i-Table scores for Barona
here are a few electronic card tables hitting the market, but the flexibility Shuffle Master’s i-Table brings marks it out as something of a star. Rolling out with Blackjack, new games are following fast,
and it’s relatively simple to switch a table from one game to another; the table is effectively neutral in a sense, it becomes a card table as opposed to a game- specific device. Of course, another aspect of the i-Table’s appeal is
that it has the potential to host some of Shuffle Master’s incredibly successful card game variants, and to give players new bets that have been impossible before. Take Blackjack for example – the table can give live odds on a player’s hand against the dealer’s for a very attractive live odds bet, which recalculates with each card drawn. Casino International spoke to Mike Patterson, VP of
Table Games for Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino to find out how their trial installation of i- Table has been working for them…
Casino International: How many tables do you
have in the casino?
Mike Patterson: 75 table games, and just over half
of those are Blackjack games. We recently introduced four i-Tables to do a field trial with Shuffle Master.
CI: How have they been received?
MP: Very well; and also well received by our staff. It
makes their job easier in many ways. There are a couple of things we’ve done – for example, we’ve been able to automate the rating, so we can rate a player without the floor supervisor having to do a rating. We’ve built an interface between our casino management and the i-Table and now have automated ratings, so the floor supervisor’s job is much easier. Also, for the dealers, the pay-
take process is automated and so the dealers can relax a little more. They’re not so worried about making mistakes and
28 APRIL 2010
We’ve been shouting about the potential of Shuffle Master’s i-Table for months; that potential has become a reality for the Barona Resort and Casino in San Diego County, California
working becomes a more enjoyable experience for them.
CI: How is the live odds bet working for you?
MP: That was one of the main things that appealed
to me about this table. We’re in the infancy of this, but at some point in time you’re going to be able to customise the experience for the customer. Not only from the odds side, but for side bets. At some point we’ll be able to offer a library of side bets to the customer so they can choose the odds bet or side bet they want. You know how most properties when they have side
bets or prop bets on Blackjack, they usually have one or two for that particular property? Customers may have played a different one somewhere else, but it’s not available at your casino; well, with this it can be available. You can configure the display for that particular customer. One of the most intriguing things about this table
is the odds bet because it can’t be done logically any other way than electronic wagering. There’s just no way – no dealer, supervisor or surveillance person could protect that kind of game without electronic wagering.
CI: How did you hear about i-Table?
MP: A friend worked at Shuffle Master and he
called me up to invite me over to look at the table in their ‘lab’. When I saw it I was so intrigued, I went to our management and said “You guys have to go see this!”, and we made arrangements for the executive management team to go and see the development at Shuffle Master.
CI: How long did it take from there until you
took the table in for trial?
MP: Roughly about a year. We were the second
installation after the Riviera on the Vegas Strip; after us, Excalibur [also on the Strip] now has it too.
CI: The flexibility must be appealing as an
operator – the idea that you can switch games on the table quite simply…
MP: Correct. You could have Three-Card Poker, Texas Hold’Em, Baccarat… We’re actually talking to
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