Will Land-Based Poker Ever Return to Normal?
If you look at states that offer online poker gaming, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, you can easily see the industry is booming. This is partly due to the fact that casinos have been shut down for months and players do not have access to land-based gaming options. For the past few months, online poker has brought in tens of millions in revenues, with players choosing to log online instead of missing out on the game entirely. Now, as casinos begin to open up in the US, we notice that poker is not included. Will the game ever return to normal in a land-based setting?
Why Poker Remains Missing
The game of poker is played at a table with players sitting side by side. Everyone handles their own cards and poker chips, passing them back and forth with each hand. Because the coronavirus is so contagious, passing items back and forth and sitting close together is not a good idea.
As casinos reopen, they are offering table games like roulette and blackjack, but allowing dealers to act as players to cut down on the number of people touching the dice, cards, and chips. In the game of poker, it would be far too difficult for a player to have a dealer holding their cards and making moves for them, especially at a packed table.
Because the game is too difficult to play in the current climate, most casinos are choosing to avoid offering poker until a later date. Some are most likely waiting until the number of COVID-19 cases go down considerably before choosing to offer poker. And even then, the tables may be limited as to how many people can be seated at one table.
Who Is Offering Poker?
Let’s take a look at which states are offering poker gaming. A site called Ante Up is keeping track of poker in the US via a reference page. This page shows the casinos and cardrooms that are offering poker in land-based settings. Texas seems to the be the state in the US with the most options, with several cardrooms opening last month.
The poker clubs that have opened are taking precautions, such as checking player temperatures. The 52 Social Poker Club and Abby J Card House are just two examples of venues in Texas checking temperatures. At the Celebrity Card Club, games can take place with seven players total at a table and masks are provided.
It seems that there is no clear way that poker rooms are choosing to offer games. Some are not open, others require players to wear masks and have their temperature checked. Some have tables with plexiglass dividers.
For some time, poker is going to look very different and this may stop people from playing. Cash games will most likely carry on but as for tournaments, it is too early to tell if we will see any major events taking place anytime soon.