CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Digital 21

29 January 2001

Blackjack without paper or plastic cards? Impossible, you say? Guess again, as technologists have married the casino game of blackjack with advanced digital technology and state-of-the-art electronics to create the modular Digital 21 blackjack gaming system. And it's going to be playing soon at a casino near you.

Digital 21 is not a video game. It has a real dealer, like traditional blackjack, interacting with players who bet real chips on a real table. But the difference is very noticeable as soon as you take a seat and make a bet.

Next to the dealer is a monitor. You see and hear the virtual card shuffler automatically perform a perfectly random shuffle of any number of decks of cards the casino decides to program into the computer. The virtual cards are cut by a player who says "stop" as the cut card moves from the top of the shuffled stack of virtual cards to the bottom. The casino dealer will push a button on her console the moment the player says "stop" and the virtual cards will automatically be cut as you watch the video screen in amazement. The casino can program a preset penetration, which determines the number of cards that are played from the virtual shoe before the cut card appears.

After the shuffle and cut, players make bets with casino chips on the layout, just like the regular game. Digital 21 senses when chips are placed in the betting circle and will deal cards only to players that have made a bet. The dealer presses the "deal" button on her console and realistic playing cards are dealt around the table in front of each player. You see the full-size cards on a video display that runs the complete length of the table in front of each player. Don't worry about totaling your cards. Digital 21 does that continuously for each player and displays the total.

In addition to displaying your own cards and total, you also see the dealer's up card. As each player's hand is played out, you also see the value of his or her cards. In essence, you see everything just like you would if real cards were used.

Throughout the play, Digital 21 will alert players when they win, lose or tie the dealer. The casino can also activate a "suggested play" feature, which helps a novice player decide the best play. Of course, you can double down, pair split and take insurance just like in the regular game of blackjack. The system in fact allows the casino to select any number of popular rules and options.

Once you receive your initial two virtual cards, you give the dealer a conventional hand signal to stand or hit. If you ask for a hit, the dealer will press the hit button on her console and another virtual card will appear on your screen in front of you. If you want to double down, you place another chip on the layout and the dealer will select the double down switch and Digital 21 will give you one hit card. The same features occur with pair splitting and the insurance bet. The developers of Digital 21 have also mentioned to me that, based on feedback from an initial test run at Sunset Station Casino in Las Vegas, they are planning to install buttons in front of each player to select the playing option (stand, hit, double, etc).

The game plays like a regular blackjack game except the dealer presses buttons on a console rather then physically dealing cards to players. When the hand is over, the dealer will collect losing bets and pay off winners just like the regular game.

The casinos have a lot of flexibility with Digital 21. They can use as many virtual decks of cards as they like, set any number of different rules, and determine the type of shuffle and penetration.

The Digital 21 System features the latest high-resolution matrix display housed in a high impact, scratch resistant tabletop unit. The entire system can be installed on existing blackjack tables. The box containing the computer is mounted under the table and linked to the virtual shoe shuffler and table unit.

The advantages of Digital 21 from the casino's perspective are many. The average casino spends $500 to $1,000 a month in new playing cards and up to $500 per table for an automatic shuffle machine. Peeking devices to check a dealer's hole card would not be required. Player or dealer scams are virtually eliminated. And the game plays faster (more hands per hour) with less down time than on a conventional blackjack game. And casinos could program Digital 21 to reshuffle after every hand, thus virtually eliminating card counting and shuffle tracking.

From the player's perspective, it's less intimidating with features like instant totaling of the cards and instant display of the player's current situation, such as Insurance?, Blackjack?, or Bust. The virtual cards that are displayed in front of each player are very easy to read. In fact, a colored border around the hand and a message (like WINNER) instantly lets you know the outcome of the hand. I enjoyed being able to see the value of all the player cards by watching the screen in front of me.

Several casinos have installed Digital 21 in test trials and thus far the feedback from players has been good. It's still too soon to say if the table will be a big hit or not, but it certainly is a unique way to play blackjack without real cards.


For more information about blackjack:

Blackjack: Take the Money and Run by Henry Tamburin
Best Blackjack by Frank Scoblete
The Morons of Blackjack and Other Monsters! by Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Blackjack! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin