I have been doing some more thinking about those automated blackjack tables that PokerTek has created. My mind keeps coming back to the idea that PokerTek believes that these automated blackjack tables will increase the social interaction between players at the table.
The whole reason for their belief in increased social interaction is because of the main screen. This central, main screen will have players all looking at the same place on the table. Players then use the controls in front of them to choose how to play out their hands, kind of like how you click on the appropriate button in a game of online blackjack.
But here is the thing that keeps tripping my mind. Blackjack is a one-on-one game, just you and the dealer. The other players’ plays do not impact your own game against the dealer. It is not like poker in where what the other players do matters. And it is not a social game for the most part. Sure, some people will talk at the table but it is not like craps where everyone is all excited and jumping around and all talking at once. At least that is how craps seems to me.
While I am sure that PokerTek has good intentions—meaning, they are trying to create a unique product and drive their business—I do not think that they can really change the essence of blackjack. And while I have no doubt that players will still play at automated blackjack tables, I doubt those players are going to have more “social interaction” than players at regular blackjack tables. It is just in the nature of blackjack—it is a one-on-one kind of game—and no automated blackjack tables are going to change that.