PokerTek, a licensed gaming company that specializes in electronic solutions—read: games that do not require the hiring of people—to casinos’ table games, will be unveiling their latest automated table game at this year’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas: Blackjack Pro.
Blackjack Pro is like any other blackjack table except that there is no dealer. The entire game is automated with the basic rules of blackjack already programmed into its software. Basic rules aside, casino operators will have the power to set up and alter some of the rules, such as whether or not a player can double down after splitting a pair, or split a second pair of Aces. So the house edge on these automated blackjack tables is not really set.
Casino operators will also be able to adjust the payout options as well. Meaning that if they want to set a Blackjack Pro table to have a 6-5 payout on a natural blackjack instead of a 3-2 because they are using the automated table to support a blackjack variation instead of a standard game, it is possible.
Each Blackjack Pro table will have a central screen so that players sitting around the table are looking at the same screen, rather than each player having their very own screen. PokerTek claims that this will increase social interaction amongst blackjack players.
But what PokerTek fails to understand is that, despite a table holding seven players, blackjack is a one-on-one game of the player versus the dealer. The plays that the other players make do not impact the outcome of my hand.
I am sure that PokerTek means will with its automated blackjack table, but Blackjack Pro is not going to change the basis of blackjack, and it will not turn blackjack into a social game like poker.