For some years now, Shuffle Master gaming have been producing a range of electronic table games, called “Table Master“. I’ve played a few of these games in my time (they’re only found in land based casinos), and they’re actually pretty good. For me, the absence of a human dealer can be both good and bad: some dealers are great, some are lousy. At least with a computerised dealer you know what to expect. 🙂 And the Shuffle Master Table Master games look good too – as can be seen in this photo taken by Shuffle Master themselves:
One feature I really like with these Table Master games is that the gameplay of all seating positions is completely independent of the others. This means that no one elses decisions will ever affect your play, as your cards are coming from a separate virtual deck. This is actually BETTER than a normal blackjack game, when some idiot player sitting on 13 against a dealer picture can really screw YOUR hand.
The Table Master games can be configured by casinos to have minimum bets etc. On the games I’ve physically played, I found $2 – $200 bet spreads – but I know of some casinos that have a $5 minimum. In any case, the odds of the game are set by the rules that the game gets configured to for that casino. A fairly typical rule set for a Las Vegas casino might be as follows:
6 decks (shuffled after four decks)
Blackjack pays 3 to 2
Dealer hits soft 17
Double after split allowed
Double on any two cards allowed
Split to two hands only
Seven Card Charlie (un-busted hands of 7 cards automatically win)
Bet range: $2-$200
If these exact rules are configured, then the house edge on this game is around .68%. That’s not too bad – but when playing you must bear in mind that there are no breaks at the end of a shoe, that the gameplay is quite fast, and that its very easy to get addicted to this type of game. From my own experience at least. Do make sure whenever you play that you are using a casino Players Card to get comps / points etc and make the most of your play.
If anyone has played this game in their local casino lately, let me know how you got on. It would be interesting to have another article on this in the near future, perhaps comparing the various game configurations that are out there in the market (and therefore helping to direct players to the casino with the best configuration set). I can be contacted (as always) at firstname.lastname@example.org.