Australia’s Star Gold Coast Casino Offers COVID-Free, No-Mask Poker

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Anyone awaiting a return to normality in 2021 can find a glimmer of hope at the Star Gold Coast and its “COVID-free” poker room.

Star Gold Coast poker
The Star Gold Coast gets back to business with COVID-free cash games. (Image: Lynn Gilmartin/Twitter)

With infections at negligible levels in parts of Australia, the Queensland casino got back to business “as usual” last week.

The World Poker Tour’s (WPT) Lynn Gilmartin was one of the first to ante-up without a mask. The Aussie presenter posted highlights of her session on Instagram, saying it was one of the “happiest” tables she’s ever sat at.

Parts of Australia Declared “COVID-Free”

Australia has imposed some tough lockdown rules since February. Flights into the country were stopped as the borders were closed to all non-residents.

Non-essential businesses were shut down for at least four months, and various stay-at-home orders were in place.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Queensland is virtually at zero right now. That means casinos in the state have been allowed to reopen and, in turn, offer seven-handed cash games.

In addition to letting people play poker face-to-face, the Star Gold Coast doesn’t have plexiglass screens at the table. Players don’t have to wear facemasks, but proper hygiene is encouraged at all times.

We spoke to a representative for the casino and asked when tournaments will return. They told us that they “don’t have any confirmed dates” at the moment. However, Gilmartin has teased the return of the WPT Down Under.

The scenes coming out of Australia mirror those from the Czech Republic in recent days.

Live Poker Making a Comeback

King’s Resort was one of the first casinos to reopen in the summer, and did so with no dividers or mandate to wear a facemask.

A so-called second spike resulted in the casino being closed from October until the start of December. However, with the European leg of the WSOP Main Event set to conclude today, games are back at King’s Resort.

Felipe Ramos isn’t playing, but he is part of GGPoker’s commentary team and gave us a sneak peek of the action. From other tweets published online, we can see that some players are wearing masks while some aren’t.

Whatever the dynamics, live poker is bouncing back. Parts of Europe are reopening and, now, Australians can enjoy a “normal” poker experience.

When other countries will follow suit is anyone’s guess. However, the positive we can all take from the Star Gold Coast is that live poker can, and will, eventually return to the way we remember it.

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