Many live poker rooms across the country remain closed due to the social distancing challenges of poker in 2020. Poker rooms have adapted to the new reality — hopefully temporary — with a variety of policies to meet city and state requirements and to keep its citizens safe.

JohnnieVibes plays at the Bellagio

In his most recent YouTube video, poker vlogger JohnnieVibes gave his viewers a first-hand look at what live poker is like when he played in-person for the first time since early February. In the vlog, he sat down for some 6-handed $5/$10 No Limit Holde’em at the Bellagio poker room in Las Vegas, where he chronicles his experience playing in this brave new world summarizing his visit by saying “Las Vegas is a shadow of its former self.”

Some of the changes he noticed included much less traffic, earlier close times, difficulty to find food and drink at certain hours. Also, at the restaurant he visited at Bellagio, he was required to wear a mask at all times, although he noted that not all restaurants are as strict.

After the waiting list of tables at the Bellagio was too long on a Sunday evening, he left to play in the morning, where he was able to join a game immediately. Much of the video covers the hands he encounters during his session, so if you prefer to watch a certain part of the video, check out the timestamps below.

0:00 – Intro
1:07 – Scenes from the Las Vegas
1:25 – Wake up in the morning after failing to find a game.
2:10 – Playing a morning session at the Bellagio.
8:25 – Session results
8:35 – Summary of experience along with pros and cons of playing live poker in a pandemic

JohnnieVibes was able to find some positives of the experience (such as having a dedicated space) but didn’t like wearing a mask for a prolonged amount of time and indicated that he will likely stick to playing online for most of his play for the time being.

What Las Vegas poker rooms are open?

Like many poker rooms in the world, Las Vegas poker effectively shut down in late March, while not beginning to reopen until mid-June. Initially, only four casinos opened with poker rooms, but that number has swelled to 18.

Golden Nugget, Orleans, South Point, and Venetian were the first to open their poker rooms. Now, poker rooms are also available at the Aria, Bally’s. Bellagio, Boulder Station, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, MGM Grand, Poker Palace, Red Rock Resort, Sahara, Sante Fe Station, Silver Sevens, Westgate and Wynn at Encore.

What are the requirements of Las Vegas poker rooms?

When you take a look at the local safety requirements, you can see why many casinos have chosen to focus on their casinos or slowly reopened their poker rooms.

Poker rooms are mandated by state law for only a certain number of tables based on space, which has led to shorter supply and longer wait times. Players are also required to wear masks within a casino, including in the poker room.

Although not required, some poker rooms such as The Bellagio, have gone further with their safety measures such as plexiglass dividers, which are on tables with six or more players. Like many businesses, gloves, wipes and hand sanitizer are also available for patrons.

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