Beginners Guide to Inventing a New Table Game

Want to invent a casino table game? Learn how step-by-step and know what to expect throughout the process.

Guidelines for Keeping It Simple

When coming up with an idea for a table game you want to keep it simple but not boring. If it takes longer than 30 seconds to explain then it is too complicated. You want it to be easy to understand but also you still want to have the ability to grab the players attention and keep it for a long period of time. The more complicated the game is, the less likely it will be that the casino will install it. So remember when you are explaining the game try to keep it under 30 seconds.

Now KISS works great when creating a table game. If you guys don’t remember KISS, one of my favorite sayings…Keep It Simple Silly. So remember to keep it simple but not boring. Now you want to offer the player an experience. It’s good for the player to have an emotional investment in the game. And you can typically do that with payouts, odds, prizes, bonuses, rewards, compounding bonuses and multipliers.

The Right Player Mindset

Now I heard a really great quote that I am going to repeat to you guys. It’s perfect for this. Quote - “If I fool my customers they will hate me and they will never return, but if I give them a chance to fool themselves, they will love it and they will come back for more.” Well that is exactly the same way when you are inventing a new casino table game.

What To Avoid

Remember to stay away from ideas that involve expensive custom equipment. Also stay away from stuff that involves custom cards, or large setups. You want to stick with typical casino equipment. So you want to be able to use the normal standard 52 card deck, instead of creating a whole new deck for yourself. And the reason why is because the casino doesn’t want to have to get new cards every week. It adds to their order, it adds to the amount of money that they have to spend per month. That’s not something they are interested in doing. If they are already getting these cards in, they want to use the cards that they already have instead of getting new cards or custom cards.

Now I understand that it is easier to patent the game if you have a piece of custom equipment, however, when selling the game to the casino, the inventor will have a much easier time if they supply that equipment at their own cost. So if you are, let's say creating a table game, and you need to roll the dice somehow – for example on PaiGow poker, you know how they have the little gold cup and you shake the dice? Ok, so let’s say for example you had to use a little gold cup like that. If you were the inventor, you would have to supply this gold cup to the casein that is hosting your game. So that is a cost that you want to keep in mind when you are thinking of how much this is going to cost you to create a new table game. That would be something the inventor would have to supply the casino.

Think Twice Before Investing

If it’s a one time thing – for example if it's not custom cards, if it’s like what I was describing before where it was a gold cup but you would use it to shake the dice, that would be a one time thing. So if it’s a one time thing, the inventor would supply that to the casino and that would be taken care of and you wouldn’t have to worry about that again. Unless they lost it or it was damaged. But if it is custom cards, custom cards again is something that they are going to have to be getting over and over and over again. That is going to be a cost to the casino. That is not exactly what the casino wants.

As we’re continuing on – In fact when continuing the process, a table game inventor can actually spend tens of thousands of dollars developing their game. They can easily spend upward of $100,000 before the game ever hits the casino floor. A Lot of people don’t realize this. They think it is going to be $5000, maybe $10,000 at the most. But there is a lot involved when it comes to inventing a table game. So besides the math, you actually have to have someone do the math for you, that costs money. You have to have a big corporation like BMM or GLI do the math for you. That itself is thousands and thousands of dollars. When you go through and do the Gaming Control Board, you are going to have to give them an application fee. You are going to have to pay them, and that is thousands of dollars as well.There’s a lot involved when it comes to creating a table game and actually putting it out on the casino floor.

Besides hiring a mathematician to do your math, you are also going to need to hire a marketing company as well. This is just like a product that you would put out in a grocery store. You need someone to market it for you. So all of this is going to be a cost that the inventor is going to have to take up. Another thing is they are going to need a lawyer to do the paperwork, the patent, trademark, copyright, anything like that. So that is another team member that they have to add. It’s also normal for the table game inventor, or the invention, I should say, to go through several different revisions before it is ready for the casino. Again this can all add up. So it’s like when you're writing something, you don’t submit your first draft. That’s not how it works. There has to be revisions. Actually going through the process of inventing a table game.

