In our first episode of the TropCast with Anthony Gargano and Maureen Crawley Williams (MCW), we were introduced to Shaq Jack, our new live blackjack game at Tropicana Atlantic City, and got to play some online blackjack from TropicanaCasino.com! The creators of Shaq Jack, Charlie and Nat from Dynamic Gaming Systems, sat with Anthony to discuss the concept for Shaq Jack, what it’s like working with Shaquille O’Neal himself, and explained why this new $5 live blackjack concept is the best around! After their chat, Anthony and Charlie sit down to play some online blackjack and share a promo code that you can use to sign up on TropicanaCasino.com!
Stay tuned each week as we discuss new things going on around Tropicana Atlantic City!
Are you a new member to TropicanaCasino.com?
Sign up with the promo code “21” and receive $10 in Bonus Money that you can use to play blackjack, slots, or any of our games online at TropicanaCasino.com. Must be 21 and in New Jersey. Registration is required, Promo is valid fro new patrons only. All promotion and bonus rules apply. See TropicanaCasino.com for details. Must wage your Bonus Money one time before withdrawal and is not redeemable for cash. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.
00:00 Anthony Gargano: This is the Tropcast. [chuckle] We’re hanging out with our… We’re on episode one, with the creators of Shaq Jack, something that’s been unbelievable. If you come to the Tropicana, Atlantic City, and you’ll see the Shaq cut-out MCW.
00:18 Maureen Crowley Williams: Everywhere, it’s awesome.
00:19 AG: Right, it’s cool.
00:20 MW: It’s huge.
00:21 AG: You go, “Oh my god, there’s Shaq, there’s Shaq!” And then you go into the poker room, and all of a sudden you see the Shaq Jack. And now with us, the creators of Shaq Jack, Charlie and Nat. This is such an awesome thing. Charlie, first of all, the genesis of Shaq Jack, where’d this come from?
00:45 Charlie: Well, I think basically we saw the… When we started, we saw the saturation of casinos coming into the world here, and we wanted to be able to give an affordable game for people to play and have fun, as opposed to coming in and getting their socks knocked off for $25…
01:07 AG: Yeah, MCW, you come in, and it’s a Saturday night, and you wanna play a little bit, but you can’t find a $5 table, so you have to pay a $25 table. And then, God forbid, if you’re cold, run away…
01:20 MW: Like me, I’m intimidated. So I don’t wanna go in and see the dealer and talk to other people and figure out how to play.
01:27 AG: And by the way, if you mess up and you hit on the wrong number, they look at you like they wanna kill you ’cause there’s real money, huge money on the line.
01:36 Charlie: And there’s a true intimidation factor if you sit down at a table and play. What we offer is the ability to play at a terminal, live cards, real cards from that dealer dealing the cards to you, and not sitting at a table. So if you wanna play or hit that hand and you’re not too sure, nobody gives you a hard time. You play your hand your way, and your bankroll, you control it your way, which gives people a little bit… Then you say, “Hey, I can play. I can sit down and play this. I’m not afraid to.”
02:08 AG: So really there’s no limit, is that right? There’s no limit to how many people can actually play?
02:14 Charlie: That’s correct. 500, 1,000 people can play off that one dealer. Live cards. Live.
02:19 AG: Well, that’s cool. What’s always neat is that when we were at one of the terminals, and so you see the dealer’s hand.
02:27 Charlie: Sure.
02:27 AG: But here’s the thing that’s intimidating. I’m sure you guys develop games, you know about games, you know about the gaming industry. One of the things that’s really intimidating for me on an online component, is that I don’t know if I trust it. There’s a trust thing that’s there, but I went and did this, I see the dealer, I see his hands. What’s up, Dan? Danny’s the dealer. I see it.
02:54 Charlie: Yep, that’s exactly it. Yep, because the cards are live. They’re coming out of a shoe. There’s no random generation that is done on the back side that you don’t see. Everything is done right in front of you so you get to see it. And they can’t control it, so that next card out of the shoe when you hit, that’s your card. They can’t control what that card is, that card’s just the luck of the draw. It just comes right out and it’s real. That’s the thing, it gives you a real feeling. I’m not gonna say you’re not gonna get mad if you lose…
03:25 AG: Well that’s always gonna happen.
03:28 Charlie: But at least you know you didn’t get cheated or you didn’t think you got cheated.
03:32 AG: Right.
