It’s actually hard to write for a poker magazine when nearly all card rooms across the country are closed due to Covid-19 concerns. It’s the longest span of time since 1974 that I haven’t been in the rock-and-mortar card room, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that there might be many more months before I’m willing to venture back into another casino. I know that many card rooms in the United States started reopening last week, but Las Vegas still has closed casinos as I write this column.
I’ve received emails, texts and calls from friends asking me what I think will happen regarding the status of poker in the United States by the end of this year. Obviously, I don’t have any crystal balls or “inside” information, so I can only guess. Here are some of my thoughts on this topic:
I predict that the poker rooms in Nevada won’t be reopening any time soon. (In fact, Wynn has stated that the property will reopen without poker.) The Nevada Gaming Commission has approved guidelines recommended by the Nevada Gaming Control Board which limit the number of players at table games to three players for blackjack, six players for craps, four players for roulette. , and four players for poker visit poker88.
It would not be cost effective for any poker room to operate with only four players at a poker table. Many poker rooms already operate in the red zone at a ratio of one poker dealer per table of nine or ten players. There’s no way they can afford to have one dealer for four players (actually more than one dealer per table because the dealer breaks).
Also, it is unlikely that a significant volume of players will be willing to play four hands. From my experience, players at full tables often start to panic and get nervous when there are only one or two empty seats. Cardroom won’t be able to take the full rake with just four players, essentially making it impossible for them to justify a poker spread. Add all of this and you’ll see that reopening the Nevada card space won’t work as long as the current restrictions are in place. In other countries where a poker operator can accommodate six or more players at a table, the card room may profitably reopen.