As casinos across America continue to close their in-house poker rooms, Canadian gaming company Jackpot Digital hopes to usher in a new age of automation.
Jackpot Digital launched its new line of Jackpot Blitz poker table machines in June, debuting the product at the 2017 Canadian Gaming Summit.
Designed to look like a standard 10-handed poker table, Jackpot Blitz uses an 84-inch, 4K resolution touchscreen to replicate every aspect of a traditional poker table. Players sit around the table as they normally would, and using the touchscreen to manipulate digital cards and chips, play hands of Texas Hold’em and other popular poker variants for real money.
With over 100 highly sensitive “touch points” on the screen, Jackpot Blitz allows players to cup and squeeze their own cards, tap the table to signify a check, and recreate other gestures and motions common to the physical poker table.
In a recent interview with Sean Chaffin of PokerNews, Jackpot Digital’s chief executive officer Jake Kalpakian positioned Jackpot Blitz as the perfect play for casinos which can’t afford the overhead associated with poker room staffing:
“There’s so much you can do with this table. It’s our intention to get this product out in a lot of different venues that wouldn’t have a poker room to begin with.
Mom and pop operators may not necessarily want to have a staff for poker and budget the capital outlay. There are poker rooms on the Strip closing their poker rooms because it just doesn’t pay.
Now you can still offer that to your customers because you don’t have that additional expense.”
In addition to Texas Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha, the Jackpot Blitz table comes equipped with multigame functionality. As players sit idle in between hands, they can pull up side-screen games like blackjack, roulette, or video poker to occupy themselves.
Of course, this feature provides financial perks for the operator, as players have more avenues for wagering during the course of a poker session.
But according to Kalpakian, the variable nature of Jackpot Blitz’ gaming options was designed expressly for the “millennial” market:
“The technology is something they’re used to already. It’s got all the bells and whistles. It’s got so many things that you can do that it keeps you mentally stimulated at all times.
At a poker table, sometimes you see guys bringing iPads to play online while they’re actually at a cash table. You don’t have to do that anymore. There are always ways to be occupied.”
In just over three months since launching Jackpot Blitz, more than 100 machines have been licensed and placed. One of the product’s earliest adopters has been Carnival Cruise Lines, which uses Jackpot Blitz tables to provide cash games and tournaments during its poker-themed voyages.
Over the last few years several casinos along the Las Vegas Strip – including the Monte Carlo, the Hard Rock, and Luxor – have shuttered their physical poker rooms. This wave of closures is typically attributed to the overhead expenses involved in a poker room, which requires dealers, chip runners, and floor staff to supervise the games.
The advent of Jackpot Blitz follows up on an initial attempt to automate poker, which was led by North Carolina company PokerTek and its PokerPro tables.
But as Kalpakian made clear when speaking to PokerNews, Jackpot Blitz offers technological advancements across the board when compared to its predecessor:
“They were basically 10 terminals that you played and it was just basically Texas Hold’em and the payment systems were very archaic.
There were no other real features, no tracking, no other games, no comping. It was outdated technology.”
Asked about his long-term objectives for Jackpot Blitz, Kalpakian was confident that his product will soon be embraced by the poker community:
“I think it’s the future. It’ll never replace all the dealers. We don’t want to do that.
What we want to do is just be like how online poker complemented the growth of poker with poker tables springing up everywhere. I think that it’s a product whose time has come and you can blend it in with what’s fun with the consumer.
We want to make it fun and friendly, and a faster game and a more stimulating game.”