The past few months have been most eventful for the blinding city of Las Vegas with live events returning to the scene as well as the recovering crowd. However, with cases on the rise due to the fast-spreading Delta variant, things have unfortunately taken a turn, beginning with cutting its progress towards normalcy a little bit slower.
In this column, we deliver the latest and most interesting topics happening at the entertainment capital including upcoming events, and closures and reopening of poker rooms within the location.
World Series of Poker likely to require masks
The entire poker community was utterly disappointed having missed last year’s World Series of Poker live events given the threatening global health situation. News of this year’s full schedule of 88 bracelet events was more than welcome especially with Nevada’s aggressive Roadmap to Recovery having resulted in major improvements across the city. While Las Vegas has just recently seen a booming and action-packed summer, the newly issued mandate by Governor Steve Sisolak which requires all individuals in indoor public places to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status, has forced everyone to follow the policy once enforced last May.
The emergency directive applying to all employees, patrons, and guests took effect last Friday, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new mask recommendations urging fully vaccinated citizens to wear masks indoors in areas of possible high transmission. The implemented mandate is also an addition to a previous order requiring all employees in indoor public spaces to be fully masked.
Although the WSOP is scheduled roughly two months from now, current developments suggest that the mandate will extend over this period. Players looking to join the esteemed tournaments can expect to wear masks for the whole duration of the day, which could be a major issue if you are sitting on the tables for 10-12 hours straight. The new mask order along with the presidential mandate on restrictions for travelers arriving from the European Schengen area (Germany, Italy, France, Austria, and many other countries), UK, Ireland, Brazil, China, Iran, South Africa, and India, can be a huge blow to the upcoming WSOP. While many continue to be enthusiastic with the games taking place this fall, the prospect of a normal WSOP festival remains to be slim overall.
Golden Nugget’s Grand Poker Series set for this September
Aside from the awaited WSOP festivities, it seems Las Vegas is focused on making this season a poker-filled affair with another juicy series sure enough to make every traveler’s visit worthwhile. The Golden Nugget launches its Grand Poker Series scheduled for this September 28 through October 18 with over $1.2 million in combined prize guarantees and buy-ins ranging from $120 to $600.
The live festival running parallel to the WSOP events will feature an exciting array of 50 tournaments covering a variety of games, with each day looking to host at least five events. Two multi-day highlights are sure to catch everyone’s attention with the first one, Event #10: No Limit Hold’em $100,000 Guaranteed Ultimate Re-Entry, scheduled to kick off its first of nine day 1 flights on September 30, each posing an entry fee of $200. The second event to look out for is Event #22: Championship No-Limit Hold’em for a more expensive buy-in of $600 but a much larger prize pool guarantee of $500,000. Three starting flights beginning on October 7 will be available on schedule with the utmost champion crowned on the 10th. The rest of the remaining events are also great to keep in mind with multiple single day $25,000 or $50,000 guaranteed tournaments running throughout. Interested players can view the full schedule of events on the Golden Nugget official website.
Reopening and closures of various poker rooms
The city of Las Vegas is seeing multiple changes across its poker room lineup with some facing permanent/ temporary closures while others are reopening their doors for the first time since the pandemic broke loose. Facing uncertainty amidst a crisis, Resorts World’s brand new poker venue in the freshly inaugurated resort gave a positive outlook for the community prior to recent events. However with the situation remaining unclear, many poker rooms have remained closed with some not appearing to reopen anytime soon.
Below is a short rundown of recently available poker rooms and an update to those lacking action across its tables.
- The Rio Poker Room – closed along with the entire casino
- The Harrah’s Poker Room – has now been converted into a slot gaming area
- The Bally’s Poker Room – nine-handed games available from 6pm to 2am with plexiglass dividers in place
- The Excalibur Poker Room – closed but remains intact
- The Mirage Poker Room – closed for operations
- The Mandalay Bay Poker Room – recently reopened, available from 3pm to 11pm from Thursday through Sunday
- Planet Hollywood Poker Room – recently closed after reopening last October 2020