New Games: Introducing the iTable

 New Games: Introducing the iTable

On the first day of the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, I took a little time to check out the ShuffleMaster booth. In addition to making shufflers, ShuffleMaster is the casino industry’s largest manufacturer and distributor of new table games. At G2E, I wanted to spend a little time at their live game/electronic hybrid, the iTable.

The iTable uses a live dealer and real cards dealt from an automatic card-reading shuffler. The system knows what the cards are as they are dealt. There are no chips used. Instead, each player has an electronic betting display.

The game moves faster since the dealer doesn’t have to make payoffs — the payoffs are made automatically on your electronic display. There are no dealer errors, mistakenly paying off a losing hand or taking your money on a winner. The combination of the card reader and electronic betting gets it done.

The blackjack version of the iTable was set up with the side bets Royal Match and Bet the Set. A touch of the screen was enough to make either wager. When I was dealt a 17 against a dealer’s 8, it offered me an extra side bet, with odds that I would win the hand.

A “warn” mode is also available. If it’s switched on, it will warn a player who’s about to make a really bad play. It won’t give a warning on a fairly close call such as standing on 12 vs. a dealer’s 2 — I tried. But stand on 16 against a dealer’s 10, and it will ask if you’re sure that’s what you want to do.

The iTable won’t take over casinos overnight, but there’s enough in it both for casinos and players that you can count on it carving a niche.

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