- Casinos in Las Vegas are now able to open at 100% capacity.
- Several major poker rooms are taking down the dividers that went up during the pandemic.
- This allows for a change of format from eight to nine handed poker.
LAS VEGAS - Poker players in Las Vegas can finally play without dividers in the way now that COVID-19 protocols are being eased.
Hot on the heels of the removal of the capacity limits (which were preceded by a CDC guidance that approved indoor socialization for vaccinated people), dividers in poker rooms all over Las Vegas are coming down.
This has been welcomed by many poker players, who cite the dividers as a problem when it comes to communication at the table.
There are other effects that the removal of the barriers generates, however, including one that some gamblers might not like.
How Many Hands?
Due to the nature of the dividers, eight handed play became the norm in Las Vegas during the pandemic.
Both cash games and tournaments will return to 9 handed play beginning Monday, May 10. https://t.co/bOHUHyu5a3
— Wynn Poker Room (@WynnPoker) May 5, 2021
Nine handed play is set to return to poker rooms in Las Vegas, including the Wynn Poker Room, as soon as is plausible.
Due to the nature of the game, nine handed poker was seen as a profit mechanism for casinos, not as a way to make the games better - the more people at a table, the better for the casino.
The pandemic provided a bit of relief to that, with the dividers and social distancing protocols making eight handed games more optimal. Poker players tended to prefer the eight handed version, as it tends to have a bit more action, and be a bit more tactically interesting. In light of this, several casinos, including the Bellagio and the Red Rock, have announced that they are staying at eight hand poker.
For poker players traveling to Las Vegas, this means they’ll have plenty of different options for gameplay.