03:32 Charlie: And that’s the appearance of not knowing where these cards come from, the appearance of it is, “Oh they knew what I had bet. They’re beating me because of that.” That’s it.
03:44 AG: It’s so wild.
03:46 Nat: That’s really what you get the feedback you get from players if they’re playing on an electronic station is the uncertainty, is the game fixed, are they gonna win, is it gonna benefit the house? But with this dynamic system here, it is real blackjack, real cards, real dealer, you’re playing from your own terminal there, making your own decisions independent of everybody else.
04:07 AG: So here at the Trop per se, you have in the poker room, when we saw Danny dealing and that there was a bunch of terminals around him as the dealer, so there’s a camera on Danny, and then you see…
04:19 MW: On his hands. You see him flip them.
04:21 AG: And then so you see… You flip the cards. And then there’ll be other terminals throughout the property? So, say we’re at Tangos doing our show, and therein lies a, “Oh look at this, I got a Shaq Jack terminal and I can sit right in front of me at the bar and play it,” theoretically right?
04:37 Nat: Yep, absolutely.
04:38 Charlie: Exactly. And you can see the dealer dealing. So what will show… Say you put the terminals 5,000 feet away from where Danny is. So you’ll see an actual LED with Danny dealing live from that floor to you, and then you’ll see his hands on your terminal being dealt to you live, his cards and the cards coming out live. So you’ll see exactly what’s going on. And if you want to, you can just walk over and watch Danny deal. You can see that it’s all legit, and Danny can’t control anything. Once that shuffle gets done, the cards go in the shoe, he deals them out. That’s all there is to it.
05:13 AG: And you play… We’re all playing… Say you’re playing and I’m playing, we all play our hand, we all play it differently?
05:21 Charlie: Correct.
05:23 AG: So you can hit and I can stand?
05:24 Nat: Correct. She could double down and he could split.
05:26 MW: We’re just going against the dealer.
05:28 Charlie: That’s correct. You’re just playing the dealer’s hand, but you can play it any way you wanna play it. If Danny deals three hands, potentially, you can play up to three hands. So Danny deals three hands and you can just pick whatever one you want and we could all pick the same one and play it entirely different and have our own choice. And that’s what makes it neat. You control your own blackjack world, and you’re getting real cards. You’re not getting something that, like I said, comes from a computer that’s random-generated. It’s live.
06:00 AG: And you don’t have to be intimidated.
06:02 MW: I know. I’m not gonna worry about the guy next to me trying to hit me if I ruin his hand.
06:06 AG: That’s something, that’s great. Like you don’t have to worry about any of that.
06:09 MW: No.
06:09 AG: It’s a lot of fun. But, here’s what you gotta tell me because I was at the terminal and I got my feet where Shaq’s feet are.
06:17 MW: They weren’t that big. Let’s not uh…
06:19 AG: I know.
06:20 MW: Yours weren’t. You didn’t measure up.
06:21 Charlie: His or Shaq’s?
06:22 MW: Oh, Shaq’s is huge. His didn’t measure up quite big.
06:25 AG: No, I mean… I wear a size 13. I’m like not that small.
06:30 Nat: Yeah.
06:31 AG: And I felt like a… Tell us about Shaq and how it came about. I love the name Shaq Jack. It just works.
06:39 Charlie: Yeah, and that’s how it really came about. Is because we just… Shaq’s fun. He’s the type of guy that likes to have fun. He likes to get involved and do things, and games is pretty much falling right down his alley. So, when we talked about it, we talked about the game. I think the key for him was, we weren’t gonna beat up people’s bank roll, we didn’t want to do that. And we wanted to create some fun, like Shaq jumping off when the dealer shuffles, runs around the games and gives away prizes. I mean, to all the terminals, he can stop by any game and give away any type of prize. So, that creates some type of camaraderie, some fun, some things happening, some excitement, and all for a lower limit that you really don’t beat people up with. So, he kind of gravitated towards that and really liked it. And then the Shaq Jack just worked.
07:30 AG: Yeah. Listen, I know you guys have been in the gaming industry for a long time. And you guys know marketing, obviously, Charlie, you work in that. And so, Shaq Jack just works. I mean, you see it.
07:44 Nat: If you look at his brand globally, there’s not too many brands that have a further reach than Shaq’s brand.
07:50 AG: And there’s something about them. I was a sports writer, so I covered Shaq, I interviewed him a bunch of times, and there was always that fun, loving, kinda kid thing. You always love Shaq.
08:01 MW: Yeah, he’s larger than life. I mean, he’s fun.
