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Blackjack Gold
Shareware Game for Macintosh and Windows


Kudos and Catcalls

Thoughts from Sharon... the creator of Blackjack Gold

What would a great review be without the honesty of a poor one? So we've included both. We are Sharonng some of the best and worst feedback we've received thru the years. From "you rock!" to "you suck!" My best advice... download it for yourself and give it a whirl. Who knows? Your opinion might end up here...

Download Blackjack Gold

Download
Blackjack Gold Macintosh
from Download.com
Get it from CNET Download.com!
Download
Blackjack Gold Windows
from Download.com
Get it from CNET Download.com!

Thoughts from Happy Players and others
From the Blackjack Gold mailbag...

"It's one of my favorite diversions -- easily the best blackjack program out there!" -- Denise P (version 1.2.4 upgrading to 1.3.2)

"You did a great job with Blackjack Gold as it has almost everything a game pack of blackjack should have... could you add a dealer button like in elimination blackjack tournaments?" -- Constantin G (version 1.3.2)

"I am really enjoying the program, even in the freeware form. But now that I've got the full version, it's mind boggling!" -- Sonny H (version 1.3.2)

"I cannot fit the game to my screen. I like your product and I would pay twice as much for it if you could make it easier for me to see... I am a bit disappointed." -- James W. (version 1.3.2)

"Another happy blackjacker! You have proven to be a great investment. I look forward to purchasing more products from you." -- Javier D.

"I did activate BJG. It is amazing!" -- Ronnie A.

"Some time ago I have purchased a license for your fantastic Blackjack Gold 1.2.9 Software. I have used the program successfully for training and was able to draw some cash from Swiss casinos (only a couple of hundred Swiss francs so far)... With kind regards.." - - Ulf G

"Haven't gone through all the features but having so much fun with it I completely lost track of getting back to you." -- Joe W

"BTW, on a whim I clicked on the About Us page of your web site and was surprised to see an actual picture of you, dog, husband, etc. :-) You won me over right there. So many companies that do business on the web seem like ghosts that it was refreshing to know that the Sharon who has processed my order is that Sharon right there who was the same Sharon that is developing the software....a very nice touch.

On top of that, I chose to go ahead and pay for the bigger version of this program because it is the best that I have seen yet after having tried quite a few. I'm not much of a gambler but I'm trying to push up my math aptitude. Learning blackjack strategies is a fun way of doing that. Good job on developing such a good/fun tool for learning the game." --Brett D

"You've got a pretty good game there. You might be surprised at how many other blackjack games you surpass." -- Lawrence S

"And I use it often still! It's easy to get rusty counting cards and all. I've more than paid for the cost of Blackjack Gold many times over because of the card counting features. Thanks for the continuing support!! " -- Andrew W

"Thank you for your prompt response and patient courtesy. I am up and running again. I really love your game...my heart sank when I lost it briefly. I appreciate all your efforts! Thanks again!" -- Steve E

"Thank you for your remarkedly fast response. I have looked at a number of blackjack games on the internet as well as in computer stores and yours seems to be the best. It is so full featured, I am surprised that it was so reasonably priced. (The best graphics I have seen so far is Blackjack Ballroom, but this has no where near the features of your game: also, it is sponsored by a casino and seems to be very easy to beat. I ran "$1,000.00" into "$9,000.00" the first time I played it. I wonder how well I would have done if I had been playing for real money, as they wish? Thanks again." -- Jerry W

"Anyway, because I play this damned game about 100 hours a week to avoid working I have become hopelessly addicted to it... You're so close to utter perfection don't stop now !! " -- Dean A

"And my compliments to you on some fine programming work! Very impressive. It's obvious that you spent a great deal of time researching this game." -- Kevin T

"Another update to your fabulous Blackjack game... I played to turn on the dealers lovely and sometimes wise-cracking voice... Thanks for an excellent game. I do like the chips action you have added." -- Greg W

"I just returned from Vegas and did very well there. I truly believe that playing with Gold helped me to make my trip a winning one." -- Ed F

"I am very impressed with your BlackJack Gold software. How can I purchase this as a gift for a friend? " -- Ed F

"Thanks, I love this game! "-- Rodney M

"Thanks for your efforts in creating great software at prices everyone can afford." -- Steve P

