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Best of Frank Scoblete
Cold and bloodless games28 November 2012
In blackjack, I enjoy seeing their ring-covered fingers swiftly shuffling, then cutting, then dealing the cards. I like how fast they can add up everyone’s hands. I also enjoy the conversations with them.
I love watching how fast veteran craps dealers can pay off a multitude of bets at a fast-action table with 12 to 14 players. I marvel at how they keep track of everything. I also enjoy the conversations with them.
At Pai Gow poker, it is amazing how fast a dealer can set his hands and how fast he can tell you the best way (the “house way”) to set your hands. I also enjoy the conversations with them.
Baccarat is an elegant game with male dealers in tuxedos and female dealers in business suits. The conversations are much quieter here, since many foreign players think talk can bring bad luck. I enjoy how the dealers skirt the fine line between foreign and American players. That’s watching professionalism in action.
I like dealers. I like real people, working real jobs, with real expertise and real people skills. You can count me out when racinos and casinos bring in table games – only they bring these in as computer-driven machine games. In short, I don’t like my table games on a machine.
I was in a Las Vegas casino a week ago and it had installed several blackjack machines, with a wide screen animation of a dealer and six seats for the players to sit down and play their faux hands. The dealer was shapely, pretty and always smiling. A flesh and blood human she wasn’t.
I watched as “she” dealt the cards. I watched as the players in the typical slot-machine trance played the machine. There was no talking, no interaction, no relationship and no skill on the part of the animated dealer – everything was in the bowels of the computer program that created this mimic of a real blackjack game.
Just a few days ago a racetrack close to my home opened its racino. Every game was represented: craps, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, the various carnival games and, of course, the slot and video poker games. But every representation was merely a machine. There were no human dealers.
I hate that. I want the talk, the real animation of a real dealer. Give me dealers with rings on their fingers and opinions about this and that and the other thing. I want the real players sitting next to me to talk to each other – even a little. I don’t even care if they give me bad advice about how to play. I can ignore that. Even other players whining and moaning is more fun than watching people who seem like wooden dummies in front of the computer screens. No one at the machine games talk to one another. All of them are in separate worlds. I want us all to share the world. That is the underlying sociability of the table games.
The heart pounding thrill a player gets at a craps table; with players cheering and clapping when they win, and moaning and groaning when they lose, and bets being paid off at lightning speed, and chips flying here and there as players shout out their bets; these are not present in a computer craps game. There is no shared excitement. There is no shared human experience. The computer game is a bloodless beast. It is cold and unappreciative. Like a vampire, it sucks a player's bankroll but has no life of its own to give.
Sadly, the future of casino games is already here. More and more casinos will go the computer machine route since machines are better employees than real employees. They need no sick days; no “my kid is sick” days; or “I can’t work overtime tonight” days or the “I need health insurance” demands. The new computer games are not even computers like Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey who went nuts when he became self aware. No modern computer in machine games is sophisticated enough to become self aware. They are only programmed to do one thing – take your money.
Only players such as I will be driven nuts by the brave new world of machine games. Perhaps you will too.
Yes, we have had slot machines from the late 1800s. But there have always been man-made, man-dealt, man-played table games as well. Now that the computers are taking over the table games, how many of us will simply walk away from the casinos? I know I will. I know my friends will. I am sure that many of you will. I don’t need casinos per se; I just need certain aspects of the casinos. If those aspects are no longer there, neither will I be.
But will that be enough in America and Canada where our children are comfortable with playing on machines from the moment they can move their fingers with some control? The computer table-game future is theirs and there are no doubts about that. Their future will be to enjoy the cold and bloodless games that used to be dealt by real people.
It’s a brave new world I want no part of.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of Frank Scoblete