Casinos in New York state latest to open their doors
While Covid-19 brought about a boom in online poker not seen since the early 2000s, regular brick and mortar casinos have been struggling through months of lockdown. Many casino workers have been either temporarily or permanently laid off – including another 18,000 this week alone at MGM resorts. There are signs though that the worst is over as multiple jurisdictions have been loosening regulations over the past few weeks.
On September 10, thirteen casinos in New York State will re-open to gamblers after having been closed down since early Match. These casinos will join others on Native territories that opened a couple of weeks ago as they were not bound by the same government rules. It won’t quite be business as usual as patrons will need to undergo temperature checks on arrival, wear a mask at all times, and be separated by physical barriers at table games. It’s hoped that these measures, along with improved air filtration systems in all casinos, will allow players to safely gamble and bring some excitement back to these large venues.
Across the continent in California where Covid-19 rates remain somewhat high, the popular Bay 101 poker room in San Jose has installed a massive tent to allow outdoor gaming to take place. Once open in the next week or so, nearly 50 tables will be available to poker players in the Silicon Valley to compete. Take a look at the video below as local reporter Kiet Do takes a tour of the new facilities.
Tournament action re-starting in Vegas
While New York and California are large markets for casinos, neither compare to Las Vegas, America’s true sin city and home to some of the largest poker games in the world. Although the World Series of Poker took place online this year instead of its usual venue of the Rio, casinos in Nevada have already been slowly re-opening with increased safety protocols.
One thing that had been missing though was the different poker tournament series that draws both poker professionals and recreational players to Las Vegas. The Venetian, a popular casino for tournaments year-round, is changing that and bringing back their famous Deep Stack series. Kicking off on Labour Day Monday with a $10k guaranteed one-day tourney, the tourney blasted through the guarantee with a $55k prize pool with Washington state resident, Mihai Turenschi, taking down just under $13k for first place. There will over $400,000 in prize pools to be won in the series which wraps up September 27 and if the first event is any indication, there will be much more than that given out in this series.
European poker rooms also re-opening
It’s not just in America that poker is returning to its live roots but also across the pond as casinos are trying different ways to bring gamblers back through their doors. Many London casinos are still not back to spreading poker but the Hippodrome is one that has been quietly operating cash games since mid-August. Home to Pokerstars Live, the games feature smaller tables (typically only running seven-handed) to allow for social distancing and stronger hygiene requirements are in place to protect players.
Two games open and seating third table now. Space available, come and see us. pic.twitter.com/0ltKcHzreB
— PSLive@TheHippodrome (@PSLive_Hippo) August 15, 2020
Switzerland may not be known for its poker action but it’s three largest casinos – in Baden, Berne and Lucerne – have been open since early summer and are now restarting their tournament schedules. All three are part of the Grand Casino chain and starting this week cards will be back in the air for their weekly tournament series.
Not to be outdone, King’s Casino Rozvadov in the Czech Republic is home to some of the largest poker action across Europe. While their re-opening was amongst the first on the continent, September is seeing some big prize pools as players become more comfortable with playing poker in person. The popular card room will be running the Euro Poker Million series starting next week. With a €250 buy-in and seven different starting flights all culminating in a €500,000 guaranteed prize pool, expect to see many professional players from around the world making their first live appearance since Covid-19 at this event.
The reopening of poker rooms across the world is good news for the industry – and more importantly casino workers and poker players – online poker is still the dominant form of action in 2020. Be sure to check out YourPokerDream’s reviews on all the top online poker rooms out there when making your decision on the next site to try.