In June of 2006, PokerWorks' writer Falstaff reported playing on the PokerPro prototype and visiting PokerTek headquarters in North Carolina. PokerPro has surfaced more than once since then in numerous articles on PokerWorks which can be found here and here. Hollywood Park Casino opened a PokerPro room and Harrah's Entertainment even made PokerTek their official automated poker table company.
PokerPro has surfaced again as Folsom Lake Bowl Sports Bar and Casino in Sacramento has taken a different approach and brought in the automated tables. Since May, PokerTek has supplied the Galaxy StarWorld Hotel and Casino in Macao, an American Indian casino outside Chicago, and other new card rooms and casinos with PokerPro tables.
Chris Halligan, PokerTek's chief executive states, "It's all about accessibility." He said, "We're using technology to make the game even bigger than it is today."*
The reasons to replace live dealers with automated poker are quite obvious: no mistakes made in dealing; the game speed is improved and the house makes more income; starting a game requires nothing more than two people that want to play - no waiting for a dealer to arrive or paying one to wait for a game to start.
And one reason that seems to run high on everyone's list is stated bluntly by Matt Harkness, general manager of the Four Winds Casino Resort, New Buffalo Michigan, "If you're doing well, tossing in $1 or $2 after every win can add up." He said, "This technology keeps that money with the players."*
Yet if poker is played in an automated environment, without a live dealer, no chip shuffling, no cards to hold snug under your hand or release with a bit of venom when you've looked at rags for hours, no lively conversation or human touch as a main element of the game, why not stay home and play poker online? Poker is a social game!
How will PokerPro fare over a period of time? PokerWorks will be keeping you up to date on news and results. In the meantime, there's a seat waiting for you in your favorite online poker room. You don't have to leave the house to get to it, you can come dressed as you are, you can chat your buddies and rant about your beats to players around the world, win money and fame, and the opportunity to play poker on TV. And you get a poker bonus just for downloading and depositing. Your seat is open now!