"I'm glad to have a more professional and graphical BJ game now." -- Doug D

"Please keep up the fantastic work, I really love that program! By the way, do you have anything on Craps?" -- Joe M

"I will tell my friends as this can be used for serious practice." -- Charles C

"Overall, nice action for a Blackjack game. You have the pace of a casino game down pretty good." -- Rick C

"Thanks Sharon!!! All is OK!! I LOVE the sounds!!! " -- Regards, Ben

I just read your lovely description of yourself and your company. You write beautifully! I hope your site is extremely successful, and fun for you! I practice on it (Blackjack Gold) all the time and have spent hours and hours on it. I find it enjoyable and therapeutic." -- Edee

"I love the game! " -- Keith K

"Your software is the only one that I've seen that has everything I need so far. Thanks." -- Franco B

"I really like the capabilities and features of Blackjack Gold." -- John L

"I love the game format and set up! I've looked at many other BlackJack software games but yours is the best! " -- Shane H

"Have been enjoying the Blackjack Gold software lots." -- Kerry S

"Yes, Love the game and I am not much of a game player." -- Chris B

"Of all the Blackjack games for the MAC I have looked at, this one is by far the best. I will be traveling to Vegas early next month and want to get a good start on strategies. Your game fits the bill." -- Frank Z

"Yes, my sweet convalescing wife is up and running -- so kind of you to take time to follow up... Thank you again for asking, in a world where most would not." -- Tim O

"I'm home from the hospital and have been enjoying it ever since. It's addicting! " -- Susan O (Tim's wife)

"I wish you the best of success as you and Barry are deserving of it. BTW You have a good heart." -- Ben F

"Can't thank you enough; you've been most kind to this old man." -- Ray W

"BJG is a good implementation of blackjack." -- Doug D

"I'm flying to Vegas tomorrow and want to practice on the plane." -- Kris W

"I am happy to tell you that I am up and running and enjoying every minute of the game." -- Richard D

"...what a fun game you have developed." -- George S

"I am amazed at how responsive you have been today, on the weekend. Much appreciated." -- Art R

An amusing thought from Sharon... he would be even more amazed to know that I was responding to emails and filling registrations while on my honeymoon...

"I did buy another blackjack game, but I really like yours better. It is more realistic... By Jove, I think you have done it! " -- Audie P

"How often do you release new versions? Don't you ever sleep? I went to Carnegie-Mellon where I met a lot of hackers, but your update rate is stunning!" -- Jeff K

"As much as I love the different ladies' voices telling me I better register... I want all the features now hehehe." -- Don C

"Thanks for the great support! "-- Greg M

"I do think it's one of the better ones I've found." -- Don H

"I have 5 more chemo treatments left and the blackjack game helps a lot." -- Jeff D

Download Blackjack Gold

Download
Blackjack Gold Macintosh
from Download.com
Get it from CNET Download.com!
Download
Blackjack Gold Windows
from Download.com
Get it from CNET Download.com!

Reflections on Kudos and Catcalls...

One of my favorite authors is James Herriot, the country vet from England who wrote All Creatures Great and Small and several related works. I've read and reread his books several times and know many of his stories by heart. He talks about his life as a veterinarian, spending most of his time traveling the countryside of Olde England ministering to the farm animals. He talks about human nature. His descriptiveness of the farmers is so vividly real. He weaves a great story and I highly recommend his books. But what does this have to do with your reviews of Blackjack Gold?

James Herriot wrote of both his successes and failures as a country vet. Sometimes his patient would die. Other times the recovery would be truly miraculous. He would often encounter the farmers in the local pub or marketplace. And his experiences with happy farmers and unhappy farmers was very familiar to me.

If he treated a cow and the cow promptly died, the next time he saw the farmer at the marketplace the farmer would be LOUDLY regaling the story of the dead cow to everybody who would listen. And he would add juicy details of his own flavour to the story as it got bigger and bigger with each new listener. The cow was alive, James came to see about him, the cow dropped dead.

But the farmer whose cow James literally pulled from the brink of death, that farmer would inevitably be the quiet sort of man, who spoke in barely a whisper. And he would share the story at the marketplace, but with all the hustle and bustle, his whisper would be lost in the crowd.

