Hammond Horseshoe to Deal Live Poker (Again) Starting April 19

Indiana’s Hammond Horseshoe casino will resume offering cash-game poker on Monday, April 19, ending a COVID-19-induced shutdown that has kept one of the Midwest’s most popular poker rooms shuttered for more than a year. The Caesars-owned property notified its customers of the pending reopening earlier this week.

The Venue

Cash-game action returns to Hammond Horseshoe, but it will be hosted in the casino’s long-time tourney series home, The Venue. (Image: WSOP)

Hammond Horseshoe’s planned poker reopening will occur at 10 am on Monday, but poker will be only a 24/4 (not 24/7) offering for the near future, with each week’s action concluding on Friday at 5 am.

Cash-game action moves to The Venue

The reason for the weekday-only reopening is a shift in the location of Hammond Horseshoe’s cash-game offerings. Instead of tables being opened in the casino’s regular poker room, a stylish but secluded and enclosed area, cash games are being moved to The Venue, the casino’s large, second-floor pavilion which also serves as the venue’s home for concerts, comedy shows, and other entertainment.

Hammond Horseshoe offered no explanation for the switch. The limited hours for cash-game poker will allow The Venue to continue to be used for its primary purpose, a weekly Saturday night event. The shortened poker hours allow the concert hall to be repurposed between a poker space and shows on a weekly basis. However, The Venue isn’t currently slated to reopen as a show hall until this fall, beginning with a Jeff Dunham appearance on Sept. 11.

The fate of the Horseshoe’s existing poker room remains unclear. Indiana’s pandemic-related restrictions on large gatherings remain in place. The regular room may be in use as an extension of the regular casino floor, allowing further spreading out of the gamblers, or it could be temporarily sidelined due to its lower-ceilinged design. Both the Horseshoe’s main casino floor and The Venue feature expansive, high-ceilinged designs that improve airflow and, perhaps, may reduce virus transmission. The casino didn’t respond to a request for comment about the existing poker room.

Nonetheless, most Horseshoe poker regulars are no strangers to The Venue. The concert hall has long served as the home of the casino’s poker tournament offerings, most notably the WSOP Circuit series, which visits Hammond once or twice each year for nearly two weeks of tourney action. When in full use, The Venue has room for nearly 100 tables, far more than the 34 tables housed in the traditional poker area, which also includes the three-table “Benny’s Room” high-stakes parlor. Actual tournament-poker action at Hammond Horseshoe has yet to resume or even be rescheduled.

Other restrictions remain in place

Besides the limited hours and the shift in location, other pandemic-related restrictions will also remain. Most notably, all players will be required to wear masks while in the facility and adhere to Indiana’s current social-distancing guidelines. Hammond Horseshoe didn’t indicate whether any sort of plexiglass dividers will be in place between poker players seated at the table.

Nonetheless, Hammond Horseshoe joins nearby Ameristar East Chicago as the only Northwest Indiana casino poker rooms to be open, since the other large area casino, Majestic Star Casino in nearby Gary, Indiana, will be closing on Sunday to begin rebranding itself as the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana. (Ed. Note: This corrects an earlier version of the story.)

“We are glad to welcome our poker players back,” said Kathryn Jenkins, Horseshoe Hammond’s senior vice president and general manager. “Our leadership team had worked tirelessly towards the goal of offering live poker games again, and I couldn’t be any prouder of our accomplishment.”

Written by
Haley Hintze
Contributing writer Haley Hintze is a 20-year veteran of the poker world, a Women in Poker Hall of Fame finalist, and two-time Global Poker Awards finalist.



why lie to everyone? other poker rooms in indiana have been open for months.

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