If you are a poker lover going on a cruise ship with an onboard casino, it’s not a certainty that you will find dealer-dealt cash-game or tournaments on the ship.
Electronic poker has completely eliminated the need for passing cards and chips around the table, and of course having to pay a dealer! Computers don’t make mistakes or get tired either!
Video poker terminals and slots are a certainty of course – because no croupier or dealer is required. It is often the case that there are not many people interested in playing poker on a ship – so sometimes it makes sense for casinos to automate the game, with a little help from an electronic poker table.
Popular cruise company Princess cruises is one such operator – offering croupiers and dealers for table games only (blackjack, roulette, baccarat and some forms of card games), and letting automation take over for poker – with electronic poker tables dealing the cards for travelers looking to play Texas Holdem cash-games onboard.
Princess Cruises Poker
Technicians from Jackpot Digital Inc. have installed Jackpot Blitz poker tables (or Electronic table games – ETGs) on a number of Princess ships (January 2020), including on the Carnival Liberty cruise ship in Orlando, Florida and on the impeccable Crown Princess at Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA.
Jackpot Digital’s biggest customer in 2022 is actually also a cruise company – Carnival Cruises.
Other ships in the Princess Cruises fleet use Pokertek‘s Poker-Pro Table to offer cash game action.
Electronic poker tables allow passengers to play real-money cash-games while sailing the seven seas.
All that is required is two or more players – with most electronic poker tables having room for 8 or 10 players per table.
How To play real-money poker on an electronic table on a Cruise Ship
- Players tap their cruise card on the touch screen to login to the poker game, and to deposit funds (which are billed to your stateroom).
- The computer deals the cards
- Players can peek at their hole cards by holding their cruise card over their hand while cupping their hands over their cards – instructing the terminal to show the cards in privacy.
- Usual poker betting actions are performed via the touchscreen.
Poker: The problem With Electronic Table Games on Cruise Ships
The USA-Casino.com team enjoyed a six week cruise around the Mediterranean on Princess Cruises ‘Crown Princess’ Vessel in 2020. As well as being laden with slots, table games and video poker tables, the on-board casino was fitted ONE electronic poker table (a PokerTek “PokerPro” table). This seemed adequate for the low demand on our particular cruise, however for the last six days of the voyage, the machine was out of order.
With no engineer to service and fix the machine until it docked at a specific port, cash-game poker players were out of luck. The ship casino did not have any real poker tables as backup whatsoever. Very frustrating indeed if you have been running over the fish on the boat, or if you’re in the hole to a player and unable to seek “justice” / revenge in a subsequent session!
“Running it twice” is possible on some electronic poker tables.
Poker games found on U.S cruise ships generally start at $1/$2 or $2/$4 blinds – No Limit Texas Hold’em, but of course if there is demand for higher stakes, or different poker variants the casino host can be called to switch the settings on the RNG computer dealt poker game.
The rake (the ‘vig’ taken by the house) varies by poker room, and is likely to be a little higher than you would find at a land-based casino.
Princess Cruises casinos generally have a huge variety of video poker games onboard if you want to play 1 on 1 poker against the computer. Remember to always consult the pay-table and to bet max-stake to get the maximum ROI for big hands like quads, full-houses and straight flushes.