The Las Vegas poker scene continues to grow and rebuild during the global health pandemic. Two more card rooms are about to return to action, both on the Strip at Bally’s and Wynn.
When COVID-19 hit the US earlier this year, most casinos were forced to close, some for more than three months. In Las Vegas, every casino shut down on March 17, and none were permitted to reopen until June 4. That put the entire live poker scene to sleep, but it’s now starting to regroup.
Four Las Vegas poker rooms out of 31 reopened the first weekend in June. That number has grown significantly since, and the city is now up to 16. Later this month, you can add two more poker rooms to that list.
Bally’s, a Caesars Entertainment property on the central part of the Strip, is set to reopen its 14-table poker room September 25. Most who play at Bally’s are low stakes grinders and recreational players. The games spread are typically $1/$3 no-limit Texas hold’em and low stakes limit games. Bally’s also spreads some cheap buy-in daily tournaments, although the card room hasn’t yet announced when they’ll bring back tournaments.
Wynn is a completely different animal. Many of the top players in town play at Wynn (technically Encore) for a few reasons. The poker room is quite luxurious and modern, whereas Bally’s is the opposite. Top players also enjoy the juicy higher stakes games offered at Wynn, but the casino also has plenty of lower stakes games available 24/7.
Wynn gets back in action soon
Wynn’s poker room is set to reopen September 30. Games will be limited to eight players per table, maximum, the most allowed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Health safety precautions will be in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Safety dividers at each seat will separate players, and face masks are required while playing unless you’re taking a drink. Immediately after taking a sip, you’re required to then put your face mask back on.
After Wynn and Bally’s bring back poker later this month, Las Vegas will be up to 18 poker rooms. Although 13 still remain closed, Vegas will still have more open poker rooms than any other city in the country even has, closed or open.
Current open poker rooms on the Strip (excluding Bally’s and Wynn) include Aria, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, MGM Grand, Sahara, and Venetian. Currently closed poker rooms with no reopen date yet include Excalibur, Harrah’s, Mirage, and Planet Hollywood.
Don’t expect Harrah’s or Mirage, at the very least, to bring back poker any time soon. Both casinos have replaced the poker rooms with a smoke-free slot machine area.
Wynn is the final “major” poker room in Las Vegas to reopen since COVID-19. Aria, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, and Venetian, considered by most among the top card rooms in town, along with Wynn, have been open for quite some time.
Despite getting ready to reopen its poker room, Wynn’s casino has gone through some difficult times lately. The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently reported that 500 Wynn employees have tested positive for the coronavirus since reopening.
Featured image source: Twitter