Coronavirus Threat Doesn’t Seem to Faze American Poker Players … Yet

At least for the time being, and things could certainly change in the coming weeks, the poker community doesn’t appear to be too concerned with the mainstream media’s coronavirus coverage.

coronavirus poker las vegas

Poker rooms in Las Vegas remain open despite the coronavirus scare. (Image:

Card rooms in Las Vegas, the poker capital of the US, remain busy. And while you won’t find many players wearing a face mask just yet, some are making lifestyle changes in preparation for what many experts believe will soon become a major health crisis in America.

Shaun Deeb, for example, isn’t taking any chances with his child’s health.

Aria, one of the top poker rooms in Las Vegas, said it will start washing chips with extra special care. It certainly can’t hurt for casinos to take precautions like this to decrease the odds of customers and staff spreading the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Won’t Keep Poker Players Away

According to ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad, a regular at Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles, attendance at his preferred card room “seems about the same” his past two visits, most recently on Monday. He also told CardsChat News he hasn’t seen players wearing face masks at the tables.

Brad Owen, a Las Vegas poker vlogger, says his experiences are similar.

“People don’t seem to be too concerned overall,” he said.

Attendance in poker rooms around the US doesn’t yet seem to be struggling due to the coronavirus scare. Of course, that could all change in the coming weeks should the virus spread further. As of Tuesday evening, there are more than 950 confirmed cases reported in the US.

But it’s still early and that number figures to soon increase. We just don’t yet know if the coronavirus will spread throughout the country as rapidly as some experts project. Should tens of thousands of Americans become infected, poker rooms will likely begin seeing a significant decline in attendance.

Vegas Buffets Closing

Las Vegas isn’t just the poker capital of the United States. It’s also the buffet capital, with many of the tastiest and most expensive buffets in the country all within a few mile radius. With so many people taking food, plates, and silverware off of communal serving platters, the potential for an infected coronavirus patient to spread the disease unknowingly at a buffet can be high.

Because of this, MGM Resorts has taken pre-emptive action, temporarily closing its buffets at seven properties — MGM Grand, Luxor, Excalibur, Aria, Mirage, Bellagio, and Mandalay Bay.

Wynn, on the other hand, is keeping its fancy buffet open, but customers won’t be permitted to scoop their own food, for the time being. Instead, a staff member will do that for you. You’ll still be allowed to stuff your face on your own, though.

Written by
Jon Sofen
Semi-pro poker player with 17 years experience on the felt and more than five years working as professional poker media.


Nafor wrote...

The world is in quite chaotic situation right now. I agree that close to thousand confirmed cases in the US ‘doesn’t sound so bad’ at least if compared to US population, but for example in Germany there are about 1300 cases and according to todays news the officials gave an estimate that more than 70% of Germany’s population might get infected! That’s close to 60 million people.

Italy is in chaos, my friends in Denmark have told about increasing restrictions, and also in my country the situation is becoming more severe. Everyone should use caution in their daily lives right now.

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