Not all Vegas poker rooms on the same six-handed page as Bellagio

Posted on: June 22, 2020 12:21 PDT

It’s not just those famous fountains that gives the Bellagio and edge over other properties on Las Vegas Boulevard. The recently reopened poker room is upping the ante on what pandemic poker will look like thanks to its approval to host six-handed games.

The property installed plexiglass dividers between players to help give Bellagio an edge over other poker rooms. Competing properties have been hosting five-handed poker games in keeping with a directive from the Gaming Control Board.

At other properties, players are required to wear masks. But thanks to the plexiglass dividers, players are only encouraged to wear them.

“We’re really happy to be open,” said Bellagio director of poker operations Mike Williams. “We’ve definitely had a positive response.”

Williams notes that the room was running at least 15 games on Saturday throughout the course of the day. During some periods, there were 20 games running simultaneously.

While some properties are looking to follow in Bellagio’s footsteps, the approach to live poker varies from poker room to poker room.

The Orleans, for example, has been open since June 4th, but hasn’t been able to offer six-handed play. That could soon change, according to poker room manager Garrett Okahara. He noted that the room ordered plexiglass dividers and plans to have them installed soon.

“Although I assumed there would be pent-up demand upon opening, the demand has certainly exceeded my expectations to this point,” noted Okahara. “It can only get better with six players, too!”

Caesars Palace, however, is staying the course, citing no reason to install dividers.

“We’re getting plenty of business without it,” said Ryan Bishop, an executive running the poker room. “The players are happy.”

The Venetian, which reopened its poker room on June 5th, hasn’t confirmed if it will install plexiglass. On Saturday, the poker room was running 20 games.