Las Vegas Poker Rooms Can Increase Capacity, Still Limited Seating

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Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak will soon permit Las Vegas poker rooms and other businesses to significantly increase capacity, up from 25%. Seating, however, will remain well below the maximum capacity allowed by the fire code at each business.

las vegas poker rooms
Plexiglass dividers will likely remain at the poker tables in Las Vegas for quite some time. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Sisolak, a Democratic politician, dropped room capacity in restaurants, casinos, and other establishments to 25% a few months back. This forced the card rooms to limit seating, causing lengthy waitlists for cash games at certain properties.

The governor spoke on Thursday afternoon and gave some good news to certain Nevada businesses, including Las Vegas poker rooms, of which 20 are currently open. There were 31 active rooms in the city prior to the global health pandemic. Per the governor’s new restrictions, gaming floors can operate at 35% of the maximum allowable capacity, beginning next Monday, and then up to 50% starting on March 15.

So, if a poker room is normally permitted to have 500 occupants, it can operate with 250 patrons next month. While that’s still well below pre-coronavirus limits, twice as many people will be allowed to enter a poker room compared to the past few months. Baby steps, folks.

Open Las Vegas Poker Rooms

The Las Vegas poker scene has taken a hit since the global health pandemic struck last year. Nearly a year since the casinos closed down due to COVID-19, 11 Las Vegas poker rooms remain closed. And they could stay that way for quite some time.

As it stands, 20 poker rooms are open, with most of them on the Strip. The top card rooms are all open (Aria, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Venetian, and Wynn). Then, you have some other Strip properties with poker games running at Bally’s, Flamingo, MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, and Sahara. Away from the Strip, the open rooms are at Boulder Station, Golden Nugget, Poker Palace, Red Rock Resort, Santa Fe Station, Silver Sevens Casino, South Point, The Orleans, and Westgate.

Green Valley Ranch, the Mirage, and The Strat (formerly Stratosphere) are among the Las Vegas poker rooms that still remain closed.

New Las Vegas COVID-19 Guidelines

Sisolak is permitting more than just the Las Vegas poker rooms to increase capacity. Restaurants, on Monday, will be allowed to operate at 35% of capacity, up from 25% in recent months. Like casinos, that will increase to 50% a month later. Additionally, customers will no longer be required to make a reservation prior to arriving at an indoor dining restaurant.

If you’re traveling to Las Vegas, you should be aware that many restaurants on the Strip still haven’t reopened since March. There are, however, still plenty of places to indulge after you’ve busted everyone at the table.

Sisolak also informed Nevada residents that, as of May 1, he will begin letting local governments make their own decisions on COVID-19 restrictions. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden, recently said that he expects everyone in the US to have access to the COVID-19 vaccine by April.

Not only is that positive news for the chances of a 2021 WSOP in Las Vegas, but also for card rooms all across the country as they hope to soon be operating at full capacity.

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