The Steps to Inventing Your Own Casino Table Game

Step 1: Brainstorm the Idea

The first step that you are going to do is brainstorm the idea. So step one, brainstorm the idea. And you want to write down everything. Do a total mental dump on a piece of paper. Write down everything you could possibly think of. Good, bad it doesn’t matter. Just write down everything. And then after you have gotten all of that out, you are going to filter out your bad ideas and keep your good ones. From your good ones, you are going to pick which one has the best chance, or which one you like the most. What do you think would be the best game? And then start with that one.

Step 2: Draw a Lifesize Version of the Game

On a large piece of construction paper, you are going to draw a lifesize version of the game. Now if you need any construction paper you can find a link in the description below. (Large Construction Paper: Check that out. But also, a typical casino table is about 56” across or 4.75’ across and 36” wide or about 3’ wide. There are typically around five to six spots for the players per table. And that is for the people to bet on.

Step 3: Playtest the Game

After you have drawn a rough draft on your construction paper of how you want your layout to look like, go ahead and play the game. Either by yourself or with friends. See what it’s like. Do you like it? Do you not like it? Do you want to change somethings? Are there some things you didn’t think about? When actually playing the game, especially with friends, because your friends will ask you questions that you didn’t even think about. “Oh, I should have thought about that!” So that is really good to actually play the game.

Step 4: Document How to Play and Deal the Game

As you play the game, write down the precise steps for how to both play and deal the table game. These instructions are going to be really really important later on. Make sure you write down both how to play and deal the casino table game. The longer you play your game, the more scenarios you will come across, the more things you will need to make a decision about. It is really really good to play for a while.

Step 5: Create Your LLC

Now after many, many, written drafts, you will finally feel that you have a solid instruction manual for how to both, play and deal your new casino table game. Once you have that, it’s time to move on to step number five. This is where we start getting into the nitty gritty of it. This is when you start your LLC. Starting an LLC is to protect you. Inventing a table game is the same as starting a business. This business venture – you are creating a product. You are not necessarily putting your product in a grocery store to sell, but it is pretty close to that. Just like you would when creating a product, you have to go through the steps of actually creating your business around that. And creating an LLC will protect you in case anything happens. It will protect you financially. Inventing a table game is a business venture. It must be handled as such. If anything happens and the invention were to flop, you want your business to absorb the losses, not you. This is one of the many reasons why you need to hire a lawyer.

Step 6: Hire a Team

This brings me to our next step, step number six, hire a good team. You are going to need a good team surrounding you in order to get your product off the ground level and into a casino. So hiring a team – inventing a table game basically is like – like I said before you are inventing a product. Let’s just say a ketchup bottle for example. You are going to put that ketchup bottle in the grocery store, well to get that bottle in the grocery store, you need a marketing team, you need a lawyer, you need an accountant, you need a mathematician, you need all of these people to get you where you need to be.

Now just so you know, Vegas Aces is a marketing company for table game inventors. We help bring your idea to life. We create custom design professional layouts, rack cards, custom equipment, lollipop signs, promotional videos, websites and print advertising. If you want a quote, if you have any questions, if you want answers, let me know. Email me at [email protected]. We are here for you and we will help you through the process.

Don't Be Afraid to Update Your Game

Now remember how I said you are going to want to do multiple drafts, you are not going to want to turn in the first draft, well that is the next section. Revisions are key! When an author writes a book, they don’t give the publisher the first draft. Same thing when you are inventing a table game. When drawing out your table you might make adjustments here or there. When playing the game, a friend will think of a question that you didn’t think about. Now you have to adjust a few things. When you pitch your game to the casino manager, he might say no. However, you could get him to change his mind if you do this or that or make these changes. Or whatever it is. It’s a whole process. During that process your game is going to make multiple revisions. It’s really important not to get married to your very first idea. That sometimes hurts inventors. Their very first initial idea, they absolutely love and they are completely married to and they completely refuse to change or make it better. Then they don’t know why casinos don’t want their game in the casino. It’s because they didn’t make those changes. So don’t be married to your idea.

