Five major Los Angeles poker rooms will temporarily cease gambling operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. Daniel Negreanu and Jean-Robert Bellande have asked card rooms everywhere in the US to follow suit.
The coronavirus scare has forced numerous tournaments to cancel all around the world, and now we’re starting to see card rooms close down completely, starting in Southern California. You can bet many others around the US will soon follow suit.
LA Poker Rooms Clearing Out
The five major Los Angeles poker rooms — Commerce, Hustler, Bicycle, Gardens, and Hollywood Park — will all be closed temporarily starting on Sunday, March 15.
The shutdowns started with Commerce Casino, the largest poker room in the world with 210 tables. The casino closed its doors at noon on Saturday to all customers. Those with chips to cash in were allowed to redeem them at the cashier cage until 4 pm. The popular Southern California card room plans to reopen for business on March 29. Of course, they can’t guarantee an exact date, as no one can predict the future of the coronavirus in California or nationwide.
Commerce, along with The Bike, Gardens Casino, and Hollywood Park, released a joint public statement.
“As the largest card casinos in the State of California, the health and safety of casino patrons, visitors, and employees are of the utmost importance, particularly at this critical time,” the statement read.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom instructed residents to abide by public health guidelines. That includes businesses such as the Los Angeles poker rooms in question canceling large gatherings of 250 or more people. Health experts claim large crowds will cause the coronavirus to spread at an alarming rate in the United States.
That means poker rooms could be unsafe places to visit, especially those in LA that often have hundreds of players seated at one time. Hustler Casino also closed Saturday night. An expected reopen date hasn’t yet been announced.
Poker Pros Urge Immediate Closures
Daniel Negreanu is on board with the Los Angeles poker rooms that closed down. He praised Commerce and called for poker rooms elsewhere to take action.
Hey poker room operators:
If you haven’t shut down your room, you are going to have to sooner or later, so choose sooner.
Some of your workers are likely infected and are spreading the virus.
Commerce has shut down. Everyone else must follow suit. ASAP.
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) March 15, 2020
This isn’t the first time Negreanu has so adamantly called for poker rooms to close. He did so in another recent tweet, but it appears few card rooms have yet to listen to his requests. Jean-Robert Bellande also believes it’s time to close down the poker rooms. But even in a difficult time, he still has a sense of humor.
Dear poker rooms,
Please save us from ourselves. We are complete degens and will still come play if you remain open. Save our families and the families of your staff. Are any chips/cards/dealers/cashiers/customers safe?
Thank you @WynnPoker for doing your part
— Jean-Robert Bellande (@BrokeLivingJRB) March 15, 2020
Bellande wrote on Twitter that he received “several texts from local staff members thanking me for my tweet.” He said some poker dealers advised him that they were forced to either go to work or lose their jobs. Dealers having to choose between risking their health and not getting paid is a real issue during the coronavirus pandemic.