Live poker has suffered a lot throughout 2020, as almost all poker rooms were closed throughout the United States. Many players had no other option but to play online poker from the comfort of their home.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic going on, some land-based casinos decided to test their luck and open their doors to poker players once again. One of these properties is the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, located in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The popular resort poker room closed down in mid-March as a result of the growing pandemic concern. However, the decision to open again has been made, and the Borgata should start welcoming visitors again on Wednesday, October 21, beginning at 10:00 A.M. local time.
What Will the Reopen Look Like?
There will be some changes to comply with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. First of all, Borgata normally operates with 77 poker tables, making Borgata one of the country’s largest poker rooms. However, their operations will be reduced to 30 tables, which will be spaced-out throughout the room.
Every poker table will have a polycarbonate divider for each seat, and the number of participants at each table will be limited as well. The maximum number of players per table will be seven.
Also, the room will offer only cash games at the moment, meaning there are no plans for tournaments to be held until such time as the COVID-19 pandemic conditions are more favorable.
However, Borgata promised that players would be able to claim some lucrative bonuses, such as the Bad Beat Jackpot, which starts at $100,000.
Other Changes in the Borgata Poker Room
Borgata will look a bit different when the doors reopen, but changes were needed to make the poker room safer and protect the health of visitors and employees.
First of all, everyone must wear masks in the poker room, and they are required in every public area of the casino. On a more positive note, players will be able to order drinks as usual, but they will not be permitted to eat food in the poker room. They will have to take it out if they want to enjoy their meal.
Moreover, Borgata will place hand sanitizing stations all over the poker room so that players could clean their hands before playing poker.
Finally, no spectators will be allowed in the poker room for now.
Melonie Johnson, COO and President of Borgata, stated that they were happy to welcome back their loyal payers. She added that they had made “some changes to enhance (our) guests’ experience.” Naturally, she shared the excitement with many other poker players about the return of live poker in Atlantic City.
Borgata hesitated for a long time. In fact, it is the last casino to return to work in Atlantic City, but it is also the first casino to welcome back live poker players. Some other casinos in AC that opened their doors to the visitors are Harrah’s Atlantic City, Bally’s, Golden Nugget, and Tropicana.
However, Borgata is the biggest player in the casino game, and without it, Atlantic City is not the same. All properties shared the combined revenue of approximately $28.5 million last year, with $18 million coming from Borgata alone.
One step further, Borgata is among the most prominent poker rooms in the country, hosting some of the most popular live tournaments, including the World Poker Tour. It was home to the 2020 $3,500 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open. The event whittled down the best six players who were supposed to play the final table at HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. This event was scheduled for April 1, but the coronavirus pandemic interrupted it.