After over two months of complete shutdown in society from the COVID-19 pandemic, many places in the States of America are beginning to entertain the notion of opening themselves up and trying to reestablish “normal” life. For many, this might entail the casinos and card rooms across the country. But different casinos and poker rooms in different states are presenting a wide array of opening options, while some are remaining closed for the near future.
Short-Handed Tables Expected to be The New Normal
Some locales have decided to reopen their properties with some protections for both the players and the employees of the club. Prime Social Poker Club in Houston has been one of the properties that has tossed their doors open, but they are not doing it haphazardly. Opened since May 11, Prime Social closes from 5AM to 10AM daily for cleaning and the dealers and other floor staff are all wearing facial masks.
In Florida, it has been surprising that the Seminole Indians have not reopened their properties yet. The massive Hard Rock operations that the Seminole run in the Sunshine State have not been reopened. But this didn’t stop one operation from trying to beat them to the punch.
One of the dog racing tracks in Tampa, Derby Lane, teased people that they would open before any other operation in Florida on May 8. After some discussion (and probably some interactions with the Florida gaming officials), Derby Lane decided not to open their poker room for action and, as of yet, they remain on the sidelines.
Another location in Florida at Hialeah Park has given a glimpse into what could be the potential future of poker. In a photo released by the poker room, four players and a dealer (all masked) are shown around a poker table with a high partition separating the players from each other and the dealer. The photo didn’t exactly wow the potential players who might be taking part in the game.
Is Everyone Watching Las Vegas?
What is going on at Hialeah Park could be what is going to happen in Las Vegas if they get around to opening. As of today, none of the casinos or gaming operators around Nevada have indicated when they are going to open their doors. In fact, it seems that there is a waiting game going on in Las Vegas, seeing who will be the first to pull the trigger, while it might seem that other locales are looking to see what success Las Vegas has.
In a report on CNN on Friday, reporter Kyung Lau was given exclusive access to Caesars Palace, sitting silent on a Friday like every casino in town. The eerie silence of the usually boisterous gaming floor was made more apparent as Berryman conducted her interview with Caesars Palace Chief Executive Officer Tony Rodio. “Never closed in 54 years,” Rodio remarked to Lau as they discussed the situation.
Rodio showed Lau the “new normal” for the floor of Caesars, including the new three-handed blackjack tables that will be used. Lau points out that the distance between those seated at the blackjack table isn’t the suggested six feet, to which Rodio responds, “You’re close to six feet and you aren’t face to face.” Craps tables, Rodio states, will have three to a side to maximize the distance between players and croupiers. “We will be deactivating every other slot machine and removing the stool…a player can’t stand there and play because the machine will be deactivated,” Rodio says. One of the things not mentioned in the report is anything regarding poker rooms, however.
Las Vegas could be the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to casino gaming and poker. If it is seen that they can pull off such actions, then other locations might be more willing to open their doors (unfortunately, California card rooms might be closed for some time as the Indian casinos open). This could be the reason that Las Vegas is taking the time it is before reopening – they are aware that they might only get one shot at doing it right.