Posts Tagged ‘Jackpot’

Jackpot Digital’s Jake Kalpakian: “Jackpot Blitz is Different than Other Automated Tables”

 Jackpot Digital’s Jake Kalpakian: “Jackpot Blitz is Different than Other Automated Tables”

In the business world, one of the key things to have is a leader that not only knows his product and audience but also has the vision to move forward in that industry. Jake Kalpakian, the Chief Executive Officer of Jackpot Digital, is arguably one of those people. Through his vision and leadership, he has moved Jackpot Digital from mobile phones into the casino gaming industry and, by extension, into the poker arena.

Jackpot Digital’s major offering for the poker world is its entirely automated table known as Jackpot Blitz. The Jackpot Blitz table will be making its debut in 2018, but it has roots that stretch back a decade. With Kalpakian helming the company, the Jackpot Blitz table may make more of an impact on the live poker world than its predecessors did.

Poker News Daily had a chance to speak with Kalpakian recently, where we learned more about the Jackpot Blitz table and Jackpot Digital’s work in casino gaming.

Poker News Daily: How did Jackpot Digital get into casino gaming and, in particular, automated poker tables? 

Jake Kalpakian: Jackpot Digital bought PokerTek, the company that created the PokerPro tables, in 2015. Those tables have been so successful that they are still in use today in many areas. We believe, however, that we have a second-generation table that will take automated gaming to new heights.

PND: Yes, the Jackpot Blitz tables are amazing. I remember with the PokerPro tables it was like each player had a little monitor in front of them. The Jackpot Blitz table, though, is almost like a real table setup.

JK:  That’s correct. We’ve put years of software development into this product and, although we knew that the PokerPro table was a warhorse, it needed freshening up. The way games are going today, people are looking for more of a “touch screen” experience. We thought, however, that while the touch screen was a nice idea, we wanted to try to keep as much of “poker” alive as possible.

Even though the cards are digital, you can still peel them like you would in a live game. The table is more of a social simulation, to be as realistic as possible. The table is really a giant iPad!

JackpotBlitz2 1 Jackpot Digital’s Jake Kalpakian: “Jackpot Blitz is Different than Other Automated Tables”

PND:  It is obvious from looking at the table that there has been a great deal of thought about the player. You’ve even included other games, such as blackjack, to give players something to do while not in the hand. Why include things like that?

JK:  If you go to a poker room, many times you’ll see players sitting out a hand. You’ll see those players on an iPad or iPhone, playing online. They’re playing multiple games while at the poker table. Poker players are a very special creature, they like to be engaged. They don’t like sitting around doing nothing. They always want action, so we’re just providing them what they might want.

PND:  Where are these tables going to be? The cruise industry was big for the PokerPro tables, I remember.

JK:  The cruise industry is our #1 customer, so they are going to be on the Jackpot Blitz tables first. Then we’ll start to roll them out to casinos across North America, probably between January and March 2018. But there are multiple cruise lines that will have the Jackpot Blitz tables onboard to start with.

PND:  What is the big draw of the automated tables for the cruise and casino industries?

JK:  You don’t need to pay a dealer, you don’t need to have chip runners. You don’t have to staff the tables or the poker room, unless you want an overall manager who monitors things, because the table does everything itself.

PND:  What do you say to those who scoff at the idea of automated tables? What would be your suggestion to these players to push them over to the Jackpot Blitz tables?

JK: Look, we know most poker players prefer the “live” dealer, the cards, the chips. With the Jackpot Blitz table, the difference between live and automated is shrunk to nearly nothing. The Blitz table is much faster, getting more hands in to maximize play per hour. There is no dealer “mistakes,” no tipping.

While those things make it great for the operators, we also are looking at making it great for the players. We are trying to make this as close to the “real thing” as possible. The fact you can bend your cards, cover them, play with your chips, we’re trying to give the same feel as if you were playing live. Add in the fact that the Jackpot Blitz table offers total engagement to the player whether in the hand or not and we think we’ve got a good product.

We’ve found that, when we use the Jackpot Blitz tables in a tournament format, it breaks through that initial reluctance to play on automated tables. The players naturally migrate to the Blitz tables in a cash game. We’re positive it will be an enjoyable experience for players and they’ll come back for more.

The Jackpot Blitz tables will be coming out in 2018 and they may very well be coming to a casino (or cruise ship) near you.

The post Jackpot Digital’s Jake Kalpakian: “Jackpot Blitz is Different than Other Automated Tables” appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Poker Players Await Ruling on Stations Casino Bad Beat Jackpot Denial

 Poker Players Await Ruling on Stations Casino Bad Beat Jackpot Denial

When you think you have the goods in a poker hand and lose big, it hurts. But when you think you have the goods, lose big, but in turn hit a casino’s Bad Beat Jackpot, it feels amazing. Now take that to the next, depressing level and think you won the Bad Beat Jackpot only to have the casino say, “Not so fast, my friend.”

