There's more good news for gamblers – poker rooms are coming back to Las Vegas. They will be under some restrictions but still, just the availability of them implies that Vegas is starting to get back to normal and do what they can to make gamblers happy.
The Bellagio and Caesar's Palace were the first to make the announcement Thursday morning. Most other casinos are expected to follow suit in the next few days. When the casinos reopened last week all of the poker rooms were closed.
The main difference is going to be a limit on how many people can play at each table. In the past, you could have up to 10 players. Now that number will be reduced to five. This is designed to make sure people can socially distance themselves from each other while playing the game.
In addition, all poker players will be required to wear masks. This is a controversial move. The reason being that poker players use the tells of other players when they are making their bets. Given that most tells involve movements of the nose, mouth or chin, the masks will now make it impossible to use those tells. That could affect the strength of some poker players – either helping ones with obvious tells or hurting the ones who look for the tells.
How this will eventually affect poker players remains to be seen. It will certainly have some effect and could make things a lot more interesting.
In addition to the people at the poker tables themselves, anyone within six feet of the table will also have to wear a mask. That should not be too much of a problem as most casinos in Las Vegas are now requiring masks for the vast majority of the people who visit.
There is no word on how long these restrictions will stay in place. That said as people get used to them it may not end up being that big a deal. Having to play a five-person game wearing a mask is better than being banned from playing at all.