Race to a Grand

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Blackjack has been around for close to 200 years, so coming up with a new way to play the popular game requires quite a bit of creativity and that’s exactly what’s evident in “Race to A Grand.” Instead of pitting the player against the dealer, it allows the player to have the casino’s eye-in-the-sky view of the action at a three-player table, where the basic wager is a fixed odds bet on which player (or the dealer) will be the first to accumulate a “Grand” (1K) in chips. And to add to the fun, a number of side bets are also available.

Race to a Grand features an overhead view of the Blackjack table, where Delia is the Dealer at the top of the screen, Adam sits at First Base to her left, Bella has the middle seat and Carlos occupies Third Base to the Dealer’s right. Each player starts the game with 500 tournament chips, while the Dealer begins with zero.

The basic object of the game is to identify correctly who will be the first to double his/her stack of chips and be “First to Get a Grand.” Toward this end, a “Bet Box” appears adjacent to each of the four opponents. It shows the controls for setting the Stake from €0.50 to €10. It also displays the payout odds for a successful wager. For Adam, the starting odds are 4.36X. For Bella, they are 4.63X and for Carlos they are 4.86X. Delia the Dealer has initial odds of 2.5X.

Apart from who will win, the play may also click on “More Bets” for any player to access additional wagering options. One of these is “First Player to Get a Grand,” which excludes the Dealer, should she be the first. Another option is “First to Go Bust,” which pays only if the selected individual runs out of chips first. Note that neither of these options is available for the Dealer.

One option, however, can be selected for any person seated at the table. That is “Next to Get a Blackjack.” And for the players there is an option to “To Tie or Win Round,” which applies only to the very next hand. For the Dealer this option is slightly different: “To Tie or Win All.”

As each wager is made, it is added to the “List of Bets” at the bottom of the screen. The List includes columns for “Selection,” “Odds,” “Stake” and “Payout.” There is also a red “X” at the end of each line entry to cancel the bet, if desired. Counters for the “Total Stake” and “Payout” can be seen to the right of the List, and in the right corner of the screen are the controls for the game.

Clicking on “Play” will set the game in motion by dealing the cards. The game will pause frequently to allow the player to make additional bets, or clicking on “Play” will keep the round moving. Note that the odds will change as the cards are dealt and the players win or lose. There are no decisions to be made regarding Stand, Hit, Split or Double Down. Each seat is programmed to abide by basic strategy. The dealer stands on “Soft 17.”

To speed up play, several additional buttons are provided among the controls. “Auto Play” will continuously deal and play hands until someone reaches a Grand. “Play Round” will complete the current round automatically and then pause for player input. “Auto Rounds” eliminate the dealing and skips to the result for each hand automatically. And “Play to Finish” will just straight to the end of all rounds and show only the Grand winner and the Busts or Losers at the very end of the game.

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