What I Liked about G2E 2017By Bob Dancer, CDC Gaming ReportsOctober 7, 2017 at 1:00 pmI’m a video poker player, so what I examine at gaming shows is new video poker. Naturally, at a gaming show, I look at different things than I would in a casino. In a casino, I’m aware of pay schedule, slot club, promotions, mailers, etc. How much fun a game is doesn’t matter very much. At a gaming show, fun matters a lot. Every game comes in a variety of pay schedules, so each casino can pick the one that fits its overall business plan. Things like slot clubs and promotions are irrelevant in a gaming show, because the games will be found in a variety of casinos, and each casino offers its own mix.IGT owns the vast majority of the video poker market. Scientific Games displayed a knock off of Hundred Play called Hundred Hands, but that was shown last year. I didn’t see any other video poker games, and I looked. Still, I was only able to be at the show for one day, and I may have missed something.Within IGT, most of the new IGT games were created by videopoker.com, which is also called Action Gaming. Let’s talk about those first:The best, in my opinion, was called STACK THE DECK. If you’re dealt three-of-a-kind, full house, four-of-a-kind, or four to the royal flush, the game will place three, four, or five extra cards in the deck that will help you. Let’s say you’re dealt AAA44. The casino will deal you extra aces. Depending on the pay schedule, sometimes they deal you five extra aces. So instead of drawing to the aces and having a 1-out-of-47 chance to draw the fourth ace, you now have 6-out-of-52 chances. In some games, it will still be the better play to keep the dealt full house. In other games, it’ll be right to just hold the aces. Figuring it out on the fly is a bit difficult, but there are only so many types of hands where this decision arises, and it’s not hard to figure out the best strategy in all cases.While this game does require some new strategic decisions, there are not that many to learn — and the ones you have to learn are for the “exciting” hands. I’m guessing this game will become very popular.In FACE CARD FRENZY, you can play six coins per line or ten. These extra coins buy you extra rewards if your final hand consists of face cards — where for some reason an ace is considered a face card. So KKKKQ will pay more than KKKK4. Some of the lower elements on the pay schedule, such as the return for the flush or full house also change, so you need to learn a special strategy for this variation. Changes to the full house are relatively minor strategy-wise, but changes to the flush are critical.In HAYWIRE, you bet 6 coins per line, and about once in every 12 hands you receive a multiplier from 2x-12x, averaging about 3x. That multiplier applies to that line only. On the next hand, that multiplier moves to the next hand, and then the next hand it moves on the next hand. As the multipliers progress from hand to hand, you never know what multiplier it will be (e.g. might be 2x, might be 8x, might be 12x) but you know you’ll get one. Even one 2x multiplier adds enough so that playing this one hand only gives the player an advantage.In Ten Play, most of the time you’ll have one or more multipliers in effect. Should you leave before playing off those multipliers, those multipliers are available for the next guy who comes along. You can bet that there will be players who regularly check these machines for unplayed multipliers.ULTIMATE X WHEEL POKER — this game costs 10 coins per line plus five coins for the wheel. You get the wheel spin for full houses, either dealt or earned (for Deuces Wild variations the spin comes on the straight flush rather than the full house.) Between full houses, you are playing regular Ultimate X, where you earn multipliers for next time every time you receiving a paying hand.Since you get the spin for full houses, full houses are MUCH more valuable in this game than they are in regular Ultimate X. Players who just hold the aces from AAA33 in Double Double Bonus, are making the correct play in basic Double Double Bonus, but the wrong play in Double Double Bonus Ultimate X Wheel Poker this game.There were a few games in the IGT booth that were not created by videopoker.com. These were:MULTI STRIKE WHEEL POKER, from Leading Edge Design, in which you pay an extra five coins for a wheel spin that is only activated by dealt winners on the top line. In normal Multi Strike, as here, you pay for all four lines before you play, and you only get to play a level if you at least get your money back on all lower levels. This requires four different strategies to play this game. In Multi Strike Wheel Poker, you will also need four strategies, but the lower three levels will have different strategies than they do in the regular game.DOUBLE BIG WHEEL, in which you get wheel spins either on the draw or on the deal, or both. Conceptually it is similar to Double Super Times Pay, except you get your reward in coins rather than in multipliers.