Saturday, September 22, 2007

Four Winds poker - no dealer

I visited a new casino, Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Michigan (opened a month ago) to play for a little while on a table that eliminates the need for the live dealer. I played a NL game. I bought in for $50 and was up and down until my last hand where I went all in on K-J two pair to be beat by a fellow with 3-4 and the wheel straight.

I liked the electronic tables. The rake was cheaper and there was no tip, so that cut down on the cost of playing. Fewer mistakes were possible. You could not check so softly as to deny it after it had gone around. You could not bet out of turn. You could not bet with the wrong chips. There was no crazy stuff like the single chip rule which confused me in Laughlin and cost me money.

When it was your turn to play, a light lit on your console and you punched how much of the preloaded buy in you wished to bet and then confirmed your decision. Hands went by faster. No shuffling, no time needed for counting chips and calculating side pots, no chip fills, no taking of tip boxes, no dealer changes. It was all done quickly by computer. Some have worried that without a dealer there might be a lack of social exchange and there is something to that. No pretty girls faces to study during cold hand streaks. Still, it is possible to say something to someone at the other end of the smaller table, be heard, and not have the dealer jump into the conversation.

Would that make it easier to cheat with a partner? Well, it might. You would have to call the floor. But the last time I was with two guys showing hands, he dealer could not do anything anyway and I had to call the floor. It would be impossible to cheat by marking cards or hiding them. It would be impossible for the dealer to misread a hand at the end.

I liked it. But I was not there too long.

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