Knockout 52 table game provides fresh alternative for casinos, players

April 23, 2024 10:20 AM
Photo: Frank Mugnolo and Peter T. Mastroianni, inventors of Knockout 52/CDC Gaming Reports
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
April 23, 2024 10:20 AM
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports

Peter Mastroianni and Frank Mugnolo have atypical backgrounds for game designers.

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Mastroianni is a lawyer, and Mugnolo is a CPA. But when the duo met at a gaming convention, they found more in common than just their Italian heritage.

“We were brought up the same way,” Mugnolo said during the recent Indian Gaming Association Tradeshow & Convention in Anaheim. “We really work well together. We bounced ideas off each other and the next thing you know we’re inventing table games. That’s our way. It just clicked.”

If the reaction from attendees at IGA is any indication, Mastroianni and Mugnolo might have created a new and viable table game for casinos,  Knockout 52. There were times when the Knockout 52 booth was three deep with visitors waiting to try the new table game which will soon be available at Firekeepers Casino Hotel in Michigan, Potawatomi Casino Hotel in Wisconsin, and the Strat in Las Vegas, with more operators expected to add the game to casino floors later this year.

Frank Mugnolo and Peter T. Mastroianni, inventors of Knockout 52

According to Mugnolo, operators’ reactions have been uniformly the same: “They’ve never seen anything like it before,” he said. Anyone who sees it says they want it.”

The game is simple to play with no strategy or calculations required. The game board displays a range of 13 cards, from Ace to King. Cards are dealt in up to four rounds from an eight-deck shoe, consecutively placed in the spaces below the 13 cards. The object of the game is for bettors to guess the round when a dealt card matches the value of a card imprinted on the board, resulting in a knockout.

CDC Gaming Reports

The more rounds dealt, the higher the odds (and payouts).  For instance, approximately 66 percent of the time, cards will match in the first round, resulting in a 1:2 payoff. Payoffs increase as more rounds are dealt.

Mastroianni thinks the appeal of the game stems from its approach to table games, eliminating strategy and concentrating on the communal aspect of gaming.

“This is a new generation of players,” Mastroianni said. “They see the same thing on the floor and it’s certainly not going to engage them. We’re getting hit with so much new stuff every day, especially with technology.

“What we’re trying to do is create something that isn’t technological but smooth and engaging, and is really exciting for the casino. You can’t get it on your phone, you can’t get it on a slot, you can only get it when you’re playing with someone else.”

Mugnolo added that most new table games are variations of poker or other familiar table games. Knockout 52 has no antecedents.

“This is a brand-new game, all the way,” Mugnolo said. “It’s got nothing to do with those other games. … People go to a casino, they’re intimidated by craps. They play blackjack, (people will say) you hit the wrong card, you screwed up my cards.

“You can sit down (with Knockout 52) and enjoy yourself. You can make the wagers as big as you want, so the action is there, but it’s fast.”