The ease and comfort of online poker may be coming to a card-room near you soon! At least two different U.S. card rooms are electing to use “PokerPro” software which electronically deals cards to poker players at a traditional-style card table. Chip counts and pot sizes are also kept electronically with each player having their own small screen to keep track of all the action and a larger main screen showing the community cards. Both the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and the Excalibur Casino in Las Vegas will be implementing this electronic breakthrough in their card rooms soon. The Excalibur will be closing it’s doors Aug. 18th and reopening only days later with 12 brand new “PokerPro” tables. Trial tables have been implemented in smaller casino’s, namely Indiana’s Horseshoe Casino Chicagoland.
One of the key benefits to an electronic poker table is the increase in hands played per hour. Not only will players be able to play 50-100% more hands per hour, but the house will also benefit from the additional rake earned. Players who may have been put off by the slow grind of live poker compared to that of online poker will now have little excuse to visit these card rooms. The PokerPro tables can handle both Texas Hold’em tournament and cash play as well as Pot-Limit Omaha and Stud variations. Many wonder how these tables will affect the actual games. Some feel that at these tables the games will carry more of an online poker feel, with more aggressive plays and bluffing becoming more commonplace. The theory is simple. It is psychologically less stressful to click a button on a bluff than it is to handle the actual chips that represent money and move them into the middle of the pot. Only time will tell if these games become overly aggressive or migrate more towards the type of game generally played in casinos.
Poker strategy-savant David Sklansky has signed on with the company as a consultant. “I believe this product is truly changing the game,” Sklansky said. “When I look at this platform, [with its] functionality and player benefits, I can’t help but see the possibilities. There is just so much you can do with this technology that is simply not possible at a manual table.” With a great poker-mind like Sklanksy behind this product one can be sure it will be technically sound.
A group of individuals who may not be as thrilled as the rest of the poker world are the dealers. Individuals who make their livelihood through tips at these rooms might find themselves out of work if the PokerPro catches on quickly. If PokerTek has anything to say about it this just might become a reality. There are currently 200 PokerPro tables in licensed casinos and card rooms around the world, with many more planned for installation soon.