An addendum to my trip report is a mention of the dealer-less tables at Excalibur. After seeing dealer-less blackjack tables (2) at Caesar's, it reminded me to go try the PokerTek tables. My experience definitely tilted to one side.
First, I had to apply for a card, which meant having my ID scanned and imaged. Well, not thrilled, but my player cards have a ton of stored info, so how can I complain? Still, I suspect my license was imaged and stored, and I am not for that.
Next I had to load chips onto my card. This was akin to a credit card transaction, complete will dated/silly receipt signing ceremony. Finally, its off to the table.
The blinds have been set at $.50/$1, I supposed because of the either the niche they can fill or the backlash that would occur by collecting more rake based on more hands. I suspect it was because the room is unpopular. (click for proof)
Now to the actual play. Ummm. What? Oh, sorry I dozed off. My table had 7 players. 3 were having a side conversation about poker rooms and you could tell none of them were any better than occasional recreation players. They overwhelming loved PokerTek because they "got in so many more hands per hour". Which brought a smile to my face as their "playing" constituted picking up the card, touching the corner of their cards, touching the FOLD button, and then touching the CONFIRM button. There was even a young grinder at the table, up $80 dollars which I can only assume took him 80 hours to accumulate.
The entire experience consisted of watching players stare DOWN at the screen, clicking screens with the corner of their cards, and watching animated cards. It took the poker experience and reduced it to a mechanic task much like gardening, mockingly celebrating the extra 15 hands per hour. I could not even sit out the hour, preferring instead to shop with the wife. Are you hearing this? Shopping for gifts for the in-laws was BETTER than PokerTek. Talk about an indictment.
It even seemed to reduce the other players to surreal automatons, faceless bald-spots, clicking robots with bad AI.
On an even more personal note, I like thinking of the deck as a static determination of fate that I dont get online. Why would I want to sacrifice that live? Why would I just not stay home and play online at a BETTER interface?
There is some hope, however, in that the heads-up tables fill a niche and deal a game that could not otherwise be played live. Oh, but there are no heads-up tables, so too bad so sad for you.
Thankfully the entire "experiment" is coming to a close. Bring back the Aces-cracked Wheel!