California Governor Gavin Newsom gave Los Angeles poker rooms the green light to reopen this week for the first time since November. But, the card rooms will be forced to operate under strict guidelines that may not be appealing to some poker players.
Newsom on Tuesday lifted regional stay-at-home orders across the state, relieving bans on in-person dining, live poker, and other activities. Los Angeles County has the most coronavirus cases (1,085,044) and COVID-19 deaths (15,592) of any county in the country, by a wide margin. As a result, Newsom had taken extreme measures to limit the spread of the virus.
The Democratic politician, however, is hopeful the county, and the state as a whole, can turn things around. As such, he is now permitting restaurants and card rooms to begin accepting customers outdoors. That means if you’re looking for a legal card game in Southern California, you’ll have to play outside.
There are some additional restrictions imposed by the governor, including seating capacity. Card rooms are only permitted to operate at 50% of their maximum allowable room capacity, as determined by fire code. So, it would be wise to call ahead to put your name on a wait-list. Otherwise, you may end up waiting for hours. As soon as the doors open, you can rest assured hundreds of poker players will be excited to play.
Los Angeles Poker Rooms Ready to Deal
It’s been nearly two months since a legal poker game ran in Los Angeles County. The area is home to some of the biggest and best card rooms in the world, including Commerce Casino, which boasts more than 200 poker tables. Gardens Casino and Bicycle Casino (“The Bike”) also have more than 180 tables.
But, the number of tables available will be limited for quite some time due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each of the Los Angeles poker rooms will offer seating outdoors in makeshift, covered rooms. That’s been the norm in most California casinos since the coronavirus struck last year.
Newsom initially forced poker rooms to close statewide in March. He then briefly permitted Los Angeles’ card rooms to reopen in June before ordering them all to close again a couple of weeks later. They were allowed to reopen for a second time in early October before getting shut down again just after Thanksgiving.
Is the third time a charm? That’s what poker players in the area are hoping for, but it all depends on if businesses reopening across the state leads to another spike in COVID-19 cases.