King’s Resort, home of the World Series of Poker Europe, reopened its poker room on Monday. The 160-table poker room, the largest in Europe, was closed for nearly two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sister casinos Admiral Casino and King’s Prague also opened. In addition to poker, King’s Resort has also made casino games such as blackjack, roulette, and slots available to customers.

Cover your hole cards…and face

As one would expect, Czech casino has implemented a few safety precautions to try to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. In a Facebook post, it explained that every staff member has been equipped with plastic face shields, similar to kind front line medical staff would wear with patients. All people in the casino, staff and customers, must wear face masks.

As the virus is spread through respiratory droplets, these measures are among the most important. Face masks help reduce the number of droplets that get into the air if someone coughs, sneezes, or even just breathes. The face shields are an added barrier for employees, in case droplets are expelled more forcefully and not adequately contained by a mask.

King’s Resort did not say anything about dealers wearing gloves. A photo on Facebook shows a dealer and other staff wearing masks and face guards, but no gloves. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything, though, as the casino did not look like it was open yet.

When someone leaves a gaming table, a designated staff member will disinfect the area. Hand sanitizer is also available for guests.

Short-handed poker

The casino did not explicitly state in its Facebook announcement how many players are permitted per table, but a couple commenters said games will be six-handed. And again looking at a posted photo, there are no plexiglass barriers put up between seats or between the dealers and players.

As for the poker games themselves, the poker room is starting with just cash games. One would think this is for safety reasons, as a tournament would draw lots of players. It will be difficult enough to keep people safe and enforce some sort of social distancing (if the casino will even do that); hosting a tournament would make the job even hard. Traffic will also be slow at first, so tournaments might not even be feasible.

Picnics are fun

Dining options have been changed, as well. The hotel and restaurant are closed “until further notice,” so there are two alternate options for food. The first is a pop-up grill setup outside. Customers can order and then eat at outdoor tables.

The second option is pre-prepared items like canned drinks and food sealed in plastic bags. These will be available for a “small charge.”

After 14 days, though, all food and beverage restrictions will disappear.

Interestingly, despite the safety measures, there is a post on King’s Resort’s Facebook page from Monday advertising 50 percent off Thai massages. One might think something like that could be a bad idea. I mean, live poker isn’t the best idea right now, but as much as I could go for a massage, I think I’ll stick to rolling my back on a tennis ball for the time being.

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