That is the situation facing poker players who were playing at the Station casinos on July 7th at about noon. According to a report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Len Schreter beat Avi Shamir in a poker game at Red Rock Resort with a straight flush over straight flush. As this qualified for the Bad Beat Jackpot (it looks like Aces full must be beaten and both hole cards must be used; if Aces full, one hole card must be an Ace), a sign lit up in every Station poker room, indicating that everyone playing at the moment might have just one a piece of the jackpot.

The Bad Beat Jackpot, funded with a maximum one dollar drop from every cash game hand at every Station casino, was up to about $ 120,000, so Shamir, as the loser of the hand, had won $ 60,000. Schreter, the winner, was to receive $ 30,000, and the rest of the players at the Station poker tables were to split up the rest of the prize pool evenly.

But Red Rock poker manager Forrest Caldwell, after talking it over with the top brass, invalidated the jackpot win. Surveillance footage showed that Schreter had turned over his cards out of turn after the river card was dealt. According to the Bad Beat Jackpot promotion’s rules, “discussion of hands during the play by players, at the discretion of management, may void a Jumbo Hold ‘Em Jackpot,” and management interpreted Schreter’s action as discussion of the hand.

Players asked the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) to review the case and investigator Bill Olliges determined that Schreter’s action did not affect the outcome of the hand, so the Bad Beat Jackpot should be paid out.

Station appealed and a hearing was held last week where Station presented its case. While the video footage made it obvious that Schreter had shown his cards before he was supposed to, the LVRJ report does not say whether or not the betting had occurred as such so as to make his action inconsequential.

If Shamir was already all-in (and other players had folded), Schreter showing his cards didn’t matter. If Shamir still had chips and therefore was going to need to make some sort of decision in the hand, Schreter showing he had the best straight flush definitely made a difference. Without knowledge of Schreter’s hand, there was no way Shamir was going to fold.

Since Olliges had already ruled that Schreter’s enthusiastic reveal did not affect the outcome, it seems like Shamir had no further opportunity to act in the hand, but the LVRJ report does not make that clear.

For his part, Schreter feels terrible about everything.

“I was hurt emotionally by Red Rock, but this guy [Shamir] was hurt financially,” he said in his testimony. “Red Rock kicked me in the stomach, but Red Rock kicked him in a place a lot lower than that.”

Michael Bluestein, who was playing at Santa Fe Station when the bad beat happened and would therefore be due a small portion of the jackpot, said at the hearing that the motivation for Station not to pay out was “pure greed.”

It does seem odd that Station would get so uptight about paying out a Bad Beat Jackpot that was funded by a drop the players paid in cash games. The payout is not coming from Station’s coffers. The only real reason one could think of for not paying is that the giant jackpot amount attracted more players and Station didn’t want to see its poker room traffic decrease with a reset jackpot.

Then again, by being so shitty about it, Station might lose customers, anyway.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal says the NGCB will likely consider hearing officer’s recommendation when it meets January 10th and 11th.

The post Poker Players Await Ruling on Stations Casino Bad Beat Jackpot Denial appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Can Jackpot Digital Change Minds Regarding Automated Poker Tables?

 Can Jackpot Digital Change Minds Regarding Automated Poker Tables?

One of the things that can be said about poker players is they are set in their ways. Perhaps it is because of the nature of the game, doing things with a certain repetition as to not give up any information, that causes this staid nature. It can be seen in some poker player’s reactions to what is an eventuality in the world of casino games, the move towards automation.

Check out any gaming convention around the world and see just what is being put out as the “next big thing” in casino gaming. It is automated tables, using video games and/or video production instead of putting physical gaming product (dice, cards, chips, etc.) on the floor. Blackjack games are becoming digitalized, with no cards or chips in sight, and other games like baccarat and roulette are also moving in that direction. While this may have been a recent phenomenon, there’s a company that has been long involved in the process who is looking to take that same step with the automation of poker tables.

Jackpot Digital was founded in 1999 and has been at the forefront of digital gaming. In the past, that has been more about mobile gaming, with a host of games adapted for cellphones and tablets. Instead of just developing the software for these games, Jackpot Digital is now taking the next step in the casino gaming world.

Jackpot Digital made its initial foray into the poker world with a 2015 deal. Jackpot Digital purchased PokerTek, the company responsible for one of the first automated tables in poker rooms around the world. The PokerPro computerized table basically had a video screen in front of each of its 10 seats, with a master screen in the center that showed the board cards. On each player’s terminal, they would receive their hole cards and all the needed information (chip stack, stakes, pot size) and be able to make their play.

But that wasn’t good enough for Jake Kalpakian, the Chief Executive Officer of Jackpot Digital, who set off to create his vision. “Picture players sitting at a table that’s basically a giant iPad,” Kalpakian stated to Poker News Daily in a recent interview. It appears that with Jackpot Digital’s latest creation they have advanced automated poker tables to a new level, perhaps one that players will be willing to accept this time around.