I can relate to this aspect of human nature. As a game developer, I've seen it, too. The unhappy folks yell the loudest, while the happy folks whisper in my ear. It is very hard to read the reviews posted in public forums, because the folks who email me with joy rarely post publicly. And the majority of truly helpful feedback I receive that has shaped the game thru the years has come primarily thru email.

Download Blackjack Gold

Download
Blackjack Gold Macintosh
from Download.com
Get it from CNET Download.com!
Download
Blackjack Gold Windows
from Download.com
Get it from CNET Download.com!

Blackjack Gold - from the public forums

Note that it is currently up to version 1.3.2, and possibly higher by the time you read this.

A five-star VersionTracker.com review of the Full version from one happy fellow on version:

"Let me amend my earlier review. This has to be one of the best blackjack games on the net. The full version has an amazing amount of customization options. The product support is unbelievable! Best I've ever encountered. I use it for casino practice, I can select any number of settings Atlantic City, Vegas, both on the strip and down town, Reno and the Mississippi gulf coast. (each having different rules of play) It supports a number of card counting systems as well as modifying/ entering your own. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an easy fun and adaptable blackjack game. " -- Rick C

His earlier three-star review was on the Lite version of:

"The shareware version had some fair game play...over all, if you want something to use to play a few hands, download it and see what you think. Just don't expect standard casino Black Jack."

One VersionTracker.com reviewer wrote of version 1.0.9:

"I must admit that I feel badly giving this application a poor review. It's obvious that the actual strategy algorithms are solid. I just shudder in abject horror at the truly awful GUI and graphics. My goodness ... it's as if somebody asked for a good blackjack simulation with the worst possible "useability" and overall feel. For the relatively high price of the shareware, my advice is to shop around."

A very happy reviewer wrote of version 1.2.2, in direct contrast to the above review:

"I paid for it immediately. The GUI and sound effects rock! It looks GREAT on my G5 with 23" Cinema Display and it is so addictive that I can't stop playing. This app is well done and definitely recommended. 5 Stars for sure!"

Another wrote of version 1.1.3:

"This is probably the best, and most alterable, version of Blackjack that I have seen that is now available. (We need to talk to the people at camelsmokes.com to bring back their casino to the Internet -- awesome.) I am going to deduct 1 star because in the startup screen one is only allowed to bet after clicking on the "Done" button. Dumb! Another star deducted because the playing field is NOT full screen, I feel like I have retrogressed to 1984 and the original Mac's screen. All in all though I will buy this package as it is the most realistic version available."

I renamed the Done button which had been confusing to a lot of folks. And the very next version made the game window bigger. You get free lifetime updates when you buy the game, so this fellow got his wish shortly thereafter.

Another wrote of the beta version 1.1.8b1:

"There's some significant Mac-ification necessary to polish this game. It could easily be best of breed, but to do so may force the developers to leave behind their Windows roots and bone up on Mac UI guidelines. So much potential, but until that's in place, the shareware price isn't warranted."

This one hurt because I am a Mac developer first and foremost. I only use Windows to test the Windows version. I see the game from a Mac point of view. It was almost blasphemic to be told I was not Mac-ified. I did, however, make some adjustments to the menus in response to his email feedback. You gain a lot more emailing me with your requests and feedback :-)

I develop on a Mac. I love Mac. My first computer was a Macintosh LC II. From there I went to my current blue and white G3. As of today, most of you are probably light years ahead of me with your computers. The Mac Pro Macintels just came out this week and I will be upgrading as soon as I think I've found the best deal :-)

The next reviewer also got his wish, as the hole card option he referred to was added in a later version, the game window size was also later increased from version 1.0.1.:

"Lot of potential for those who like to play serious blackjack. Lots of features to help hone skills. The play is authentic with one quibble. This probably varies by locality but in Nevada, the dealer always checks his hole card when he shows a 10 and ends the hand and collects if he has 21. Or maybe that is an option I've missed. The graphics are fine. I'd like to see an option for a bigger window although that would probably affect play speed."