08:05 AG: People always love him.
08:07 Charlie: And just him himself, we took him to a prior opening that we had at a casino in Philadelphia. And he came in and we lost him for an hour and a half, we couldn’t find him.
08:19 Charlie: And we were like, “Where’s he at?” And he was in the back playing skee ball with all the employees.
08:25 Nat: True story.
08:26 Charlie: Everybody.
08:27 Charlie: Back there and he was giving them all money playing, and he was having a blast, and he didn’t wanna leave. But that’s the type of guy he is. He likes to have fun. He likes to do things with people and just get them all riled up and have some fun with them and just keep going. So, he’s a really down to earth guy.
08:44 AG: What made you choose Shaq? How did the first time… And your first meeting with him, that’s gotta be fun.
08:51 Charlie: It’s definitely cool. I mean, for us, what we talked about is we needed a propeller, because we are a small company, a little company out of New Jersey and…
09:02 AG: Two Jersey guys.
09:04 Charlie: Yep, going against the giants of GLIs and the side gaming and all those big companies we go against, and nobody really gives us a shot. But Shaq did. So, the thing is, I basically explained it to him and he says, “You know, I like what you have, I like this. This could be good.” And he goes, “I like the fact that I like to play for low minimums. And people don’t get beat up. I don’t want people beat up.” And I said, “Okay, well this is what we’re gonna give them, this is what we’re gonna do.” That is what really gravitated him. And then from then on, he just kinda blended in and just said, “Let’s do this.” And then we started getting too creative. We came up with a rim drink holder, that’s a slam dunk. And then the fee…
09:53 Charlie: And then, it just had to like, “Whoa, we gotta stop here. We’re getting nuts.” So, that’s pretty much how it got and we can get crazy. We could do a number of different styles or games that we can create in any type of atmosphere.
10:06 AG: Well, I also love the idea of the basketball motif.
10:09 Charlie: Yeah.
10:10 MW: Well, it’s aesthetically pleasing. It’s very nice.
10:11 AG: This is cool. And here’s something else that’s kinda interesting is that if you could actually go global with this whole thing. And basketball is… I’m the sports guy, right? So, basketball is this huge deal that’s growing exponentially. And so, you combine that and gaming and you got a home run around the world.
10:35 MW: Well, everybody knows Shaq, and everybody knows how to play cards, right?
10:37 Nat: And everybody wants to have fun.
10:39 MW: Yeah.
10:39 Nat: So, it’s a win-win, all the way around.
10:40 Charlie: It is, it’s definitely a well-put together thing. And now we just gotta get it out into the world and people gotta play it and understand it. The intimidation factor is… It’s different for them because I gotta bridge that gap between a dealer and a machine. So, once that gap’s bridged and people understand that, “I’m playing off of that guy? And I’m getting real cards.” And two, three hands into it, they have it down pat. And then, what we’ve been finding… What Nat and I’ve been finding is the fact that we’re getting a lot of repeat customers now from parks to here. They’re coming down to play it here because they’re closer to here. People seem to generate towards it because, one, they could play for less amount and get more mileage out of their dollar. And two, it’s fun and they win.
11:37 AG: Yes, see that’s what’s cool. Right now, if you wanna play Shaq Jack… So, here at the Tropicana, you got the poker room, and it’s gonna be growing. So, the different ways to play Shaq Jack.
11:52 Nat: We also have a mobile unit that we can setup, that you can actually walk around the property and play. If you were at the pool, you could play live off the dealer…
12:00 AG: Well, you love the Tropicana pool.
12:00 MW: We go to the pool, so it’d be very convenient if we could play up there.
12:03 Charlie: Yup, and it’s perfect.
12:05 AG: So, I could be on my tablet at the pool and play Shaq Jack.
12:10 Nat: From the floor. Live from the the dealer on the floor.
12:10 AG: Wow, that’s awesome.
12:17 MW: Got something to do while I have a drink in one hand, Shaq Jack in the other.
12:20 AG: You have your mobile device. You have your phone, you have your tablet. That’s incredible.
12:23 Nat: Plus on top of that, we’re expanding into West Virginia and to California. We’ll have another partner here in Atlantic City, and we’re working on a couple other things in Pennsylvania. So we’re trying to take it step by step to put the plan out in place and execute.
12:37 AG: That’s awesome.
12:39 Nat: Yeah. It’s been really exciting. And again, fun is… You’ve heard us say that, and as you saw yesterday, when you were playing, you guys were laughing the whole time.
