The closure of Ladbrokes’ loss-making casino in Paddington this week has left this old dog with mixed emotions. On the one hand its difficult to feel any sympathy for the 100 or so staff who have been laid off as the ones I dealt with were about as cheerful as Gordon Brown on letter writing day. On the other hand the casino did have a PokerPro table.
I don’t know whether you’ve ever had the pleasure but these electronic sit&go touch-screen tables are state of the art poker joy. Once you’ve charged up your poker card with money, you insert it in the table, select how many reddies you want to bring to the game and then watch as the automatic dealer fizzes virtual cards across the glass table top, which is really a rich man’s computer screen, to you and your fellow players.
Betting is as simple. You just click on whichever denomination suits on the screen in front of you, hit Confirm and Bob’s your Uncle. The coolest part, though, is the touch-sensitive screen that lets you squeeze your cards out by cupping your hand over them.
A cross between real poker and the online version, PokerPro poker gives you the face-to-face interaction with your fellow players and the chance to look for tells, without the waiting around between hands for the dealer to shuffle up before landing you with yet another 2-7.
If your thinking about getting a PokerPro table of your own, mind, you’ll need deep pockets. Apparently Ladbrokes paid around £1m for theirs, so unless Calvin’s feeling especially generous this Christmas I’ll just have to settle for online poker.