Blinds and Antes: Smoking Banned at Harrah’s NC, Global Poker Awards Return, and More

4 min read

A new poker room that will employ 25 in Pennsylvania, a permanent smoking ban in North Carolina, digital poker tables coming to a casino in Oregon, and a celebration of poker people in Las Vegas are just some blinds and antes CardsChat picked up during another orbit around the poker world.

GPI Awards
The Global Poker Awards are set to return to Vegas in February. (Image: GPI)

Global Poker Awards date set

CardChats reported in April that the Global Poker Awards will return in 2022. Now, we know when and where they’ll take place: Feb. 18, at the PokerGo studios in the Aria. The ceremonies will be streamed live through the subscription service. 

More than 20 trophies are up for grabs, including awards for the GPI Player of the Year, GPI Female Player of the Year, Poker ICON, and Players’ Choice Award for Best All-Around Poker Player. Awards voting will begin in early 2022.

Fans will be able to vote for three “Fan Choice” awards. Details about those awards and how to vote will soon be announced. 

Thank you for not smoking

The home of the WSOP Circuit in North Carolina, Harrah’s Cherokee, and its twin, Valley River Casino in Murphy, have permanently banned smoking on their properties.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians tribal council approved the non-smoking rule last week. Casinos in North Carolina have been smoke-free since the pandemic started. The tribe owns the casinos.

“We made a lot of money without cigarettes, pipes, and cigars being lit up in our casino, and I’ve been told by a lot of the employees up there that they are really grateful for that,” council member Teresa McCoy (pictured) told the online newspaper Cherokee One Feather. “Second-hand smoke is almost as deadly as smoking.”

Rookies welcome

A $200 “rookies event” will be part of the Potomac Winter Poker Open at the MGM National Harbor located near Alexandria, Virginia outside of Washington DC, in February. 

Restricted to players with less than $25K in tournament winnings as reported on the Hendon Mob, the No-Limit Hold’em event will take place Saturday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m.

The Potomac Winter Poker Open festival runs from Feb. 9-21, and features 16 events, capped by its $2,700 championship event with a $500K guarantee, starting on Feb. 18.

Digital poker tables coming to Oregon

Jackpot Digital, a digital poker table manufacturer out of Vancouver, announced that it will install five of its tables at Three Rivers Casino in Florence, Oregon, pending regulatory approval. 

The Jackpot Blitz tables are made with an 84-inch, 4K display that responds to hand motions to see the hole cards. The tables can seat 10 players and provide players with the option to engage in various prop bets (e.g., betting on the flop) during their poker games. The house advantage is 10.53%, according to the companies website. 

“Offering a large variety of gaming products, including Poker in a dedicated poker room, is what make Three Rivers Casino Resort a resort, not just a casino,” said Three Rivers Casino’s Director of Gaming, Rick Ray, in a press release. “The addition of Jackpot Blitz, with its creative design and user-friendly interface will allow us to take our poker product to the next level. I’ve introduced many of our current poker players to Jackpot Blitz and they are very excited that we’re bringing it to our floor.”

Three Rivers Casino closed its poker room as part of its Covid protocols, but plans to reopen it sometime next year. 

Wildfire on Freemont Street

Stations Casinos is planning a new, 21,500 square foot Wildfire Casino in downtown Las Vegas on five acres of vacant land that used to be the Castaways Resort and Casino. It will be the 20th casino for the company in Las Vegas.


New poker room outside Pittsburgh

A seven-table poker room will open at Live! Casino, located about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh on Monday. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved the casino’s application to open the room this week. The casino said its poker room, located on the second floor, will generate about 25 jobs, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Images: Stations Casinos, Jackpot Digital, MGM Resorts, Mascaro Construction, and Facebook/Teresa McCoy. 

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