I may have to take back my words when it comes to PokerTek’s BlackjackPro automatic blackjack table. Back in November of last year I made it known that I was on the skeptical side of BlackjackPro. And really, can you blame me when one of their features allows the casino to set the game up with their own rules? Such a feature allows casino operators the ability to set up another blackjack table or blackjack variation with rules that are not player friendly.
However, response to the BlackjackPro system has been positive. Hopefully this means that players are not only taken with automated blackjack tables but also with blackjack games whose rules are not stacked more than normal against them.
A quick reminder: BlackjackPro automatic blackjack tables feature a center screen with six seats around it. It is on this screen that players see the game happen rather than on seven individual screens. This helps to improve group play and camaraderie at the table, which I can now commend as it has been a success.
As for the rollout, the entire batch of original BlackjackPro tables have found homes, with the last of the automated tables installed at the end of last month. This means that ninety six BlackjackPro tables have found homes in land casinos and on cruise ships. And the demand for them continues:
“Demand has exceeded our inventory during this initial rollout phase with our available supply now fully absorbed. In response to the favorable product performance and customer demand, production is underway to provide additional inventory for second half installations,” said Mark Roberson, PokerTek’s CEO.
This means that PokerTek will continue to build BlackjackPro tables with the ProCore system. The BlackjackPro tables have been the saving grace of PokerTek, so let’s hear it for blackjack! Considering the success of the BlackjackPro automated blackjack tables, it seems that players like them. Just please be wary of the rules the casinos set them up with as well as side bets that are set up in how the casinos program them.
The last we heard from PokerTek was that they were in some financial trouble. Seems limiting their business to only poker just was not cutting it. Thus the expansion began. PokerTek now boosts what it is calling its ProCore system. Mainly it is being presented as an automated blackjack table, called BlackjackPro, although the table’s computer is programmed with six other games.
These blackjack tables with other games seem to be doing very well for PokerTek. Two months ago saw the installation of the first two BlackjackPro tables with the ProCore system. The success is so good that the company is making some additions:
“BlackjackPro has performed beyond our expectation since the initial installation in February and player feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We have developed an additional casino game which was rolled out for the first time this month. The expansion of blackjack and the addition of new game content represent important steps in our strategic growth plans,” said PokerTek’s president, James Crawford.
What that means is that PokerTek is doing much better since it spread its product base from only poker tables to automated blackjack tables and then some; it also means that sales and interest is good enough for PokerTek to feel that it is coming out of danger. April alone has seen the installation of four more ProCore tables with the BlackjackPro game software. This brings the total amount of ProCore tables with BlackjackPro to six.
The additional game content was added to the four tables that were installed this month. Now I do hope that the first two tables receive the new game content as it would be rather unfair for them to be the two automated blackjack tables that generated the hype and projected success which caused the new game content to be developed, and then not receive it.
Last year I brought to light a United States based gaming table company who specializes in poker. Well, poker tables that is. Automated ones. In November I discussed how PokerTek was expanding their product line with the introduction of automated blackjack tables called BlackjackPro. This would also change their specialization from poker to automated casino game tables in general.
This month with the installation of the first round of several BlackjackPro installations. Two things were revealed by CEO Mark Roberson with the first round of installation of BlackjackPro. 1. PokerTek was looking to expand its offering of automated table games, calling the forth coming tables ProCore, and BlackjackPro would be the first of the ProCore series; and 2. The expanded offerings were to generate more revenue.
At first the expansion openly detailed to increase expansion might raise eyebrows—boy, aren’t they cocky some might say. But it turns out there is a reason behind the expansion due to increase revenue.
PokerTek is a six year old company that has yet to show profit. In their fourth quarter they reported a $481,453 loss on their revenue that totaled at $1.6 million for that quarter. PokerTek has experience consistent loss in the last two years, although 2010 was not as bad as 2009, but then the first BlackjackPro tables would have sold right at the very end of 2010. While that helped to make losses not as bad, it still did not show a profit.
In 2009 PokerTek lost $5.67 million compared to revenue generated of $5.41 million. Like I said 2010 was not as bad: $4.02 million on $5.9 million.
Hopefully the expansion of offering an array of automated tables will help PokerTek stick around in the casino game industry. If BlackjackPro tables helped cut down on the losses for 2010, then it is possible that they might be the beginning of the saving grace for PokerTek.
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.