Fester’s Findings – summer 2o2o

“I like the summertime when the girls wear their dresses so high
You can see the sun on their f-f-f-f-f-f faces
Well it’s oh so good, it’s oh so fine in the summertime”

All well and good the lyrics to the Troggs classic Summertime. But what about the live casinos, anything approaching the old normal? You betcha!

 

Crazy Time live

June saw the launch of Evolution Gaming’s next big wheel game. Lots of fanfare around Crazy Time including various casino promotions. Justifiably so if you like these sorts of live games.

Evolution reportedly having spent the most so far on any new game with Crazy Time. You can see there’s a lot of effort gone into making the game entertaining to play. Especially when you’re winning on one of the 4 bonus rounds.

What you’re wishing for in 2 of the bonus games is to land on double. Then the multipliers values are doubled and the bonus wheel (Crazy Time) is spun again, or puck (Pachinko) dropped again. With the potential for another double and so on.

It safe to say Evolution were going for a carnival (the funfair type not the procession) affair and they achieved it. Come to think of it there’s also a procession of players in chat wanting a bonus round each spin. Some things never change…..whatever else is going on in the world 😉 .

 


Carry on spinning

While Evolution continue to roll out bigger and brasher Money Wheel games each year. Interrupted only by the closure of Casumo’s private TopWheel Treasures.

Playtech for now are sticking with their original big wheel Spin A Win game. With occasional bonus promotions popping up at various casinos for a few weeks on a spare second wheel.

One change that has occurred, but don’t ask me when precisely…..I clearly haven’t been paying enough attention to the game (I wonder why so) is the addition of extra camera angles. The side-on angles like those you often see at fancy baccarat tables (emphasising a win for Player or Banker) are probably an attempt to reassure players the wheel is real and everything above board. Having started with a computer controlled wheel I’d say any problems they have convincing skeptical players are deservedly of their own making.

Whatever the case, I’m sure (no of course not really) the new camera angles will have players deserting Evolution’s Crazy Time wheel in droves for Spin A Win once the word gets out 🙂 .


Summertime

From May onwards you could tell we were heading into summertime in the northern hemisphere with several themed promotional tables.

As temperatures hit the 30’s in Latvia and across Europe, dealers looked to cool down with cocktails, a gentle ocean breeze, light cotton shirts, summer dresses and even less attire on some tables via Vivo Gaming.

bikini clad dealers at “select” casinos carrying Vivo tables

PokerStars’ Evolution private tables came loaded with flora (the plant variety, not a new favourite dealer).

GVC Holdings brands (Ladrokes,Coral and Gala) opened exclusive “Summer” Spin A Win (see intro pic) and roulette tables in Playtech’s studio. With daily mystery bonus prize rounds in place until the end of August.

Elite Lounge dealers looked comfortable out of their regular 888 Casino uniform.

Not for the first time, Evolution deserve praise for how they decorated Dream Catcher. This time a garden BBQ theme. Complete with a variety of ornaments including the must have essential garden gnome.

It definitely felt more special for being all real, rather than just relying on a generated backdrop.

The background trumpet medley music (think Spanish Flea – Herb Alpert) also being to my liking. That’s not something I experience very often at live games. Usually background music sends me away from tables. You really should have the option to turn off background music without suppressing the dealers voice at tables where background music is added on top of the studio audio.


Majority rule

Playtech have definitely upped their game in recent months launching new products and exclusive tables on a more regular basis.

At the start of June players at GVC Holdings casino brands (Ladbrokes, Coral, Gala, Bwin & Party Casino) got first dibs on casting the majority vote on Playtech’s new speed orientated 1-to-many deal blackjack table.

The Majority Rules Speed Blackjack table to give its full name could just as easily be called Best Case Scenario Best Strategy table. Whereby you wish to be playing either when not many others are and best strategy is applied. Or when lots of “common sense” players are playing and they override bad playing decisions made by other players.

LD’s review of Majority Rules explains how this game of blackjack is different form other 1-to-many (unlimited) deal tables and how your decision to Hit can turn into Stand and vice versa.

“So your destiny is in the hands of the other players? I could Stand when I want to Hit and vice versa, thanks to the decision of the majority”

Player numbers seemed low for the table throughout June. Obviously picking up now that more casinos including William Hill and BetFred have access to the table. Though I doubt many players will stick with the table in the long term.

