The largest casino gaming convention of 2018 recently came to a close. It was an event that should excite online blackjack players and also those who like to play 21 in a live casino. Many new variations of blackjack were introduced at the event, and some of them could be making their way to your favorite online casino or live gaming venue soon. Here is a look at G2E and these exciting developments in blackjack.
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G2E is the short name for the Global Gaming Expo. This event brings together casino executives from around the world to explore and discuss new innovations in the online and offline gaming industries. In recent years there has been an added emphasis on online casino gaming as this type of wagering is being legalized in many parts of the world. This includes US jurisdictions like Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
G2E bills itself as an event that was “created for the industry by the industry.” It is attended each year by the biggest names in casino gambling entertainment. This year’s event was held on October 15-17 in Las Vegas. It featured educational sessions, demonstrations of new games, and a lot of fun between casino executives. The festivities usually go on late into the night as professionals break off into small groups for individual parties.
One of the highlights of the Global Gaming Expo each year is the introduction of new casino games from various game developers. At the 2018 conference, blackjack and Pai Gow seemed to be the two most popular presentations. This could be a good sign for blackjack, which has seen its popularity forced to compete with rising interest in baccarat.
While the games presented at the conference are specifically designed for live casino venues, there is still a possibility that many of the blackjack variations will end up at an online casino. The trend always seems to be for new games to get a trial in a live casino first before making their way to an online version. Here are some of the blackjack variations that could soon be coming to your favorite live or online casino.
Many of those who reviewed U-turn Blackjack after seeing it at the G2E conference proclaim that it is unlike any other variation of the game they have ever seen. This game turns traditional blackjack upside down by making the dealer act first on their hand. In regular blackjack the house edge has always depended heavily upon the player’s requirement to act first.
U-turn Blackjack uses an optical card reader to determine what the dealer has. The use of the optical reader determines how many cards the dealer will have to draw to reach 17 or to bust. So, the dealer will have one up card as usual, but the number of face down cards held by the dealer will reflect the number of times he had to draw to reach 17 or bust.
Think of it this way. The dealer shows a 7 as his up card. The shuffler then dealer the dealer just one face down card. The player would then know that the dealer must have either a 17 or an 18 total because the shuffler has stopped dealing. Since you cannot bust a seven, the dealer has reached a hand on which they must stop. This means that the face down card is either an Ace or a 10-value card. While it may sound complicated while reading about it, pretty soon the player will learn to recognize when the dealer has a good hand and when they have likely busted. This is a huge advantage for the smart blackjack player.
Of course, no casino is going to buy into a blackjack game like this without some way of lowering the player advantage. The way this is done in U-turn Blackjack is with a Push 22 rule. The Push 22 rule means that anytime the dealer busts with 22 all players who haven’t busted their own hands will push instead of win. This brings the house edge back up again, but the overall payback of the game is still above 99% in most cases.
Other Blackjack Games Appearing at G2E
There were two other variations of blackjack that made an appearance at G2E. These games are called Zappit Blackjack and Zombie Blackjack.
In Zappit Blackjack the player has a chance to “zap” their hand. If the initial hand of the player totals 15, 16, 17, or 18, the player can choose to discard the hand and receive a different one. This action can only be used one time per hand. The 15 and 16 would be an automatic zap in most cases. Zapping the 17 or 18 would be dependent upon the dealer’s upcard. If it were a 9 or a 10, a zap might give the player another chance to be dealt a 20 or a blackjack.
Zombie Blackjack gives the player’s dead hand a chance to live again. If the player busts and the dealer has a 7-A as an upcard, the player still wins if the dealer busts with a 23-26. It’s a slim proposition, but like its name suggest it breathes some life into a hand that is cold.
Both of these games use the same Push 22 structure to balance out the house edge. Still, these games are worth a look by the serious blackjack player.
U-turn Blackjack, Zappit Blackjack, and Zombie Blackjack are not yet present in online casinos, but this could soon change. Be sure to keep an eye on Counting Edge. We will post a detailed review of these new games when they appear online.