Poker players sceptical over four-handed games as casinos prepare to resume operations

  • Casinos come up with safe distance playing guidelines to attract poker players.
  •  Venetian confirmed re-opening their poker room by June 4, tending the governor’s approval.
  • Earlier this month, the Gaming Control Board announced that a maximum of four players will be allowed to sit around a poker table.
  • According to poker pros, showing more flexibility towards increasing the number of players will help enhance the gambling experience
  • The Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, Florida re-opened last week allowing six-handed tables. 

Playing poker usually requires several players sitting around a table along with the dealer. In this set-up, the players and dealers are constantly touching the same cards and chips. 

 This likely makes it hard for casinos to re-open their poker tables during the COVID-19 pandemic unless they can come up with safe distancing playing guidelines that still attract players.

Earlier this month, the Gaming Control Board announced that a maximum of four players will be allowed to sit around a poker table. 

So far only the Venetian confirmed re-opening their poker room by June 4, tending the governor’s approval.

A spokeswoman for the Venetian mentions that “opening the poker room, even with the restrictions, was an effort to provide guests with gaming options.”

Commenting on the Gaming Control Board announcement, poker pro-Danielle Andersen says, “There is no point in my opinion if that’s the guideline. Recreational players don’t like playing super-shorthanded.”

Will shorthanded poker games work?

Limiting tables to four players will make it hard for poker rooms to generate enough profit. This is because reduced rake will result in reduced earning, while the cost of operation will always reaming the same. 

Experts suggest that six players around the table can work much better. This is because 6-handed games have already proven to be popular online. 


Matt Savage, Executive Tour Director of the World Poker Tour said, “There’s a huge difference between four and six. If someone gets up to go to the bathroom and someone gets up to get something to eat, then you’re already down two. That won’t work.” 

Many players will wait and observe how the situation will develop before participating. If a 4-handed table attracts enough recreational players without a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases then this will help attract more poker players in general.

Also, showing more flexibility towards increasing the number of players will help make the gambling experience worthwhile. 

What to expect?

Poker Pro Brad Golomb said, “Clearly the biggest issue is, are they safe to play? I just don’t see recreational players jump back into the live poker scene…Playing in a casino is so low on the priority list for most people.”

It is noteworthy to mention that The Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, Florida re-opened their doors last week allowing six-handed games. 

I'm Adam Shaw, Senior Editor and one of the first members at VegasSlots. I'm a massive football sports fan but also love casinos and occasional trips to Las Vegas. Gaming runs in the family

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