Nevada Poker Rooms To Reopen With Four-Max Tables

Las Vegas casinos are prepared to reopen their poker rooms but all tables must be played four-max

Nevada casinos are creating plans that allow them to reopen to the gambling-loving public. It’s great news for poker players in “Sin City” but reopening comes with a twist. Official documentation suggests poker rooms will reopen with four-max tables in play.

Governor Steve Sisolak ordered the closure of Nevada’s casinos on March 12. Nevada’s casinos shut down for the first time since President John. F. Kenney’s 1963 funeral as a result. The famous neon lights dimmed. Bellagio’s fountains ran dry. The world’s gambling Mecca still resembled a ghost town.

There are more than 30 poker rooms in the Las Vegas area that are currently closed for business. Plans are afoot to reopen them, with May 15 penciled in for the earliest possible return.

The need for social distancing is the reason for the casino closures. People around the world are implementing similar measures, including keeping a distance of two meters from each other. This is to help halt the rapid spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

COVID-19 is affecting the United States like no other country in the world. Confirmed cases in the U.S. stand at 1.24 million, a million more than any other country. Deaths weigh in at almost 73,000, over 46,000 more than anywhere else.

Four-Max Poker Tables To Be The Norm

Las Vegas is preparing to reopen despite the harrowing figures surrounding COVID-19. Casinos are invited to submit reopening plans to the state, but they must adhere to strict guidelines.

Table games and card game have their own specific rules to follow. A document from the Nevada Gaming Control Board details those rules. Plans must limit the number of patrons based on the type of game to ensure social distancing occurs. These include four-max poker tables. It suggests the following limitations:

  • Blackjack: three players per table
  • Craps: six players per table
  • Roulette: four players per table
  • Poker: four players per table

Additional plans include regular cleaning and disinfection of chips, cards, seats, rails, and other equipment.

The document also states total casino occupancy must not exceed 50% of the venue’s current limits. Gatherings of 250 or more people are banned also. That last part certainly puts paid to any hopes of a 2020 World Series of Poker.

Will Four-Max Poker tables Work?

Online poker players, particularly cash game grinders, are used to playing at short-handed tables. Six-max tables make up the bulk of online poker’s cash games. Players are used to playing these faster-paced games.

Cash games in the live poker setting tend to be played in a full ring format. These nine-handed, sometimes ten-handed in smaller poker rooms, are the norm. It is extremely rare to find short-handed cash games in Las Vegas, never mind four-max tables.

Tables tend to break when play becomes short-handed because live players won’t play these games. Then there’s the question of rake. Rake in Las Vegas poker rooms is already so high that it makes the lower stakes unbeatable in the long run.

Significant rake reductions are put in place whenever a table is played four-max. Many more hands are dealt per hour and the rake eats up all the money at the table. Will casinos be willing to run four-max tables at a much-reduced rake to keep them running?

Forcing poker tables to play four-max makes tournament poker almost impossible. Each table needs a dealer and the fees taken from tournaments are nowhere near the rake generated by cash games.

When Will Las Vegas Casinos Reopen?

May 15 is the date being bandied around right now, but that’s for Phase 1. This phase doesn’t include plans for the reopening of casinos.

Phase 2 sees a large number of businesses and activities permitted, albeit with strict social distancing measures. The date of Phase 2 is still under wraps as it depends on how Phase 1 goes down.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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