Land-based casino poker games recently resumed at the Borgata Casino & Spa after months of shutdown owing to the pandemic. Borgata’s The Poker Room opened its doors on October 21st with 30 socially distanced tables as per the company’s health and safety protocols that are aimed at protecting both the punters and staff.
The polycarbonate barriers may take some getting used to but customers can still expect live cash games for all poker play, which is good news for anyone who’s missed the conventional brick and mortar casino experience.
Some of the things punters have to look forward to including Borgata’s Bad Beat Jackpot, which was initiated as soon as The Poker Room welcomed its first guests. The Bad Beat Jackpot allows bettors that have lost their hand to try for a prize worth $100,000. Tournaments will not be offered in the Poker Room although this could change as time progresses.
Guidelines and restrictions at the Borgata’s casino poker games
Numerous guidelines have been imposed in many industries to keep individuals safe and the casino business is no different. The new restrictions are part of Borgata’s and MGM Resorts’ seven-point plan which consists of a series of multi-layered approaches that address everything from employee screening to customer safety during the pandemic.
These protocols and procedures were implemented at all MGM Resorts’ properties throughout the country including Atlantic City casinos. The key points from the plan that bettors hoping to try their hand at the newly re-opened Poker Room should know include:
- All employees hoping to take part in the casino poker games will be tested as well as given regular temperature checks and COVID-19 specific training to facilitate the safety of customers.
- Guests and employees will be required to be in face masks at all times. The good news is that guests will be provided with said masks at no charge.
- Guests should also expect screening and temperature checks at various entrance points.
- There will be physical distancing floor guides all over the floor to serve as reminders to guests.
- There will also be handwashing and sanitizing stations all over the floor
Although casino poker games might look a little different than bettors and poker fans remember, these changes are critically important. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the exceptional service that customers have become accustomed to as discussed here.
Punters can expect the same hospitality experiences that they’ve become accustomed to from the Borgata, if not better as covered here. The Borgata generated approximately $18 million in total poker revenue last year, which makes it one of the industry greats.
The pandemic has made things different for casino poker games
All of Atlantic City’s 9 casinos were shut down in March thanks to the outbreak. When all casinos finally received the go-ahead to re-open, none offered live poker. Before the pandemic, however, punters in Atlantic City enjoyed 5 poker rooms at Bally’s, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s Resort, Tropicana, and of course, the Borgata. Ocean Casino Resort previously had a great poker room that has since been removed to create space for a socially distanced high limit slot area.
It’s been a grueling few months for punters and poker lovers alike having after being left no choice but to endure months of no professional or recreational poker. Now poker has returned but with numerous restrictions.
What’s even more daunting for most is that it remains unclear as to how long these restrictions will last. This means that some of these changes to live poker that we’ve seen over the last few weeks could very well be permanent, which means that it will take even longer than expected for poker to recover.
The good news is that online gambling has been on the up and up, which has helped the industry stay afloat through these tough times. With the closure of brick and mortar casinos, punters naturally turned online and to mobile casinos and sportsbooks in New Jersey. In-person poker simply wasn’t designed to thrive in this era of health protocols that we find ourselves in.
Having players huddled over the same table, breathing heavily over one another, while they share communal cards and chips simply wasn’t going to work, without the necessary changes being implemented. That’s why it took some time before poker rooms could open their doors.
Like the NBA or NHL, remarkable poker tournaments were at risk of being canceled entirely. For instance, the World Series of Poker which is under the Caesars Entertainment brand had to postpone in-person events because of the pandemic. It did, however, move its tournament online, even as poker rooms remained closed.
The impact of the virus has also been felt by legislators that are now more likely than ever to prioritize poker legislation. Currently, only 4 states in the country offer legalized online poker with states such as Michigan and West Virginia expected to legalize the industry in the future. Because of this snail’s pace in legislation, players in other states have now been forced to decide between not playing at all or opting for offshore sites.
Things do look bright though. Thanks to the pandemic and the budget deficit that it has created in many states’ budgets, more and more states across the country are expected to consider the legalization of online gaming as a steady and constant source of revenue that can continue to thrive and even flourish during unexpected situations such as a pandemic.
Live casino poker games are back to Atlantic City, much to the delight of poker lovers in America’s favorite playground. As you can expect, operations have resumed at reduced capacity with 30 socially distanced tables with a floor that’s capable of handling 80 to keep punters safe. Although no tournaments will be available, this may be subject to change in the coming months.
Are you a New Jersey resident interested in playing online in our state and taking advantage of the best offers? Check out our curated list of NJ casinos, NJ sportsbooks, and online bonuses. And if you are a poker player, please check our list of Best Poker Sites in New Jersey.