Gator's Roll cover
May 4, 2016 | by Leah Cavalier
One Lucky Roll

No one expected Jimmie Gore’s ambition to invent a casino game to amount to much. Now, almost 20 years later, Gore will begin pitching “Gator’s Roll” to casinos throughout the South.

Gator’s Roll” is Gore’s attempt to take the intimidation out of complicated table games. He said he wanted to make a game that was easy to understand and fun to play. He made the rules simple and the payouts often so everyone at the table is involved at all times.

“My dad has always come up with the next way to make his million,” said Lesley Gore-Nyberg, Gore’s daughter.

Although Gore, 79, said he didn’t invent the game to make money, he acknowledged the earning potential it would have if a casino were to adopt it.

The idea for the game came from an observation Gore made one night while in a casino with his wife.

“Everybody would say, ‘Jim, you’re just dreaming,’” Gore said. “(They said) ‘You’re not going to get this. You’re not going to make it.’”

Although, Gore faced adversity from many of his close friends, he never gave up hope.

“More people tried to help me than were negative,” Gore said.

Gore’s original idea was for the game to be based around a six-sided top; he called this version “Take It All.” He was working in a metal company at the time and was able to get a worker at one of customers’ companies to manufacture the original top for him. It wasn’t balanced quite right, though, Gore said, so he took it to a professional machinist.

He then brought his idea to Action Specialties in New Iberia, where he met Lenny Lipari, who designed the game skin.

When it came time for the check, however, Lipari would not accept any money. Gore said Lipari told him that Gore reminded him of his father, who was recently deceased. Lipari told Gore his father had always wanted to help people, so the work was in honor of him.

“Here’s (an) individual, just out of the blue, that works for a company and is willing to help me,” Gore said.

Later, the machinist who made the original tops pitched the idea of using dice instead of a top, Gore said. That idea put him on the road to “Gator’s Roll.”

He went through a couple of variations of dice options, finally ending on a three-dice system — having different pictures and colors; allowing players to roll the dice; allowing the dealer to roll the dice — before he reached a finished product.

“It went through a big development process,” said David Gore, Gore’s son. “From a top, to a better top and then to dice.”

After fine-tuning the rules, adding a jackpot round and perfecting design, Gore was ready to send his game off to have the odds calculated. He called Gaming Laboratories International and spoke with David Elmore, who was able to find a special rate for Gore because he wasn’t attached to a corporation.

“We want to accommodate the little guy as well as we do the big guy,” Elmore said.

Once Gore got his game’s odds back he was only waiting on his game cloth and his dice to be designed by Gaming Partners International in Las Vegas. Those were recently finished and he said he is now hoping to pitch his game to Mississippi casinos and get a 90-day trial period.

“I thought, ‘Even if this thing never works out, it’s so cool that my dad’s been able to have this experience,’” Gore-Nyberg said of her father’s endeavors.

Gore said there were many times he considered giving in to his peers’ advice and quitting. Every time he considered this, however, he said he would think about what he wanted out of life.

“You look forward and you say to yourself, ‘Do I have anything else going?’” Gore said.

“Gator’s Roll” was something that interested him and kept his life going, he said. Gore said he could never find a reason to give up on that.

“It’s what you want out of life,” he said.

Gore is a University of Louisiana at Lafayette alumnus. He played baseball for UL Lafayette, then Southwestern Louisiana Institute, in 1954-55 before signing with the Kansas City Athletics, now the Oakland Athletics. After a brief career in the minors he returned to then USL and graduated in 1964 with a degree in general business.

Kailey Broussard helped contribute visual elements to this story.

edited May 11, 2016

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