Saturday, January 12, 2008

Poker machines

One of the world's most storied professions is becoming automated but it's creating a standoff between the dealers and the house.

Quebec's 1,450 unionized croupiers said yesterday they will boycott a test next week of 25 automated poker tables at the Montreal Casino. The dry run will involve no-money games reserved for Loto-Québec staff.
The automated tables, which deal virtual cards to players, are to open to the public at all three provincial gaming houses on Friday.

With the machines, Loto-Québec wants to usher Texas Hold 'Em - a highly popular form of poker - into its casinos. The crown corporation also will start to offer the game at tables with croupiers.

The croupiers, who are about to enter contract talks, say the tables are illegal and charmless.