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Electronic dealerless poker

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  • Electronic dealerless poker


    The first is the same advantage I find in all casino games. There is someone else watching the game. In home games I find that so much of my time is taken up monitoring the game itself for misplay and error, that I just get tired. That is one reason I am willing to go to casinos adn pay a rake. It also lessens the possibility of cheating. In the electronic game, the elimination of the dealer eliminates the last of human error and most monitoring is unnecessary. The elimination of physical cards makes marking cards impossible.

    The computer deals and cards never get misdealt or mixed up. There is never some card turned over that is the burn card and changes the game in ways you cannot calculate.
    No player can play out of turn.
    No player or dealer can miscount chips.
    The amount of each player's chips is always visible. The amount in the pot is visible in numbers so the math of pot odds does not require converting chips to numbers.
    Players who check do it clearly. Never is there ambiguity about who checked or some shifty player making four people after him act before he decides to bet. It can't happen.
    Ever sit to the left of the dealer and wonder when it was your turn to bet, or what the player before you looked like as s/he made the bet or evaluated the flop? Ever find it frustrating to protect your cards? In automated poker you see the face of every player just by looking. You can't bet or fold out of turn and neither can any other player. You don't need to protect anything.
    If you daydream and forget it is your turn, one of the other players will remind you. They have your name right there in front of them. They easily get your attention.
    Also, the speed of the game makes tight play easier to manage without going to sleep with boredom waiting for cards.
    This makes the loose guys last for less time. It means waiting out two self destructing maniacs takes half the time it does on a live table.
    Dealer changes do not require washing and counting chip trays and shuffling and reminding of blinds.

    Screens were easy to learn and use. Most played with their player cards rather than fingers.

    Some reported that there was less player interaction, but I think most of those folks have not played much on these machines and just confuse this with playing on the computer at home and so they imagine a similar isolation. If anything, there is more player interaction. No dealer is there to get involved or to dominate every discussion. There might be a bit too much said at times depending on the floor supervision. I would watch for collusion.

    Chips may be "fun" just as coins were fun in slots. But frankly I am tired of pushing in the chips on oversized tables to short armed dealers, tired of listening to them whine about it, tired of monitoring some brain dead neighbor player and reminding him to push in his chips because he can't get the idea that the dealer can't reach his chips. No chips drop and scatter when it is time to cash out. No chips splash the pot. No large chips are hidden in the stacks of an opponents smaller chips. Nothing is hidden. I even know the player's name. there is no attempt by some player to give his aging mother across the table chips and no lecture on how only money can be exchanged. There are no uneven split pots, no quarters to build up in my pocket. No noe can underbet by mistake. Try to raise less than a precious player and you just can't raise. No pot will be pushed to the wrong player, the winners cards mucked.

    Buy ins do not hold up the game. I can put a few hundred dollars on my card and keep my chipstack at the max of $100, $5 at a time if I want. I don't have to put chips in my pocket and count and recount so as not to be accused of trying to get more than $100 on the table.

    Most impressive was the rake reduction in many places. At the Horsehoe the rake was just $3. Compare that to the standard Harrah's $6 rake in their live poker room and add one dollar for dealer tip. They take the promo dollar in spite of the fact that they offer no promotion, only promotion promises.No mention in the article about rake or blinds for Excalibur and yet that certainly makes a big difference in long term play.

    However, I think the rakes will change over time to reflect what the market will bear. Right now the idea was to attract new players to the machine games. One fellow reported on a cruise ship where the rake capped at 10%. If it is the only game in town, the rakes will go up. but that has nothing to do with having a delaer or not. It may well have more to do with player apathy. Very disturbing to me is that players just do not care about rakes enough. Rarely are they reported or advertised. In an evaluation of a poker room, I am more apt to learn about how comfortable the chairs are than how much the rake takes or how it is taken. In fact, I never meet a player who undertands how the Wynn rake advertised as 10% capped at $4 on a 3-6 game is much, much better than other rakes capped at $4 and advertised as 10%

    Blinds for no limit were 50 cent and 1 dollar in these Midwest games. Another good thing for the low roller and for the tight player waiting for cards.

    The Horseshoe put these machines outside their poker room and allowed smoking. So they both attracted smoking players and set up a spot where the live poker players might gather for a smoke. That was the worst for me. The place was worse than the El Cortez in the old days. But for smokers it was a great advantage. The argument for nonsmoking rooms has revolved around dealer health so for casinos that manage to keep a smoking section, these poker tables give them a loophole.