Called Jackpot Blitz, the ten-handed automated poker table is exactly as Kalpakian has envisioned, making the PokerPro table look antiquated in comparison. Instead of the individual screens, the entire table is not only the video screen but also the playing board, with the cards dealt out across the table like they would be in a live setting. Players can riff their virtual chips and squeeze out their cards in much the same manner that they would on a physical setup, and the entirety of the action is automated.

This isn’t the only advancement that Jackpot Digital has made with their Jackpot Blitz table. With downtime at the tables an issue, Jackpot Digital has implemented other casino games that a player can get into until the next hand is dealt. The tables offer a wealth of positives for players – no dealers to tip, maximization of hands dealt, ways to pass the time at the tables…what could ever be the problem?

This is where we get back to how poker players are “set in their ways.” When the PokerTek tables came out, they were well received in some areas, such as cruise ships where carrying extra staff to work a poker table wasn’t financially advantageous to the ship owners. There was an initial rush in the poker rooms of Las Vegas – the Mandalay Bay at one point shifted all its tables to the PokerPro product – but they gradually dropped to the side as players, faced with the option of “live” and “virtual,” opted for the live action.

But the times are rapidly changing. Those that have picked up the game since the turn of the century might be more likely to enjoy the Jackpot Blitz table. One of the major criticisms from the “younger” generation regarding poker is that there are long periods without action. With the Jackpot Blitz tables, these players who need to be constantly stimulated electronically could get what they want.

A recent discussion on a Facebook forum pointed out this dichotomy. When players were asked about their experiences with the older automated tables, the responses ran the gamut. Players either “hated it,” thought that it was “better than nothing” (respondent was on a cruise) or enjoyed the play on the tables, calling it “awesome.”

It does seem that the jury is still out on automated poker tables, but that could very well change with the Jackpot Blitz table. We’ll learn more about the product when we talk with Kalpakian in a future interview.

The post Can Jackpot Digital Change Minds Regarding Automated Poker Tables? appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Bovada Launches Jackpot Sit & Go’s

 Bovada Launches Jackpot Sit & Go’s

It took long enough, but Bovada Poker finally joined the year 2017 and launched its own version of the Lottery Sit & Go called Jackpot Sit & Go. Actually, I shouldn’t be harsh in such a sarcastic tone, as Bovada only recently brought its online poker room back to life after selling it to Ignition Casino, so I suppose this was really pretty quick work on Bovada’s part.

The Jackpot Sit & Go doesn’t really vary much any other poker offering of its type. It is three-handed, blinds go up quickly, stacks are short, and the winner takes the entire prize pool except in instances where that prize pool is excessively large. And, as usual, the prize pool is determined by a random spin before the game starts, calculated as a multiple of the buy-in.

The table of possible prize pool multiples and their buy-ins:

2x – 74,995 in 100,000
5x – 24,887 in 100,000
15x – 105 in 100,000
120x – 9 in 100,000
240x – 3 in 100,000
1,200x – 1 in 100,000

So, most of the time – virtually all the time, really, the prize for a Jackpot Sit & Go on Bovada is going to be either twice or five times the buy-in. With the rest of the prize possibilities amounting to just 118 chances in 100,000, there really is not much point to even hoping for any of them, even the 15x prize multiplier.

The natural comparison for Bovada’s Jackpot Sit & Go will be to PokerStars’ Spin & Go. They really are quite similar, with the prizes being the main difference. PokerStars has eight prize multiplier tiers for their Spin & Go’s, while Bovada has just six for Jackpot. The primary variation is that PokerStars’ extra tiers come in the middle, with 6x, 10x, and 25x instead of Bovada’s 15x.

PokerStars also varies its prize multiplier probabilities based on the Spin & Go buy-in, whereas Bovada uses just one probability table for all of its Jackpot Sit & Go’s.

Speaking of buy-ins, Bovada Jackpot Sit & Go’s $ 2, $ 7, $ 15, and $ 30. PokerStars, again with the comparison, has more on the micro-stakes end and more on the high stakes end. But that makes sense, since Pokerstars is the largest online poker room in the world and naturally will have the players that can fill games at a wide range of stakes.

But at every poker room, most players sit at the lower stakes, and Bovada’s rake is better than PokerStars’ at the small stakes end of the spectrum. The rake at Bovada Jackpot Sit & Go’s is 7 percent all the way around, whereas it starts at 8 percent on PokerStars at the lowest three buy-in tiers and decreases from there.

On a final note, as frankly, this comparison of Bovada’s and PokerStars’ Lottery Sit & Go offerings is getting a bit tiresome, Bovada is not awarding loyalty points for Jackpot games, although that is qualified with a “for the moment” clause. So, I guess we should expect to get those points sometime in the future.

The post Bovada Launches Jackpot Sit & Go’s appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily