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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Bridging the Gap Between Gaming and Gambling

11 July 2007

Playing computer games on the internet is a passtime that almost everyone seems to enjoy. It's an enticing diversion few among us can resist, even if only for a few minutes. There are an abundance of imaginative offerings, and new ones with improved game features and striking graphics are popping up all the time.

It's a competitive business to be sure, one that up to now has maintained a fine line between gaming (playing for fun) and gambling (playing for money).

Sean Gleeson, a game designer based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, appears to have taken a giant step toward bridging the gap by inventing a product that combines the attraction of online gaming with the allure of an element of chance.

His creation, the mystifying and enchanting Dashabooja, is a breakthrough game that captures the entertainment value of online gaming, the appeal of a video slot game, and the popularity of poker.

Gleeson, 40, hails from Chicago's South Side and is a graduate of Fenwick High School in Oak Park and Loyola University. One day in 2004 while playing a typical online-based card game, he had a brainstorm.

"The cards didn't look right, they didn't move right, and they didn't sound right," he recalled. "I thought there was no excuse with today's technology not to make the game more fun. I decided I would create the perfect deck of (virtual) cards."

It took Gleeson two weeks to virtually re-create the feel and experience of a real deck. Then he had to figure out what to do with it. The enterprising designer did some research and created his first game, Wichita Faro, based on the card room classic that enjoyed immense popularity in the Wild West before vanishing. It gave Gleeson his first commercial success.

"Nobody in the world had made a faro game you could play on line and I like doing things nobody else has done," Gleeson said.

Check out the game at www.gleeson.us/faro where you'll be able to play it for free and learn quite a bit of history as a bonus.

His next goal was to create a game with a video poker theme that would deal 10 hands simultaneously, provide entertainment without the element of strategy, and come with the look and feel of a casino-style video gaming device.

Dashabooja was launched on May 14. The name is Sanscrit for "10 arms", something the inventor stumbled across during his search for the perfect title and theme.

Gleeson, a professor of animation and web design at Oklahoma City Community College, conceived Dashabooja as a 10-armed brass statue with beguiling feminine charms who gracefully tosses cards from a 52-card deck to her left and right to form 10 groups of five cards each.

Players start with 1,000 credits and may play 10 to 100 credits per game. You win credits based on a pay table for the results of the hands you are dealt (a pair, three-of-a-kind, straight, flush, royal, four-of-a-kind, etc.). The remaining two cards are the components of an optional "double up" feature. You can keep your winnings or choose to guess the high card and double your winnings. Guess wrong and you lose everything.

An imaginative and innovative creative touch is when Dashabooja "flashes" the values of the two cards before flipping them back over. You find yourself trying to follow the placement of the high card much like the old shell game.

Give it a try by logging on to www.dashabooja.com.

In addition to the game itself, you'll be certain to enjoy reading the "Legend of Dashabooja" that Gleeson concocted as well as the suspenseful music that plays to coincide seamlessly with the events of the game. It's a real gem.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp