Live! Casino in Western Pennsylvania is training dealers for a new poker room that’s expected to open next year, pending Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approval.
The seven-table room will open in a space that was originally planned for private meetings and special events. It will be right next to Sports & Social Steel City, a sports-themed restaurant.
“Our new Poker Room will be exciting and provide our guests with yet another reason to enjoy their time with us at Live! Casino,” said the property’s general manager Sean Sullivan in a release. “Our free Poker Dealer School is an amazing opportunity for someone who wants to start a career in the fast-paced gaming industry. Live! is proud to continue its investment in Westmoreland County through opportunities like the free Poker Dealer School for members in and around our community.”
The casino’s poker dealers school began today and is still accepting applications.
From small rooms poker grows
Live! Casino opened last November, the first of four new “mini” casinos that were approved in 2018, a year after the Commonwealth allowed companies to bid for Category 4 licenses. These small casinos are limited in the number of tables and slots they can offer — up to 750 slot machines and up to 40 table games.
Live! is located about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh in a mall in Greensburg, the seat of Westmoreland County. The casino is owned by the Cordish Companies, a real estate, development, entertainment, and casino company that was founded in 1910. Its expansive portfolio includes the Florida Seminole Hard Rock casinos in Tampa and Hollywood.
Along with its Greensburg property, the company owns and operates two additional Live! Casinos in Baltimore and Philadelphia. Both properties have poker rooms.
The 1,400-square-foot poker room will be the third room in Western Pennsylvania, joining Rivers Casinos in Pittsburgh and Hollywood Casino at the Meadows Racetrack. Rivers Casino is the only casino that operates within city limits. Hollywood Casino at the Meadows is located 25 miles southwest of the city in Washington County.
Down and out in da ‘Burgh
While Pittsburgh and its surrounding suburbs are the hometowns of several big-time professional poker players, including Dewey Tomko and self-described “yinzer” Matt Berkey, the region’s poker rooms lagged behind other markets when compared to places like Florida and Philadelphia, even before Covid changed everything.
Yinzers are what the folks in and around Pittsburgh are called, thanks to a unique regional dialect.
Rivers is by far the largest poker room in the region. With about 30 tables and a stone’s throw away from Heinz Field, the home of the Steelers, live games are spread from 10 a.m. to 6 a.m., Monday through Friday. The room doesn’t close on weekends, either.
Before Covid, it held two tournaments per day, with larger buy-in events on the weekends. But while poker rooms in Philly have restarted their tournament schedules, Rivers doesn’t plan to bring back daily tournaments. An employee said it may restart monthly events in December.
Hollywood Park at the Meadows features 14 tables and also used to have a decent poker tournament schedule. But, like Rivers, the room has no immediate plans to offer daily tournaments. It will spread Sit & Go tournaments, however, if enough players are interested.
Things are a bit more normal on the other side of the state where Rivers and Live are running daily tournaments in their Philadelphia-area rooms.
Of the 15 brick-and-mortar casinos scattered across Pennsylvania, only 10 properties currently offer poker to their patrons.