England’s Dusk Till Dawn poker room will reopen in the coming weeks for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions forced it to shut in March 2020.
Owner Rob Yong tweeted last night that the reopening will be a “soft launch” until the end of 2021 while he addresses a “few snags” caused by the lockdown.
Yong has taken a more cautious approach to reopening than his casino counterparts have. Despite the removal of COVID restrictions in England in May, Dusk Till Dawn has remained closed. In contrast, venues such as London’s Hippodrome reopened on May 17 and have been back to full capacity since July 19.
Now, with signs of normal life returning, Yong is preparing to unlock the doors to one of Europe’s leading poker rooms.
Yong remains cautious, but is ready to reopen
The finer details of Yong’s plan still need to be ironed out, but last night’s tweet was the first indication that Dusk Till Dawn will open in either October or November. The lack of clarity regarding the actual reopening date is due to technical and logistical issues. In addition to suffering from a broken air conditioning unit, the venue was hit by vandals back in May.
I know people wanna play some poker but this is a bit extreme to break your way in 🤢 pic.twitter.com/iJAcRmJf0P
— Rob Yong (@rob_yong_) May 17, 2021
Dusk Till Dawn has also lost key members of staff over the past 18 months. Yong explained that many dealers from overseas returned home during the pandemic. He’s having a full debrief with his team on Wednesday, but the club will almost certainly be recruiting new dealers before it reopens.
The reaction from British poker players has been overwhelmingly positive. Although some players took issues with the club’s extended lockdown, everyone appreciates Yong’s desire to keep people safe. Yong, who claims he’s not normally this cautious in his everyday life, says he’s been especially wary about reopening DTD because the poker room attracts a lot of older players.
Dusk Till Dawn won’t be hosting any major events until next year, though Yong said an Amateur Poker Association & Tour (APAT) series might happen there in 2022. For now, however, the soft opening will give people a chance to visit the club and play cash games. Tournaments will likely be added as time progresses, but a large-scale event isn’t in the cards for a few months yet.
Reopening at an ideal time
Dusk Till Dawn might be later to the party than some, but live poker is thriving in England right now. Cash games across London’s major casinos, including the Empire, Hippodrome, and Aspers, have had multiple tables open every night since restrictions lifted on July 19.
Cash Game Update:
1 x £2/£5 NLH
1 x £1/£2/£5 PLO (4/5/6 cards)
6 x £1/£2 NLH
In case you didn’t know, we just got bigger!
— PSLive@TheHippodrome (@PSLive_Hippo) August 22, 2021
Live tournaments have also restarted in earnest. GUKPT London drew large crowds in July, as did GUKPT Manchester in August. COVID-19 might still be with us, but poker players in England and the UK are learning to live with it. More than 76% of the UK’s adult population is fully vaccinated and almost 90% of people have had at least one jab.
The number of deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID test also remains steady. The latest statistics show the death rate is around 100 per day. While no death can be considered a positive, the UK is in a better position now than it was six months ago.
Many experts, including medical microbiology and infectious diseases expert, Professor Paul Hunter, believe COVID-19 is almost endemic in the UK. This means it will live among the population, but at low levels just like influenza. By the time Dusk Till Dawn reopens, this is even more likely to be true as the current rate of vaccination means that more than 80% of adults should have had two doses of the vaccine by November.
So, while it might take time for things to fully return to normal, players can look forward to safely anteing up at Dusk Till Dawn very soon.