Colorado dealer designs new rules for Blackjack - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Colorado dealer designs new rules for Blackjack

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The Colorado Gaming Commission Thursday approved a new way to play Blackjack.  It's called Blackjack Burnout and was created by Colorado Native Angel Espino who works as a dealer in Black Hawk. The game gives players a second chance to protect their wager by "burning" a card they don't like.

Consider this scenario: you place your bet and receive Jack and 4 from the dealer who has a 10 card showing. If you stay, there's little chance of beating his hand. But if you hit, you risk being dealt a 10 and busting. Under the burnout rules, you can "burn" that bust card and get a new one from the dealer.

"You're not stuck with the cards you're given," Espino explained. "Now you can make decisions.Usually, you didn't have that."

Espino said avoiding a bust isn't the only advantage under these new rules.

"It could be like on 11 and you double down and instead of getting that 10, you get like a two, which happens to me all the time," Espino said. "You can say, you know what, I don't like that 2. Burn that 2 and give me another card."

Players can only burn one card per hand and they must play the next card that is dealt. However, Espino said says even with those restrictions, players have a 17.4 percent advantage over the house if the stick to the optimal play strategy.  So, why would casinos even offer it?

"The only way we could make it fair for the house is we charge a 20 percent fee."

For every $5 chip on the table, you must pay a $1 fee to the house to use the burnout option.

The Saratoga Casino in Black Hawk was the first to give Blackjack Burnout a trial run.  Gaming Operations Director Dan Holom said as a smaller casino, they frequently look for new games to offer their players.

"You know, 3 card poker, Texas Hold 'em, stuff like that, these games have kind of been trending upwards," Holom said. "Blackjack's been dying over the last four years. There haven't been any new exciting games."

He hopes that Blackjack Burnout can spark some renewed interest in the game. 

Espino introduced the idea along with a burnout version of Texas Hold Em at the "Cutting Edge Table Games Conference" in Las Vegas last year.

"It's already catching on. I'm getting calls from people in Nevada, all of the country, New Mexico, New Jersey, California," Espino said.

As the inventor of the game, Espino can earn royalties from casinos that pick it up.  For now, Blackjack Burnout is only offered at the Saratoga and Golden Gates casinos in Black Hawk and at Johnny Z's casino in Central City.

The new rules must be reviewed by the Attorney Generals office before other casinos around the state could begin offering the game. That review is likely to occur early in 2018.

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