For sure you can chalk it up as another 1-to-many deal blackjack table you won’t find Fester playing. I’d be more interested in an early payout or surrender type table at Playtech. Which as it happens is just what’s available to Greek players at Playtech →


Playtech privates

Having being asked more than once over the years what private tables exist at Playtech. I finally began the process of an expose of past and present studio tables in the forums.

Among tables very few Playtech regulars outside of Greece would be aware of are privately branded blackjack and roulette for Stoiximan casino players. In itself not so desirable if you don’t happen to speak Greek like the dealers. But of more interest to discover that another new 1-to-many deal variant of blackjack has made it’s debut there.

Cashback Blackjack having being developed in partnership with Stoiximan/Betano from an existing Playtech RNG title. The early payout/cashback feature of the game like we’ve seen from a few other providers looks to be a sure hit. Certainly a game from Playtech all traditional loving players can rally behind in the hope it makes it’s way to other casino tables after a period of exclusivity.

Whilst delving into some of the lesser well known private tables at Playtech I revealed an early development stage PokerStars area.

Were it not for the presence of stalwart Playtech dealer Alisija complete with trademark long flowing hair (before the more recent have you seen her summertime chop 😯 ) you’d naturally assume it was another Evolution table area.

In addition to 9 exclusive PokerStars blackjack tables is a strategically placed roulette table complete with a giant video backdrop wall. I say strategically placed because the exclusive (not to be confused with Spin A Win) Spin & Win roulette game has now opened up to more players within the Flutter empire of casino brands, without players from the other casinos able to see the Stars’ blackjack tables in front.


Multiplying multipliers

Besides the continuing global pandemic, the ongoing trend of 2020 has proven to be multiplier games popping up everywhere you look. Mostly big or small wheel games, or even multiple roulette wheels in motion at once (ie. Instant Roulette). That’s not all though. Traditional card and dice games also featuring in an increasing number of live games with multiplier boosted payouts.

“Add sexy multipliers that operate to randomly supersize winning payouts. Give those multipliers a flashy name like Quantum, or Lightning.”

Pragmatic Play joined Evolution and Playtech in launching its version of sicbo. Jumping straight into the live game with a random multiplier version. Mega Sicbo is very much an amalgamation of Evolution Super Sicbo and Playtech Sicbo Deluxe.

Pragmatic having previously copied the look of the Evolution red baccarat dresses and I’m waiting for some giant Playtechesque lotus flower petals to unfurl from the Pragmatic table.  All 3 versions of the game are pretty much the same. If anything Mega does seem to come with more multipliers more frequently.

 

Given a choice, Spin & Win Roulette is the only random number multiplier roulette table I would play at Playtech…..and there’s certainly plenty of roulettes to choose from now!.

I like the concept of the multiplier applying to all straight-up bets.  Okay, admittedly it does take away the excitement of  your number/s being selected Quantum Roulette fashion. But on Spin & Win there’s no heightened low feeling when the ball fails to land on your boosted straight up number.

As already indicated above, Spin & Win is a shared private table. Available only to players at PokerStars (outside of the UK), Sky Casino, Betfair and Paddy Power.

 

A couple of existing general access roulette tables at Playtech also sprouted random multiplier makeovers:

  • Age of the Gods now comes with the lengthier moniker Age of the Gods Bonus Roulette. Coupled with longer odds of winning on traditional bets. American roulette fashion the wheel has spawned an extra pocket, but rather than double zero it’s labelled B (for Bonus). Each round a new random multiplier value is generated and assigned payout for the B pocket. If the ball lands on B and you’ve placed a straight up bet on it you win at the enhanced or decreased payout (ranging from x5 to x300). All the other payouts remain unchanged.

  • Football themed roulette has undergone a couple of visual transformations at Playtech since it’s introduction at the 2018 World Cup. The latest live Football Roulette now comes with an extra option of betting on a random selection of Neighbour bets (indicated by shirts on the betting grid). The new GOAL bet then has a random multiplier applied after bets are closed up to x100 (and all the way down to a lowly x3).

They done a decent job with the accompanying visual update to the table. But dealers true depth of football knowledge (lack of) remains an issue. Especially noticeably for the ladies when they are reciting information verbatim from screens in front of them and they mispronounce player and team names. It’s unintentionally quite amusing for a while, but it does expose one of my pet hates regarding dealers being fed chat topics.

