Competitive, skill-based gaming systems launch at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Competitive, skill-based gaming systems launch at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe

Harrah's Lake Tahoe is the first casino in Northern Nevada to feature Gamblit Gaming's new skill-based video game tables.

Northern Nevada's first interactive, skill-based video game tables are now live at Harrah's Lake Tahoe. The two games — Gamblit Poker and Cannonbeard's Treasure — can now be found on the casino's main floor and are designed for head-to-head competition for two to four players. And for an industry that is still experimenting with how to appeal to younger generations, the games may very well represent the future of the gaming industry.

"You don't have to be a video gamer to enjoy these games. If you're looking for something exciting, fun and social, you will enjoy them," said Taylor Kenney, Gamblit Gaming events and social media coordinator.

Gamblit Poker

In this Texas Hold'em-style game, players are given two cards before the rest of the deck quickly appears one card at a time in the center of the machine's screen. As they are shown, competitors grab cards to complete the best poker hand possible.

After one player fills a five-card hand, a "burndown" is initiated — meaning the number of cards remaining in the deck is limited based on the amount of people participating (two players get seven cards, three get nine and four get 11).

Due to the nature of the game, there are countless strategies one can use in order to come out on top. Because the game is played on a screen, cards are revealed to everyone, which means you can see other players' hands and take cards from the center pile simply to prevent others from winning. You can also purposefully start a burndown to force competitors into action.

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The starting bet is always $2, but the payouts range from $2.40-$480 depending on the number of people playing. At the start of each round, a wheel spins and lands on an amount that everyone plays for.

Cannonbeard's Treasure

This pirate-themed game puts a spin on classic Blackjack in more ways than one: Not only is it computerized, but also the number players try to hit is not always 21, and the amount of cards you are able to hold is limited.

The game does the math for you, so don't worry about solving quick equations to figure out which cards to grab as they rapidly show up in front of you. Cannonbeard's Treasure also has a burndown feature that begins when someone hits the maximum number of cards allotted for the round.

When you win a hand, your ship's cannon shoots at the other players' vessels — try not to sink!

Like Gamblit Poker, the payout changes depending on the round and amount of players, but the starting bet is always $2.

The future of gaming

Gamblit Gaming and Caesars Entertainment representatives see this type of entertainment as the future of gaming.

"We're making tremendous progress in our efforts to reach a new generation of gamers who seek integrated skill-based gaming and Caesars is proud to be the first in Northern Nevada to provide this innovative experience to our customers," Caesars Entertainment President and CEO Mark Frissora said in a press release from Caesars Entertainment.

Kenney noted that Millennials grew up competing with friends via video games, which plays a role in the development of Gamblit's new system.

"Nothing against slot machines, but these people want more social interaction — something new and fun," she said.

At the same time, those who enjoy poker games in their traditional form will not feel out-of-touch with these new formats. According to Kenney, Gamblit Poker and Cannonbeard's Treasure are attempts to bridge the gap between two forms of gaming.

"They're a kind of hybrid. We took the best parts of different games and put them together into something new," she noted. "We've seen and observed people of all ages and demographics enjoying this. A 90-year-old woman was one of the first people to play and she walked up, put a $100 bill in and played for an hour."

The games launched in Las Vegas at Caesars Entertainment's Planet Hollywood at the start of April and are also live in San Diego. Gamblit Gaming is planning to expand the technology to other casinos later this year.

"Casinos have been waiting for something different. We're helping pioneer a new era," Kenney said.

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