For seven months, Atlantic City has been without live poker gaming. Casinos were closed for less than that, but once they reopened in July, poker was not on offer. The COVID-19 outbreak caused the initial shutdown and as the virus lingers, there was worry that the social game of poker would not be safe to provide guests. Now, it seems the wait is over. The Borgata Casino has announced that their Poker Room will reopen this Wednesday at 10 am.
Readjusting to a COVID World
As the Poker Room gets back in action, it will be operating based on coronavirus measures. Borgata president and chief operating officer Melonie Johnson said that the casino is happy to welcome back its loyal players to a ‘market-leading East Coast poker destination’.
Players who have visited the poker room before will notice a few differences. First, the room will have thirty tables, all spaced out for social distancing. Dividers created from polycarbonate are placed between each player and the dealer. Such dividers have already been used in table games around the United States.
At each table, only seven players will be allowed to compete. There are no tournaments on the schedule as of yet. The Borgata will only offer cash games during the initial option. However, it will provide the Borgata Bad Beat Jackpot, so players will have a chance to win a $100,000 prize if they get the bad beat.
The poker room will offer beverage options to players but there will be no food served. This is being done to cut down on the amount of time that players will not be wearing a mask. Speaking of masks, the poker room will operate in accordance with the regulations in New Jersey which say that masks must be worn in all public areas of the casino.
To help with sanitization, the space will include dispensers with hand sanitizer. High-touch points will be cleaned by Borgata staff members. There will be no spectators allowed in the space, only those who are playing the game.
The poker room is also asking that any players who test positive after visiting the casino contact the venue so they can report the test and help with contact tracing efforts.
Saved by Online Poker
While live poker has been inactive, New Jersey has been lucky enough to have online poker gaming options. This is a bonus for players and for the operators. While players are able to have poker cash game and tournament options, operators are able to make money from the game.
This came in really handy when the casinos were shut down and not bringing in any revenues. Operators like the Borgata, which offer online poker gaming along with casino options, had an additional revenue source. Other states that did not offer online gaming were stuck with zero options when it came to bringing in revenues during the coronavirus shutdown.
It will be interesting to see if players will travel to the Borgata to play poker or if there is still a fear behind playing the game during this COVID-19 world.