Realistically why would you want to play at a football themed table when the dealer clearly has no grasp of the topic. Playtech probably realised the shortcomings and felt the need to add the multiplier Goal bet. So now, on top of the football chat the dealers now have to ramp up the new bet option. At least they can talk more confidently about the Goal multiplier and feign excitement when the ball lands on one of the neighbours instead of football 24/7.

 

Local language versions of Quantum Roulette have further added to the number of roulette tables from Playtech featuring random multiplier payouts. First there was a Spanish clone launched at the start of the year. Followed more recently by Italian Quantum Roulette exclusive to Playtech owned Snaitech.

Meanwhile Evolution Gaming likewise launched Ruleta Relámpago aka Spanish Lightning Roulette.

 


Big picture platform developments

With everything else going on this year you might have missed some of the other interesting news items from the last few months as reported by LD.

Without doubt one of the biggest news items to emerge in 2020. Confirmation in June that NetEnt was recommending an approach from Evolution Gaming to take a majority stake in the company. With over 200 RNG titles and customers in the US its easy to see why NetEnt is such a desirable prospect for Evolution. Notwithstanding the far heftier price tag than what they paid previously in acquiring competitor Ezugi.

 

Not so big on the Richter scale as Evolution taking over another platform. But an indication of the way Authentic Gaming is making positive inroads into the live sector was the deal announced with 888 Casino to supply their full suite of games. Clearly rival parent casino Genting Group will allow deals with whomever can extend the reach of Authentic’s live games.  Less clear is where the partnership deal with Playtech is flourishing a couple of years later.

 

So far this year, 2 major supply deals for Evolution in the US market courtesy of existing open door relations with Ezugi.

– Firstly a partnership agreement with icon casino brand Golden Nugget.

– And now a deal to supply BetMGM with live dealer games.

No doubt that’s just the start of the goal fest. Expect more big US deals to follow once Evolution have access to the large library of NetEnt RNG titles (assuming the takeover goes through).

 


Brief table round-up

  • Evolution Gaming at it best

Whatever else in 2020, Evolution have been true to form of recent years. From picking up more gaming awards. Through launching new games including the eagerly awaited Live Craps and continuing to update and refresh table settings.

When I first started playing at Evolution all those years back it already looked so tired and dated. Fireplaces, vases, wood paneling and (being polite) functional carpet dominated the general access tables. Nowadays there are so many great and different looking tables.

Just a couple of examples from this year include the new look Speed Baccarat tables,

and Minecraftesque blackjack tables.

 

  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Playtech’s Dragon Tiger/baccarat dealers have a familiar looking new red dress look uniform.

Wonder where they got the idea from? …..probably the same as Pragmatic ^ 😀

Playtech also unveiling new look speed baccarat tables.

Looking not so dissimilar to Evo’ Speed baccarat table C …..including reversed dress and background colours!

 

  • Live slot games

Mercifully Evolution for yet haven’t copied Playtech in launching a slot themed game. Except if your live gaming experience goes far enough back, you may recall they kinda already had one. Alas (from yours truly viewpoint) that hasn’t stopped Playtech launching another slot based game. This time it’s God of Storms coupled with live presenter. Albeit not the regular game presenters/dealers.

Repeating what I said in the forums;

“At least Alisija et al are spared from talking the hind legs of this donkey”

 

  • Blackjack for one at Betfair

It’s a more simpler process now if you suddenly fancy a private blackjack table all to yourself at Betfair. Just sit down at the unoccupied table and it’s all yours. Altogether a much more straight forward affair than when you had to book a table in advance. All the extra table benefits you could wish for (deal now, shoe or dealer change) are at your disposal and surprising low limit for such tables.

 

  • Japanese Roulette

Another language table at Evolution is hardly a page-tuner at Evolution. But Japanese tables from the premier tier platforms are almost as scarce as hen’s teeth. No surprise then when Japanese Roulette caught my eye in the casino lobbies at Leo Vegas and PokerStars.

 

  • Gold and Silver pay dividends

While NetEnt (jubilant?) shareholders await to cash in on the sale of NetEnt to Evolution. The recently opened Gold and Silver tables have rightly proved popular enough to already see an increase in table numbers.

Extra Silver tables now open adding to the (new to NetEnt) hustle and bustle real studio layout. And so much better than relying on generated background assets, especially when they go so “crazy time” as Live Beyond Live helicopters 😮 .



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