Back in November I announced that a hitherto manufacturer of automated poker tables, PokerTek, was expanding their product range by creating a new gaming platform that they are calling ProCore. The first casino game in the ProCore lineup is BlackjackPro. And the first of several installations took place earlier this week. In other words, it has begun.
Prior to ProCore, PokerTek was an industry poker specialist. Apparently they were not content to stick with poker and decided to expand their reach within in the casino industry: “A key element of our overall strategy is to expand PokerTek’s addressable market and opportunities for revenue growth,” said PokerTek CEO, Mark Roberson. In other words, PokerTek wanted more income, more money. And blackjack is their first step in doing so.
BlackjackPro is an automated blackjack table with the core rules of the game programmed into its software. However there is room for casino operators to tweak the game play, such as changing the payout or when a player can split pairs. But the biggest difference is that, being automated, there is no dealer. Instead players are faced with one large screen upon which everyone can see everyone’s hands. Players push buttons to play out their hands on the console in front of them—kind of like an arcade machine. Effectively BlackjackPro is a fancy arcade machine for blackjack.
PokerTek’s intention is to take a game that is player vs. dealer and try to cultivate a feeling of camaraderie around the main screen. Also they seem intent on taking jobs away from table game dealers since automated tables do not require live dealers.
So now there is one more thing for blackjack players to look out for when they pay a visit to a brick and mortar casino that has elected for a PokerTek installation: watch out for the BlackjackPro tables. They will be recognizable, just look for the tables with the big single screen.