Nottingham’s Dusk Till Dawn is keeping its doors closed for the foreseeable future, despite casinos across the UK reopening last week.
Owner Rob Yong took to Twitter over the weekend to address the current situation and why he’s hedging his bets at the moment. According to his May 22 tweet, the main reason for keeping the club closed is the inability to offer an unrestricted live poker experience due to ongoing COVID-19 constraints.
Brits back to betting at UK casinos
Casinos in England and other parts of the UK were allowed to reopen on May 17, after being closed since December. The unlocking was part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s four-step COVID roadmap. It’s worth noting that Johnson’s roadmap applies to England only. Scotland, Wales, and Ireland all have similar exit strategies that largely mirror what’s happening in England.
As such, falling infection rates and single-digit daily deaths meant that live poker returned to much of the UK last week.
— Rob Yong (@rob_yong_) May 22, 2021
Yong, however, doesn’t believe that plexiglass screens and facemasks are conducive to an enjoyable experience. Although he acknowledges they may be necessary, it’s not how he wants poker to be inside Dusk Till Dawn. “We don’t really want to provide poker where people are playing behind plexiglass or have to play short-handed and wear masks. And if there’s any possible risk of COVID [we won’t open],” Yong said on Twitter.
The Partypoker advisor was actually ahead of the curve when it came to closing his poker room. He locked Dusk Till Dawn’s doors before the UK went into lockdown in March 2020. Yong has always maintained that the safety of his customers — and the country at large — comes first, even if that means keeping the club closed. His position remains the same.
Dusk Till Dawn regs agree poker can wait
That’s the right call, according to many of Yong’s followers. Chris Brown said on Twitter that his recent session at one of Grosvenor’s casinos was far from ideal. “Good choice Rob. Just been to the Grosvenor with my lad and a few of his mates. Played seven-handed in masks with plexiglass. Did five hours, but it was a terrible experience, in my opinion. That’s me done until DTD opens. Gave it a shot, but it’s back to Partypoker for me,” Brown tweeted.
While Dusk Till Dawn regulars are happy to wait, there’s a clear appetite for live poker across the UK. Aspers, the Hippodrome, the Empire, and Grosvenor have all reported encouraging numbers over the past week.
NINE IS FINE…..
— PSLive@TheHippodrome (@PSLive_Hippo) May 23, 2021
Even a cursory glimpse at their Twitter accounts shows multiple cash games running around the clock. The Hippodrome in London even found a way to offer a live tournament over the weekend. That’s a positive. And, for even more hope that change is on the horizon, players only need to look at what’s happening in Las Vegas.
The home of poker is virtually back to full capacity right now, with mask mandates lifting and plexiglass screens gradually being removed.
That’s the kind of poker Yong wants at Dusk Till Dawn and, if the current evidence is anything to go by, it may not be too far away. Almost 57% of the UK has received at least one COVID vaccination. With parts of the US, including Las Vegas, basing their reopening policies on figures around the 60% mark, the outlook is positive.
If things continue the way they are, the UK should be on course to remove all restrictions by June 21. At that point, players should be able to return to one of Europe’s best poker rooms, Dusk Till Dawn.