12:46 MW: Yeah, it was fun.
12:48 Nat: We had a great time, it was fun.
12:50 AG: It was a blast. It really was. And there’s another component too where you can… So you lose, but you could still win. Right? There’s other things that maybe you can get.
13:00 Charlie: Yeah, prize giveaways like…
13:01 AG: Like, I won a shirt yesterday. I lost $15 bucks, but I won a shirt.
13:07 Charlie: You won a Shaq Jack shirt.
13:09 AG: I didn’t feel dejected after I lost my $15. But you know, I was upset, I wanted to win.
13:13 MW: Yeah, but you didn’t put your head down in shame.
13:14 AG: Right, which I usually do. I’m like “Oh my god, why’d I just lose that $15 bucks?” But at least I got a shirt. The shirt was cool.
13:21 Charlie: Yeah, Danny was rough on you yesterday.
13:22 AG: Beat me up.
13:26 Charlie: But Shaq delivered, he gave you a shirt. It was fun. You can generate enthusiasm through people. Sometimes they know they come to a casino, they go to win, but sometimes you don’t come out too well on that. So, the truth of the matter is, if you go there, at least you can get something. You’ve got a shot at winning other things, giveaways and stuff like that. It makes it fun.
13:49 AG: Yeah, you guys are awesome, man.
13:53 Nat: We appreciate the support.
13:56 AG: Very cool.
13:58 Charlie: We do, we do.
14:00 AG: When’s the Shaq coming back to town?
14:03 Charlie: Well, that’s what we’re talking about right now. He’s gonna be out west, I believe for the G2E show. He’s gonna be out there. We’ll probably discuss things. His schedule is a nightmare.
14:13 Nat: Especially once basketball starts back.
14:13 AG: Oh my god. TNT. Well, the NCAA knows Charles Barkley real well.
14:18 Charlie: He’s upset over this game.
14:23 MW: I’m sure he’ll try to play it, though.
14:24 Charlie: Oh, yeah.
14:26 MW: Watch Shaq run around.
14:26 AG: He’s probably like, “How come you guys didn’t pick me?”
14:28 Charlie: Yeah. “Why’d you do Shaq, why not me?” I’m sure that’s…
14:34 AG: Maybe you guys can come up with a game for Charles.
14:35 Charlie: Yes, that would be cool. That would be cool. We could definitely do that very easily. We’d have to make it a little shorter and a little rounder, but we can do it.
14:48 AG: Oh, that is awesome. Well, when Shaq comes in, you gotta get him with us and we’re gonna talk some Ben Simmons.
14:55 Charlie: Oh, there you go.
14:55 Nat: Absolutely.
14:57 Charlie: I think he’s well-versed on that subject. [chuckle]
15:01 AG: That’s awesome. Alright guys, I love the game. It’s just a blast to play.
15:07 MW: It’s fun.
15:09 AG: It’s so much fun.
15:10 MW: It’s easy. It’s more affordable.
15:11 AG: You’re so right about that. You could be at the Trop and they can have the real players playing $50 tables, which I don’t belong anywhere near that, and I can go play Shaq Jack and I’m just having a great time.
15:25 Nat: Right, with your buddies. Everybody’s got a couple hundred bucks, you sit down, you play all night. You have some drinks and some laughs, and it’s all good.
15:32 Charlie: And we see the youth, actually. They go in and they like it because, for 60 bucks, 70 bucks, 80 bucks, they can play and just stay there all night.
15:41 MW: Well, it screams bachelor party.
15:43 Charlie: Oh yeah.
15:44 MW: A group of guys.
15:45 AG: Or bachelorette.
15:46 MW: Or bachelorette, exactly.
15:48 Charlie: It does, you’re right. It does. It definitely locks into that realm. And not to mention we can actually tie in all the retail outlets into that.
15:57 AG: Oh yeah.
15:58 Nat: Absolutely.
16:00 AG: I think it’s endless. Charlie and Nat, you guys are awesome. Shaq Jack is it. We’re excited, man.
16:05 Charlie: Same here.
16:07 AG: We’re excited.
16:07 Charlie: “Keep fighting for our Eagle teams,” that’s what…
16:09 AG: You got it my brother. Guys, what a pleasure. There it is MCW, Shaq Jack is here.
16:17 MW: Playing again.
16:19 AG: Let’s go, we’re gonna go play.
16:19 MW: Alright, I’m in.
