Few casino game software designers release as many classic titles as Microgaming, and it’s safe to say that none produce them with the same variety of features. While their competitors focus on poker machines with licensed themes, 3D graphics, complex plots, and HD displays, Microgaming has carved out a niche for themselves as a producer of the kind of traditional titles that still have a large following.
Poker machines with three reels and a single pay line (or three lines at the most) are usually described and categorized as “traditional” or “classic”. These games tend to have few features like bonus games and video clips common on modern pokies found at online and land-based casinos alike. Microgaming’s large library of titles (including plenty with ultra-modern features not found on these classic games) gives them the flexibility to cater to gamblers who prefer the rules and design of early purely mechanical pokies.
Blackjack Bonanza is a three reel classic pokie with a single pay line – it has no bonus games, no progressive jackpots, no scatter symbol, and a theme that’s barely there at all. It does have a couple of modern features – a wild multiplier symbol, a three-tiered pay table based on the size of player’s bets, and a large top jackpot worth as much as $20,000.
Blackjack Bonanza is a classic slot with a simple theme, one that a player may not recognize if they don’t pay a little bit of attention – as the name implies the game pays homage to the classic table casino contest known as blackjack or 21.
The reason the theme may go unnoticed is that the designers haven’t done much to integrate it into game play; sure, some of the symbols are styled to look like traditional playing card images, and beneath the three oversized reels there is an image of a playing card Jack symbol (that animates for wild symbol combos and big pay outs) but besides that, the theme isn’t all that important.
Besides the Jack symbol (which is the game’s wild symbol – more details on that are below) the reel images include the traditional 7 symbols and the also quite traditional bar, double bar, and triple bar symbols. The most important symbol in the game is the wild Jack – three Jacks is the trigger for the game’s top prize, and as the wild symbol, the Jack can substitute for other symbols to form a winning combination.
Bettors select the size of their wager by changing the value of two different variables: the cash value of each credit and the number of credits bet per spin. Credits are worth one of five available amounts: $0.25, $0.50, $1, $2.50, or $5. Since there is only one pay line, bettors choice of between one and three coins per line is also the total number of coins bet per spin. Those two factors mean the total bet range on this machine is between $0.25 and $15 each time the reels are set in motion.
The largest jackpot in the game is a 4,000 credit payout (for bettors wagering the three credit max) worth between a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $20,000 depending on the value of each credit as determined by the player before each spin or at the start of a session. This prize is triggered by three of the game’s wild Jack symbols appearing at the same time, one per reel. Bettors who wager just one coin and land the same combo can win between $250 and $5,000, while two credit wagers that land the same combo are worth between $625 and $12,500.
The pay table shows the required symbol arrangement for all nine pay outs and is divided into three tiers to show the prize won for single coin, double coin, and triple coin wagers. The game automatically highlights the column showing the bet size the player chooses, a handy feature that prevents the interface from an overly cluttered appearance.
The Jack symbol is wild, but since this is a classic game, players should not be surprised that he does not act as a multiplier. The Jack simply acts as a substitute for all of the game’s other symbols, which increases the game’s hit frequency. Take note that the Jack is also the high jackpot trigger – three Jack symbols results in the pokies’ biggest prize.
Blackjack Bonanza is a simple classic poker machine game, perfect for people hunting down a relaxed pokie game that doesn’t require any concentration or player skill. As such, it is great as a palate cleanser between head to head poker games or as a way to kill time while waiting on a sports bet or (on a mobile gadget) during a long commute or a wait at the dentist’s office.
The few modern features the designers did incorporate are enough to interest traditional game fans – high rollers or players looking for the latest and greatest design will be disappointed.
Microgaming’s designers could have worked a little harder to incorporate more blackjack-themed symbols or rules into the game, considering the name of that game is the first word in this machine’s title. Then again, fans of traditional poker machine games sometimes prize simplicity and austerity above all else.