APPT Sydney: If the shoe fits, use it

By Landon Blackhall

The sounds of a poker room don't change all that much from country to country ... the clicking of chips, chatter of players. But here at Star City, the relative tranquility is often broken by a sharp snapping noise AKA the Star City Snap.

The men responsible for the device - the Slimline Dealer Shoe - from which the noise emanates are Star City Casino Poker Administrator Jason Wicks and tournament director James Moynihan.

This peculiar-looking device resembles an upside-down cigarette packet, which is exactly what Wicks used as his inspiration: "When we opened the poker room here in 2005 we were using 'sawn-off' (four-deck) dealer shoes but they were bulky and unworkable," he said. "I was down at the pub one night after work and I realised that a deck of cards could easily fit in something that size."

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Snap happy: Star City Poker Room's unique dealer shoe

The following day, he went out to buy some balsa wood and nails to construct a prototype and with the assistance of Moynihan, they worked together to develop the final product.

"We set out to create the shoe for ease of use but at the same protect the integrity of the game," Moynihan said. "It's a beautifully simple design, lightweight (only weighing about 100 grams when fully loaded) and doesn't take up much space on the table."

Their managers were so impressed with their creation they assisted them with implementing the technology into the casino the following year and it also won them the 2006 Star City Innovation of the Year Award.

Wicks still has the original prototype at home and both he and Moynihan have hinted at potential commercial or retail opportunities in the future. However if you're looking for one for your next home game, they might be able to get one to you in your favourite colour, as long as it's black.

Players in the APPT Grand Final are about to take their first break of the day after two hours of play. When they return, blinds will be at 100/200 with an ante of 25.