16:19 AG: We’ll do it right now.
16:19 AG: We had a great time playing Shaq Jack, and now I’m ready. I’m ready to play some online casino gaming. I’m doing some online blackjack because I went to TropicanaCasino.com. And by the way, I used promo code “21” Charlie, I got $10 free bonus money.
16:41 Charlie: So did I.
16:44 AG: You did the same thing, so anybody out there can do the same thing. Go to TropicanaCasino.com, use the promo code “21”, and let’s play some free blackjack. Now, you gotta help me out, Charlie. I’m not exactly the best at this. That’s why I want to bet like a dollar a hand, will that work?
17:01 Charlie: Yeah.
17:02 AG: Here’s what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna bet a dollar. I hit my dollar that I’m betting.
17:08 Charlie: Then hit the circle.
17:10 AG: Then I hit the…
17:10 Charlie: Circle and touch it.
17:12 AG: And then I touch it.
17:12 Charlie: There you go.
17:14 AG: Alright, now look at this. I actually bet a dollar. From there, I hit “deal”. I’m gonna hit my deal, right? I got a four to two for six. The dealer’s showing a 10.
17:27 Charlie: Alright, I got a four and a king, and I got a dealer with a 10 too as well.
17:31 AG: Alright, so you got 14, I got six.
17:33 Charlie: Yep.
17:34 AG: So, I gotta hit.
17:35 Charlie: You gotta hit that and I’ve got to hit mine with the 10 showing. The 10s, you gotta play against that 10. So you gotta figure within the decks, the amount of cards, that there’s more 10 cards in there than there is anything else. You have to play the dealer for a ten card in the hole. You try and factor in off the top card and say “Well, he’s gotta have a 10 card in the hole, that’s normally what plays.
17:54 AG: So you’re kinda just playing against 20. So in your mind…
17:57 Charlie: So you gotta try and move it, and incidentally, you don’t wanna hit past 17.
18:02 AG: Right, right. So at 17, we’re sticking… But we’re gonna give a shot. I got six MCW, so I wanna hit on my six, I got 16 now.
18:12 Charlie: Right. I got 14, so I got a little bit of a scarier hit. But I’m gonna take it anyway, and I also have 16.
18:20 AG: Alright, so we both got 16 playin’ against a 10.
18:22 Charlie: Right, yeah, that’s like right on nowhere’s land, that’s like the dead man’s hand. You’re holding in there, waiting for…
18:31 AG: It’s the dead man’s hand.
18:33 Charlie: You’re kinda hangin’ in there for the gullet to drop. So what do you wanna do?
18:36 AG: I wanna hit.
18:37 Charlie: Alright. I wanna hit too ’cause I go down swingin’.
18:42 AG: Let’s go down, swingin’ Charlie. Alright, so we’re gonna hit on the 16 against the 10 on the dealer and we got a bust. Now the dealer had a 12…
18:53 Charlie: I’m still on the board, I got a three. I got 19 and now I gotta hang in. So now we’re gonna stand, so we’re gonna press stand here and see what the dealer got. Dealer has 19, push.
19:04 AG: Alright, well look, that push is good.
19:05 Charlie: Push is better than a stick in the eye.
19:07 AG: I got the looks over here, alright? So, I got the down, got $9 now! I’m gonna get with another one, alright?
19:14 Charlie: Follow up, let’s do a re-bet then.
19:15 AG: Alright, let’s do a re-bet. So I hit the one and then I go MCW, I hit my place, my bet, that’s another dollar, and I’m in the circle. I’m ready to go. Now, how cool is this? This is online. We’re playing this online and I’m at the bar, it’s a place that we like and a lot of fun to be at the bar and do this. Now you remember you have to be in New Jersey to play online at TropicanaCasino.com.
19:37 AG: Hope you enjoyed our first TropCast episode one! Anthony Gargano and Maureen Crowley Williams or MCW, we’re gonna be taking you inside and outside the industry, having some fun during our TropCast each week. Join us next week where I think Wheel of Fortune could be in our future. And hey, once more, the registration bonus money code is “21”. It gives any new members who sign up, $10 in Bonus Money that they can use to play blackjack, slots, or any of our games at TropicanaCasino.com. Must be 21 and in New Jersey, registration required, new patrons only, promotion rules and bonus rules apply. See TropicanaCasino.com for details. Must wage your Bonus Money one time before withdrawal, and is not redeemable for cash. Gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER. You must be 21 to play on property at Tropicana Atlantic City.