As of Monday, Oct. 5, most Los Angeles poker rooms are back in business for the first time since June. But, due to county COVID-19 guidelines, the games are being played outdoors. Other game-changing restrictions are also in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Southern California’s card rooms all closed down in March due to COVID-19 concerns. Gov. Gavin Newsom permitted the casinos to reopen in mid-June, but then forced them to close down again just two weeks later as coronavirus cases continued to pile up in the Golden State.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, California has been one of the hardest-hit areas with more than 830,000 confirmed cases. Los Angeles County is responsible for nearly 33% of all cases in the Golden State, with more than 274,565. While live poker has been running in nearby San Diego, Los Angeles poker rooms remained closed until Monday morning.
LA Poker Rooms Open for Business
Of the six licensed LA poker rooms, five are back in action, including the Bicycle Casino, Commerce Casino, Gardens Casino, Hollywood Park Casino, and Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady Casino. Only Flynt’s Hustler Casino remains closed.
On Monday, the five card rooms reopened, but with restrictions. Not only are the games moving outdoors to make-shift poker rooms, but play is limited to four players per table. Face masks are required at all times, and plexiglass dividers are in place at the tables to separate players from each other. Each measure was put in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Governor Newsom continues to keep stringent restrictions on Los Angeles County and statewide. Indoor dining in California remains banned, so restaurants can only seat customers outdoors. Face masks are required in public, and the only exception to the rule is if you’re eating or drinking.
The Bike, Gardens, and Commerce normally have three of the largest poker rooms in the world, with more than 180 poker tables in each casino. The outdoor rooms are much smaller, as it would be nearly impossible to bring so many tables outside.
Eating and drinking while playing poker isn’t allowed, per Los Angeles County Department of Health public safety guidelines. Temperature checks are a requirement prior to entering the newly reopened poker rooms. For the time being, only cash games are available.
If you’re in the area and don’t care to play poker outdoors, the San Diego area has four open indoor poker rooms, including Jamul Casino, Oceans 11, Seven Mile Casino, and Sycuan Casino.