Excalibur Poker Room Rids Itself of People

by , Aug 9, 2008 | 10:07 am

Las Vegas Vegas let us know this week that the poker room at the Excalibur will be folding its hand but buying in to a new game. The room will close on August 18th and send all of its dealers searching for work elsewhere, and it will reopen on August 21st with nothing but automated tables and a minimal floor staff.

I don’t know about you, but the thought of going into an all-automated poker room – no chips, no cards, no dealers – is not appealing. Sure, it will be cheaper for the casino, but the lack of character, not to mention human contact and any sort of tradition, makes it all too much like a room filled with slot machines – fun for a few minutes, then a little too robotic and monotonous.

Sad to say that this appears to be the start of a trend, but thankfully, some poker rooms like Bellagio and even Sahara, will likely keep their dealers and their appeal to true poker players.

13 Comments to “Excalibur Poker Room Rids Itself of People”

  1. BJ Nemeth

    It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out. The very things that make it less appealing to us as poker players might make it more appealing to non-poker players, who are less intimidated by machines than dealers. (Machines don’t look at you when you make a mistake.)

    I don’t mind if a few casinos switch to all-electronic poker rooms — give the people a choice. If it succeeds, great. If it doesn’t, then we go back to the old way. But I’m not worried about the Bellagio or Venetian switching to 100% electronic tables. It’s a different market.

  2. Gabe

    Probably a similar reaction from the roulette crowd.. is there a roulette crowd?.. now that you can play it cheaper and on the touch screens in the casinos.

  3. GarryM

    Guess it might find a niche in Vegas.
    Those tables didn’t last too long at Winstar.

  4. shronk

    Crown Casino in Melbourne has a good number of these automated tables. In the two times I’ve been there, I’ve noticed a few interesting things about them.

    1. They are surprisingly popular. And BJ is right, they seem to draw a less-experienced crowd that seems less intimidated by them. Which informs:

    2. The play on them is ridiculously bad. Think: the old 1-2 NL games on Party before everyone was a member of CardRunners.

    3. As much less appealing playing “live” poker is without being able to squeeze cards, riffle chips, and create architecture like this – http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/5413/1kstacksaharalm5.jpg, I think the draw of lower rake and bad play might EVENTUALLY win over some regulars.

  5. zach

    this sucks real bad for us poker dealers if it’s a hit, but I don’t think it will be

  6. Harris

    From what I understand the rake is not going to be lower but higher. I haven’t seen the details but the word around town is that these machines will rake in more than your current dealers. Dan you commented on your recent vacation that you played on some automated tables and the rake just killed the game. I don’t know if the players will be bad enough to make up for a higher rake or not.

    These tables may draw players that are worse than your average 1-2 player but there also won’t be as many fish coming around. Without the interaction of the chips, cards, and dealers a lot of players may not come back for more if they lose their first buy-in.

    I think these table have a niche, there is a place for them somewhere. I think they would be a great thing to have in the sattelite rooms of major tournaments. You put a sign above the table showing what the buy-in is for that satellite and as people fill the seats they can get started right away and not have to wait on the floor staff to buy them in, get their chips, and start the clock.

    That brings up another intersting question, if there isn’t a dealer, who is to prevent the players from discussing their hands with each other? Seems like collusion could run a muck (pun intended). You wouldn’t have to worry about people acting out of turn or making string bets but when a guys buddy tells him to call your all in bluff your not going to be very happy and may not have any recourse.

    I’m out on the automated tables, and not just because it would put me out of a job 🙂

  7. Venita

    Sounds boring to me, too much like online poker . . . but the upside is you don’t have to tip the dealer when you win a pot

  8. Johnny

    Venita is obviously a BIG STIFF. I will be glad when a stiff like you plays the electrinic tables.

  9. Venita

    LOL! Actually, no — I try to be a generous tipper. But I think it’s important to keep in mind how the rake and tipping affect your win rate.

  10. DanM

    I gotta agree with Venita … not-tipping on electronic tables is plus-EV.

    That’s not to say human dealers don’t have a value. In fact, arguably, the few that remain 20 years from now will be even more valuable, and probably only the most skilled, since lame dealers seem like they will inevitably be replaced by robots.

  11. Sly Bri

    I think these are only good for one thing, heads-up play. I would love to get some asshole who takes me for a pot with 3-7 and acts like a jerkoff on a machine like that and clean him out.

  12. Harris

    Ok, really??? Not tipping is +EV for these tables? I would have to see the exact rake these tables are taking to know if it’s more or less than a typical rake+tip amount.

  13. DanM

    Oh, I agree with you on that, Harris. (New name? I like it.) But obviously they can set the rake on these to whatever they want.

    I’d like to say that will be how they can compete — by setting the rake lower than a typical rake. But for some reason I don’t expect that to happen, at least not in the immediate future, as the low-stakes players who might be more inclined to give the electros a whirl seem to be the type who don’t really give a shee-ot about rake.

    Don’t worry, Harris, I think your job is secure — at least for another several years. And besides, you are one of the best dealers out there, so even if 80 percent got replaced by robots, they would still need people like you … because while these things could be super-cool for, say, WSOP satellites, I don’t think we’ll see non-human dealers on a WSOP feature table in our lifetimes.