Full Tilt Poker (FTP) has broadened its offering via the launch of its first casino games. The Isle of Man-based Rational Group’s ‘B’ brand – the ‘A’ assigned to none other than the world’s leading poker site PokerStars – first mentioned its intention to launch a casino vertical last July after Rational acquired FTP in July 2012. On Monday, FTP rolled out a software update that included a European-style roulette option and four varieties of blackjack, all available in both single- and multi-player formats. More casino games are reportedly waiting in the wings and play-money versions are currently available for poker players who might be a little tentative in their initial forays into matching wits and wagers with artificial intelligence.
FTP also introduced a new Rush Poker variant it’s dubbing Adrenaline Rush. The update takes the popular fast-fold poker product into the four-handed ring game world, where only pre-flop betting is permitted and players’ free will is limited to raising or folding, the latter option resulting in the player being immediately seated at a new table, just as in the original Rush Poker. Stakes are capped at 10 big blinds, with buy-in options ranging between five to 10 big blinds.
Bodog Casino is also looking to shake things up in the online realm via the introduction of Zappit Blackjack. Designed by Blackjack Switch investor Geoff Hall and developed by Customized Games Limited (CGL), Zappit plays much like traditional blackjack, except that if your initial two cards total 15, 16 or 17, you have the option to ‘Zap’ the hand and receive two fresh cards. However, if the dealer hits 22, remaining bets are returned as a ‘push’. Zappit is currently available via the Bodog.eu site.
Also venturing into uncharted territory is the Health Lottery, which has just launched its new UK-facing online bingo site, Health Bingo. The site – which also includes slots and casino table games – launched on New Year’s Day powered by Bede Gaming bingo software and will share a network with Bingo Stars, the Bede-powered site operated by IP&S. The Health Lottery site includes a disclaimer that its Alderney-licensed bingo site “gives 20% of its profits, not its proceeds, to health related good causes.” The site claims this offers punters a better rate of return, but will likely only provide more ammunition for UK National Lottery operator Camelot to portray Health Lottery boss Richard Desmond as once again falling short of Camelot’s commitment to charitable donations.