Now even after your game is in the casino, and players are playing it, you might notice that things need to be changed in order to make it better. Again, don’t be dead set on version one. You are going to have to make changes all throughout the process. Even after it is in the casino. So you will give yourself a headache if you try to go through this process fighting the changes and trying to keep it the same. So don’t give yourself a headache. Now remember revisions are the stairway to success. Every time you change something for the better you are taking one more step to achieve your goal.

Give the House the Edge

Next up is how do your games obtain their edge? The casino makes their money through the house edge. When you are inventing a new table game, you have to think about the house edge that your game has. One of the reasons why you need to hire a mathematician. The blackjack house edge is gained, this is how blackjack gets their house edge, is because the dealer goes last. So the players bust and they lose before they reach the dealer's hand and the dealer has a chance to lose. That’s how blackjack gets its 0.5% house edge, because the dealer goes last.

Now on freebet blackjack, the way they make their house edge is because the dealer pushes on 22. So because the dealer pushes on 22, that’s how that game gets their house edge.On Ultimate Texas Holdem, the way that games gets it’s house edge is the player must make a mandatory anti and bonus wager. So they are making two wagers. And if the player loses they lose both of their wagers. But if they win they only win one of them, and the other one pushes. So this is how Ultimate Texas Holdem gets their house edge.

Now again you are going to need a mathematician. The mathematician will review your game, and the table rules that you wrote down for it. They will help you figure out what your house edge is and what numbers are relevant to your game. So when you are trying to figure this out, you want your house edge to be in the sweet spot of around 4%. Try not to go over 7%. If you go over 7% that is too high and people just won’t like the game. You can fiddle with the rules of the game until you get the house edge that you want. Again hire a mathematician for this. Now if you are looking for a mathematician and you need a referral, Vegas Aces can provide a referral for you. Please let us know at [email protected].

Q & A

Q - How long does it typically take to get a game from idea to a casino?

A - This could take a minimum a year and maximum, it could go on for a while, 5 years, 10 years. Now the typical average, what’s normal – well first let me say that when you are putting your new casino game into a casino, only 1% of inventors, I hate to dissuade anyone, but only 1% of inventors actually get their game into a casino and bake it big to the point where it’s similar to 3 Card Poker, or High Card Flush, or one of those games. It’s hard to get your game into a casino. So it might take some time. On average, it can take anywhere from three years to five years I would say. Minimum one year. Because again you are inventing a product. So there is a lot involved like math, marketing, you actually have to create the design of your table layout, print the table layout, you have to design your rack cards, print your rack cards. You do want promotional videos because they are much easier to show casino managers, especially if they are 30 seconds, 45 seconds a minute. And that is an easy way to get your game into the casino. It takes time to do all of this stuff. I would say a minimum one year but average three to five years.

Q - Have you ever thought about trying to design a game yourself?

A - Vegas Aces is in the process of inventing a new table game. We are in the process of going through and doing our logo and doing all that fun stuff. You will see it on the website eventually when we get it up and going and we have the video done for it and everything. But we are going through that process as well. I can’t disclose anything at the moment because we are not ready, but we are in that process.

Q - I need your help. I am inventing a table game right now.

A - Well if you need any help, if you need any consulting, anything like that, we are here to help you. So email me at [email protected]. We will help you through the process. We will get everything you need to put your game in the casino.

Q - Did the war game, which you have done a few tournaments with, ever get picked up by any casinos?