One memorably awful review from MacUpdate.com, version 1.1.5:

"You suck! First off NO I did not try your product..." (the rest deleted but you can find it there... note that he did not actually try the game, he blasted it because he could not play the full version of the game for free...)

From Download.com, version 1.1.1:

"Not worth a penny. After a few plays, it enters "demo mode-" making play even worse than before. The strategy algorithim is nice, but the sounds are pathetic and the animation cheap. Not worth a buy, and because of "Demo Mode," not worth the download, either."

I have been blasted primarly for three things thru the years. The GUI (Graphical User Interface), meaning the overall ease of use and layout. I've adjusted the GUI as far as menus but generally, my goal was to make the game appear very much like a genuine blackjack table. I downloaded every competitor out there when I first created Blackjack Gold, and some of the GUI's I encountered did not remotely resemble a game of blackjack and were very confusing to play. I now have more sophisticated competitors, as the casinos themselves have jumped onto the bandwagon. They have very deep pockets for spiffy graphics and programmers and the burning desire to find a way to lure you to their online gambling venues. I frequently have requests from casinos to advertise on gypsyware.com. They want to lure my visitors into their dens...

The second most common complaint initially was the size of the game window. I made it bigger in version 1.1.4 and folks are now generally happy with the size and card graphics, though one fellow thought the Kings and Queens were "creepy" because they were staring at him.

The third largest complaint is that I do not allow the user to try out all of the features before purchasing. You get the basic version of the game in Lite mode for free. The full set of game options only become available after you purchase. I did try to offer a full Try Before You Buy version. But the sad fact of shareware is that people find ways to keep that free trial going forever, and hence do not purchase. As a small company, I could not afford to keep giving games away for free. Your support genuinely makes a difference. I have a long list of things I want to bring to you! This is truly my life's dream...

A review of the very first Blackjack Gold version 1.0:

"... this is a fair representation of 8 deck black jack and can help strengthen your game especially in the area of money management and betting strategy... the developer is responsive to concerns about things that are currently not working correctly or hangs the application entirely and is willing to possibly add some of my favorite side bets. Side betting at the casino I find to be more interesting than the actual game itself. I am seriously considering purchasing this software, after all it is about the price of what i would spend on an evening of black jack but has the potential to help me improve my game drastically when I gamble and have the potential to win. Let's see if the demo makes the full version free for me :)"

Later versions began to add several side bet options and variants such as Double Exposure, Over Under 13, Spanish 21, and Super Sevens. The newest version added European rule sets.

Another review of the same version on a different platform, from an avid follower of our games:

"Blackjack Gold is up to the usual high creative standards of Gypsy King Software games. I own several and thoroughly enjoy them all. Sharon is quick to respond to customer enquiries. The intuitive interplay programmed into the games takes BJ Gold above the ordinary. Some kinks are still being worked out but the game is worth the price and warrants 5 stars from me."

A comment on the above review, posted a couple days later:

"This game is horrible. I don't know what product Dr. 5 was reviewing, but I strongly suspect ties to Gypsy King. Download it yourself and check it out. Graphics are terrible, interface is very NON-intuitive, and the sound effects are distracting at best, horrifically annoying at worst... the cards are so small and poory rendered that you have to concentrate on squinting to see your hand, so you probably won't notice the ad."

Had he watched the versions grow thru the years, he would have seen that version 1.1.4 made the game window bigger, made the cards bigger, and added spiffy new card graphics.

The above reviews are all taken from public forums. I've added some excerpts from our email bag below. We've gotten many feature requests thru the years, and the game has grown accordingly. We keep a list of all feature requests and when we upgrade the game, we go thru the list for ideas.

Download Blackjack Gold

Download
Blackjack Gold Macintosh
from Download.com
Get it from CNET Download.com!
Download
Blackjack Gold Windows
from Download.com
Get it from CNET Download.com!

About Gypsy King Software:

Gypsy King Software, the dream child of Irish-Italian gypsy Sharon Delarose, produces shareware games for the Macintosh and Windows. Our shareware games often feature gypsies and fortune tellers, the most noted being Madame Murghi who currently resides in Poker Dice. Snuggled around our feet is the company mascot Dakota, who spurred us to write many a dog tale. We rescued her from the dog pound and she turned our world upside down.






http://www.gypsyware.com