    The only annoying thing I have noticed is that it is just too easy, when playing with that little plastic card (works better than fingers for most,) to start mindlessly tapping it on the hard plastic of the poker screen. That can get annoying after a while.

    I wondered about the settling of disputes. Dealerless tables do lose the police role of the dealer. But there is less to lecture players about also. The show one/ show all frustration common at the table is eliminated. To show a card or two, you hit a button and the card briefly appears for all to see who are looking.

    Mohegan Sun in Connecticut takes the $4.75 from everyone every half hour, but I have heard that rakes in Montreal and Hull outside Ottawa are real rakes and not payments for the seat. Ottawa announced they held the largest tournament in the world using dealerless machines.
    Turning Stone in NY has a machine or two, but use them only for sit and go games.

    I am certain that they will catch on over time. They are a great benefit for the casino as they avoid all the problem of keeping enough dealers around, of labor disputes, of interpersonal difficulties.
    in Vegas much will depend on the Excalibur experiment.

    Sit to the left of a dealer at a live game, and you have to wonder if the guy before you played yet, wonder how he looked when he checked the board and decided what to do, and protect your cards so the dealer does not swipe them up. And many dealers do not even tap your way unless you ask them and even after asking it is sometimes necessary to "teach" them they must by simply not betting until they in some way indicate it is your turn.

    None of this in dealerless tables. You see the face of every player

    From the dealer's perspective this can't be a good change. From the player's perspective and that of the casino, it is improvement except for those who need live chips in their hands or want the dealer/player interaction and those stuck in comfortable ways like the writers who still only use snail mail. One fellow at my table brought with him some real chips just so he could continue that shuffling of two stacks into one so popular with poker players. They entertained him in comfortable ways. The fellow next to me had it much easier reading the Poker News between hands.

    I know there are folks who go to Vegas just to find a particular dealer who makes them feel good in the way a good bartender might. And I was amused that when the automated blackjack machines created their large blowup screens with virtual dealers, they tended to be beautiful Asian women, indicating that some players want eye candy. Certainly many crave entertainment from a dealer as Imperial Palace found out when they created their Dealertainers.

    The problem is that most serious poker players, especially in a no limit game want to concentrate, study other players, and not be distracted. I think electronic poker tables may catch on faster than many expect and that they won't attract beginning players as much as satisfy the needs of those who follow the game well and of those who wait for cards.

  • #2
    Re: Electronic dealerless poker

    I don't play poker frequently, but I would never play this game, at least not for money. If I play, I want a live dealer.
    Trump Plaza in Atlantic City recently installed these. I hear there is little supervision of the games, and that it is easy for players to act in cahoots with each other to rip off unsuspecting players at their table.
    No thanks.


    • #3
      Re: Electronic dealerless poker

      Certainly fear of cheating has to be the main reservation other than simply the unwillingness to abandon the traditional comfort found by keeping an experience unchanged.

      Reading Any Nelson's Poker Nation showed me just how easy it is to cheat at no limit. I honestly don't think the dealers do much to monitor that except call the floor. I have suspected that guys were sandwiching me, but never had a dealer catch a cheater at any game I played.
      You can call the floor on electronic tables. You need good floor personnel who will stand by the table and watch the games if you expect collusion. I guess they are not getting that at Excalubur from what this fellow experienced:

      I had a similar experience with Spanish players talking to one another at the Orleans. Those guys were telling buddies another in Spanish to raise or not to raise. There too it was the failure of the floor to warn once, and then expel the cheaters. Finally, the rest of us just said that if the talkers would not leave , then we would go and the game would be over.

      At Four Winds electronic table we had a fellow eliminated just because he would not sit down in the chair but insisted on kneeling. We worried he might spoil the bad beat or perhaps position himself in a way to see our cards. It did take more than one complaint, but there again it was because the floor guy was a bit of a whimp.

      We'll have to see what the casinos do to better monitor games over time. That clearly is the answer to cheating, if there is one at all. At least no one can steal chips while you aren't looking, introduce bogus cards, or mark cards with a fingernail.
      Last edited by SteveBourieOLD; 09-23-2008, 10:06 AM.