A - Bluff, I think you are talking about? So Bluff is one of our clients. Unfortunately, that game was ready for the casino right at the start of the pandemic, right when all the casinos shut down. So it is in status at the moment. We are waiting to see if we can find someone interested. Because of the pandemic, less casinos are looking than normal, so it’s a little harder to get your game in a casino right now because of the pandemic. The casinos are just trying to survive at the moment. There are still casinos looking. Another one of our clients just put his casino game into another casino, and we have two more casinos that are interested in putting his game in. So we are not saying that it is completely dried up. It is just a little harder than normal.

Q - Love your dress. Give us your best Halloween story.

A - Here is one. I don’t know if it’s my best one. So people wear all sorts of Halloween costumes in the casino and they come up with some really crazy designs and really crazy costumes. Some of them are funny. Some of them are raunchy. Some of them are really sexy. When I was working at one of the casinos for Halloween one of the customers came in and she was wearing a saran wrap dress. So yes you heard me right, saran wrap, like cling wrap. The stuff you normally use for food. She wrapped that around her body a couple of times like it was a dress and she had nothing else on. So no underwear or bra. She looked good, so it wasn’t bad to look at. But she walked around like that in the casino for a while and all of the security guards that saw her were like, “I don’t see anything, I don’t know what you are talking about.” They were looking the opposite way. And finally one of the female security guards saw her and got mad and threw her out. That was a pretty interesting Halloween dress. Halloween in Las Vegas is very interesting to say the least. When people say that most women – when they wear a costume it’s a sexy costume. Well that’s 100% when you go down on the strip for Halloween. If you are like on Halloween and you are walking down the strip you will probably won’t know who a visitor is and who is one of those people that are like, “Hey come take a picture for $2 for a tip.” You will not be able to tell the difference. It will be all of those women looking good.

Q - How long should a game take to play? One to two minutes. Five to ten minutes?

A - Good question. Fantastic. So you don’t want a long game. You don’t want to invent a table game that has multiple rounds, or that takes a long time to get through one hand. In a casino we have something called hands per hour. In blackjack, casino dealers are specifically asked to do between – depending on the casino, 400 and 500 hands per hour on blackjack. If you are on roulette it’s typically 60 spins per hour. On craps it’s 60 roll of the dice per hour. So you want to think about that when creating the game. You don’t want something that takes a long time and you are only getting five hands per hour or something crazy like that. Also something to think about, you want it to go nice, easy, smooth, and fast. You don’t want it to take up too much of your time.

Q - As more new table games pop up. Do you think blackjack will disappear? I see fewer blackjack tables in Black Hawk, Co. now.

A - There is a good chance. There is a good chance that blackjack will disappear. The reason I say that is because blackjack is fairly new. The original blackjack which I cannot pronounce the name. It’s French and I will butcher it. That wasn’t really popular. It’s been around since the 1600s I am guessing. It’s been around for a while but it wasn’t really big. It didn’t get big until Ed Thorp released his book, “How to beat the dealer.” And people started card counting. Then blackjack blew up and became huge. So there are other games that have been around a lot longer. Pai Gow has been around forever. Dice – not craps specifically but dice have been around forever. Baccarat is a pretty old game.

There are games that have been around for a long time. Roulette is one of those games where it is two or three of the old games mixed in, mashed up together to create roulette. And that has been around for a while. These games – all of our basic standard core games have been around for a while and will continue to be around for a while. New games are going to be popping up all the time, and that is because people like new stuff. They like something new and different and fresh. Something fun to play. If people are going to keep having ideas for new table games, then casinos are going to be putting those new table games in there for a while.

This is a brand new thing by the way, carnival games. When I refer to new table games, these are also called carnival games by the casino or by the dealers. Carnival games have only been around for 20 - 30 - 40 years, something like that. They haven't been around a long time in the history of gambling and the history of table games. They are pretty brand new. I think they are a great idea. It’s fun to have new table games. I think they will be around for a while. Of course Covid 19 may change things, we will see. But that is my opinion.

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