After months of no poker action due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Las Vegas is gearing up to reopen this weekend. But if you’re a poker player looking for action on Las Vegas Boulevard, your choices are extremely limited.
The only casino on the Strip slated to open this weekend is Venetian. But they’re not the only game in town. Other casinos off the Strip slated to open include South Point (located south of the Strip) and The Orleans (located near the Strip). Westgate (also located near the Strip) is scheduled to open June 18th.
Strip Casinos that are closed include Aria, Bally’s, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Excalibur, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Mandalay, Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Planet Hollywood, Sahara, and Wynn.
Non-strip casino that are closed include Binion’s (Freemont Street), Boulder Station (East Las Vegas), Cannery (North Las Vegas), Club Fortune (Henderson), Golden Nugget (Fremont Street), Green Valley Ranch (Henderson), Palace Station (near Strip), Poker Palace (North Las Vegas), Red Rock (Summerlin), Rio (near Strip), Sam’s Town (Easy Las Vegas), Santa Fe (Northwest Las Vegas), Silver Sevens (near Strip), and Skyline (Henderson).
The list of closed casinos is long for obvious reasons. The gaming board in Nevada has limited poker to 4-handed, an experience that makes for small pots and less action than those choosing full tables are used to.
Coupled with an experience that can include plexiglass dividers and a requirement to wear personal protective equipment like masks at the table (depending on the casino), it’s not clear if the neutered experience will attract casual players who don’t mind playing against a smaller field of players, or serious grinders who are craving live poker action.
To its credit, Venetian is doing something interesting to make poker somewhat attractive. Its poker room will host $100 winner-take-all Sit & Go games, all of which start once four players have been seated.