games in the casino that weren't there during our last visit. Surely we could come up with an idea for a casino game, too, our team thought, and make bazillions of dollars from it. I'll tell you now what I told them then - stop right there. Chances are your idea, the one you think will be the next Three Card Poker, not only stinks but has been tried before, and failed miserably. The business of inventing and marketing new casino games is fiercely competitive and only the very strongest survive. (Remember Joe Awada?)
I'm sure you're thinking at this point that you're smarter than the rest and still have what it takes. So, let me humor you with some specifics of what usually brings down new casino games.To that end, here are the top ten mistakes that have been made by budding casino game inventors that have been seen over and over for 15 years, courtesy of Aces Casino Entertainment...
- Thou Shalt Keep it Simple
A good standard is that you should be able to teach a new player the rules in under thirty seconds. It slows down a game while the dealer explains the rules, players won't have the patience to learn something complicated, and the more complicated the game is, the more likely the dealer is to make errors. Side bets should be limited to one.
The more complicated a game, the more dealer errors there will be, which are a major reason many games fail. Usually a player will keep his mouth shut when an error favors him but conveniently alert the dealer when it would favor the casino. Casino management tends to put their worst dealers on new games, which aren't expected to make as much money, and are thus an easy mark when dealing a new game.
- Thou Shalt Covet Games that are Already Popular
Successful new table games take a game that is already popular and add a new twist to it. Namely poker, blackjack, and baccarat -- in that order. I have seen many game inventors try to reinvent craps and roulette, but the number to have any kind of financial success, to my knowledge, is zero.
- Thou Shalt Keep the House Edge Under 5%
New game inventors frequently make the error of trying to butcher the player with a huge house edge. You can shear a sheep many times but slaughter it only once. The opposite also happens on occasion, where inventors wish to release a game with a player advantage, under the incorrect notion that player errors will swing the odds back towards the casino. No game with a player advantage will last long. Well-financed advantage players will take it down like cavemen hunting a mammoth.
- Thou Shalt Not Use Unfamiliar Equipment
If you're going to do a card game, it should use standard 52-card decks. Using a joker is ill-advised, except for pai gow poker variants. Dice should absolutely be the standard cubes. If you think using one of the other Euclidean solids would be a fresh idea instead of cubes, stop right there. That idea has crashed and burned many times already. Likewise, non-standard roulette wheels have been tried many times, and none of them have lasted long. Don't even get me started on such things as spinners and dreidels.
- Thou Shalt Not Combine Existing Games
Do not combine two or more popular games together. It has been tried many times, and never gone far. This is especially true of combining blackjack to poker. If you think you're the first to think of that, trust me, you're in the company of a lot of game inventors who struck out in three swings. Combining two different popular games in a casino has about the same chance of success as Wendy's would have of serving chili and a milkshake in the same cup.
- Thou Shalt Name Thy Game Well
Good names are easy to remember and contain words that are reminiscent of winning, excitement, and/or happiness.
- Thou Shalt Emphasize Winning
The layout, rule cards, and training of the dealers should emphasize the rules for winning, not losing. Any terminology unique to the game should also emphasize luck or money.
- Thou Shalt Remember Thy Casino Staff
For a game to make it, it must be liked by both players and dealers. Games should be easy for dealers to deal and floor supervisors to protect. For example, if you make a player against dealer game, and the dealer must divide his cards somehow, as in pai gow poker, the dealer "house way" strategy should balance simplicity and power, with the emphasis on simplicity.
- Thou Shalt Protect Thy Game from Advantage Play
Some very smart people make careers out of exploiting new casino games. You do not want to make it easy for them. To start, new games should be vetted for card counting, hole carding, and player collussion.
- Thou Shalt Not Skimp on Professional Help
An experienced mathematician and intellectual property attorney should be hired to thoroughly vet a game to ensure it holds water mathematically, will have market appeal, and to confirm the idea hasn't already been taken. If you can't afford the $10,000 to $20,000 this is likely to cost, then you're probably in the wrong business.
Shouldn't there? (Ed. Note: Forget it, I'm NOT typing anything.)