Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady, in Schenectady, New York, will reopen its poker room on September 1, 2021. The room’s reopening, announced today, ends a long dormancy. The Rivers Casino room closed down in March 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s first wave.
The 16-table has remained closed ever since, even as the casino itself has reopened in several stages. Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady first reopened in September 2020, at 25% capacity. The casino moved to 50% capacity months later, then jumped to an almost-total reopening in June 2021.
The primary exception to that was the casino’s poker room. As in other states, Rivers Casino Schenectady’s previous poker offerings were impacted by several factors. A release from the casino-resort acknowledges that the poker room “is the last of the casino’s major gaming amenities to be reopened since the casino opened back up.”
Partial hours to be in effect
When reopened on Wednesday, Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady will still only offer partial availability. The room’s hours will be from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m. daily. Downtime is used for cleaning and decontaminating surfaces in accordance with state and federal mandates. The casino, its sportsbook, and other amenities enjoy somewhat longer hours, being open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
“One of the questions we’ve been asked the most is when will our poker room will be reopened, and we’re thrilled to announce today that it is finally coming back,” says Rick Richards, Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady’s General Manager. “The poker room is extremely popular and a big part of what makes for a fun and exciting gaming experience at the casino, and we couldn’t be happier to reopen it for our guests.”
The casino also noted that the room will open with a new room manager, poker veteran Elliot Schecter. Schecter’s poker history includes working in rooms in several states, plus being the “Call the Floor” columnist for Ante Up Magazine. Schecter’s installation as the room’s new manager still awaits formal approval from the New York State Gaming Commission.
Mask-or-vax condition of entry for players
Rivers Casino Schenectady’s poker room will reopen with a vax-or-mask rule in place. According to a casino statement, “Masks are optional for fully vaccinated guests. Guests who are not vaccinated, or only partially vaccinated, from COVID-19 must continue to wear a mask.”
The special rules reflect the unique circumstances of a table full of players in prolonged close contact with each other. Rivers Casino has long since taken down the plexiglass barriers it had installed when the casino reopened in September 2020. It’s since become clear that such barriers have a relatively low benefit compared to vaccine or mask-wearing measures.
Featured image source: riverscasino.com