UNLV student hits 'jackpot' after developing new table game - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

UNLV student hits 'jackpot' after developing new table game

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Matthew Stream said he has worked in the gaming industry for a while, but he didn't hit it big until this year, when a major casino company picked up a game he developed. 

Stream said the idea started when he would play one of the most popular card games: blackjack. 

"One of my younger cousins, was elementary school age," Stream remembered. "I was just trying to help her a little with her math and so I'm like 'Oh we'll play 21,' and I'm thinking as a dealer, I see adults struggle with 21 so I'm like, 'let's just stop it at 11. Pretty quickly I thought there might be adults that would appreciate this game that feel a little overwhelmed in traditional blackjack."

That's how "Easy Jack" was born. Stream's variation is a lot like blackjack, except players play to 11 instead of 21, and start with one card instead of two. The dealer's card is dealt face down while the players cards are face up. The dealer has to hit on a six or below, and has to stay on a seven or above. If a player is dealt an ace, it pays 3:2, much like a 21 in a traditional blackjack game. 

"Trying to keep it easy, that's the goal," Stream said while dealing cards. Last year he enrolled in UNLV's International Gaming Institute, and he brought the "Easy Jack" idea with him. 

He said with the help of professors and faculty at the school, he was able to take the idea off campus, and to the strip. 

On the last day of the semester, all the students had to present ideas in a competition. Prominent members of the gaming industry watched Stream and "Easy Jack" win first place, and afterward, the Vice President of Gaming for Caesars Entertainment told Stream she was interested in his idea. 

"I was so in awe, this is more than I ever could have imagined," Stream said. He was not the only one who was in shock. 

"How rare is it? It's like finding a unicorn," Dr. Mark Yoseloff said with a smile. The Executive Director of the International Gaming Institute helped Stream with his creation, but said this kind of success so quickly is almost unheard of.

"There's always blackjack ideas, and his sounded almost just goofy enough that it might work," Yoseloff said. 

This summer, the 'goofy' blackjack variation debuted on the casino floor at Harrah's on the strip. 

"The trail run began on June 21, which is actually my birthday," Stream said with a laugh. That run recently ended, but the game is still on the floor and open to players. The Nevada Gaming Control Board will vote on whether to approved the new game, and if so, Stream will try and get "Easy Jack" into more casinos. 

"I believe there's a chance that it gets out pretty quickly, so I'm hoping that what happens."

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