I recently had my first chance to play on a Pokertek-made "Pokerpro" electronic poker table.
Basically the "Pokerpro" is an electronic poker table which eliminates the need for a human dealer. There is a large screen in the middle of the table that will show the cards that have been dealt so far, the bet sizes, the pot sizes, etc. Then, there is an individual screen in front of each player. The screens have sensors in them so that if you cup your hands over your cards, you will be able to see the cards that have been dealt to you. When you remove your hands, the cards appear face-down.
You sign up for an account at the casino, load up a card with cash at the cage and you are ready to play. Once a spot opens up for you at a table, you simply sit down, insert your card into the top of your personal screen and enter your pin number. You will be able to select how much cash that you want to play with from the balance that is on the card. Then, you are in the game. When you are ready to leave, you simply log out and take your card back to the cage to cash out.
The electronic poker tables are certainly catching on in popularity. They are appearing in casinos all over the country and on cruiseships. As a matter of fact, there was an event at the most recent Aussie Millions that was played entirely on Pokerpro tables.
The advantages are easy to see. Without a human dealer, the games go much faster. Shuffling is done in a milli-second and there is no need to tip a dealer after winning a big hand.
The problem that I had when I sat down to play is that I couldn't help but feel that the entire live poker experience was being wasted by playing on these machines. Call me old-fashioned, but I like the feel of the poker chips and the felt and the cards. I like the banter between the dealer and the players at the table. I like the fact that it's pretty easy to pick up tells on players in low limit live poker games based on how they handle their chips and how they bet those chips. All of that is taken away by these tables.
If you want more hands dealt to you per hour, then I would recommend something even more revolutionary: online poker. I'm sorry, but I would much rather fire up Pokerstars and play at home than play at an electronic poker table. I mean really, what's the point? I can play as many tables as I want on Pokerstars and play in the comfort of my own home, avoiding an hour-long drive to the casino.
That being said, there are some practical uses for the Pokerpro tables. It makes sense having them on a cruiseship or at a vacation resort where the cost of hiring full-time dealers might be too high. However, if I want to play live, I'm going to play the old-fashioned way, and if I want to play electronically, I'll play online. I'm not in a hurry to play on a Pokerpro table again anytime soon. For those of you who have played on a Pokerpro table, what's your opinion of them?
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