by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
Online poker is essentially expanding into live casinos like Excalibur, where players are being introduced to a fully automated poker room. Much like one would find in an online casino, there are no cards, no chips and no dealer.
It seems that in order to generate more public interest in poker at live casinos, the resort has attempted to make the game feel more like an online casino, with its electronic poker tables. Excalibur will run a trial period using the automated poker table for six months in order to evaluate customer approval.
The Nevada Gaming Commission gave its assent to PokerTek to field test the system with 12 games at the table. Excalibur is not the first to implement this technology into live casinos, as PokerTek has over 230 machines running, 25 of which are in Casino du Montreal.
According to Todd DeRemer, Vice President of Casino Operations at Excalibur, “In the past three years, interest in poker has declined significantly at the Excalibur. We have tried to figure out how to make the room successful and to fit our customer. We’ve never run high-limit games. We don’t have the clientele with that type of interest.”
Unfortunately, more than 40 dealers have lost their jobs at the expense of the electronic tables to which DeRemer responded, “A majority have been placed, and we’re working diligently with everyone else.” Some dealers were transferred to different casinos, while other were offered other positions at Excalibur.
The risks of such an operation and the loss of employees have not concerned Excalibur’s management. DeRemer concludes, “We like the appeal of the technology. We think that will be a draw for our casino.”