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With the announcement this week that Pennsylvania is seeing poker rooms reopen, New Jersey players have also received some good news. The first of the state’s live poker rooms is set to reopen next week.
Garden State players have been locked out of live play for months during the Coronavirus pandemic shutdown. Now the Borgata is set to reopen its poker room next Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 10 a.m. (ET).
“We are happy to welcome back our loyal players as we reopen Atlantic City’s market-leading East Coast poker destination,” president and COO Melonie Johnson told the Press of Atlantic City.
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What to expect from the Borgata poker room reopening
The Borgata has become one of the East Coast’s premier poker destinations and poker revenue leader in New Jersey. The venue regularly hosts World Poker Tour events as well as its own popular series throughout the year.
The MGM property also runs BorgataPoker.com online poker as a skin of the partypoker US Network. The two recently teamed up for the WPT Borgata Online, which proved to be a nice success.
The state produced record online poker revenues in 2020. Players also yearning for some live action now have at least one Atlantic City option.
“It will be good to have that option available to those who want to play in a casino again,” BorgataPoker ambassador Michael Gagliano says. “I really miss live poker and look forward to the next time I get to play. I hope everyone has fun, stays safe, and takes the proper safety precautions.”
Those returning to the Borgata will find some changes. Visitors will find 30 socially-distanced tables with seven-handed play. Polycarbonate dividers are used to separate players and masks are required throughout the casino.
Upon reopening, the Borgata implemented MGM’s “Seven-Point Safety Plan” with additional safety protocols and procedures. Some of those include:
- temperature checks
- social distancing
- thorough cleaning and filtration systems
- additional hand washing and sanitizer stations throughout the casino
- the use of digital menus
Additionally, drink service will be available, but food won’t be served in the poker room.
#BorgataAC's Poker Room REOPENS Wednesday, October 21 at 10am.
✅ The Poker Room will have 30 tables with polycarbonate dividers. Masks are required.
Must be 21 or older. Bet with your head. Not over it. Gambling Problem? Call 1.800.GAMBLER. https://t.co/ASt92s63ae
— BORGATA (@BorgataAC) October 15, 2020
Borgata return is welcome news to some Garden State players
Borgata is the first in the market to announce a reopening. Players will be welcomed back with only cash game play initially.
The property hasn’t announced a timetable for when tournaments may return. The room’s bad beat jackpot will begin at $100,000.
Garden State grinder Dan Lupo plans to continue online for now. However, he knows many who are ready to hit the Borgata table.
“I don’t anticipate playing live poker for some time, but I know lots of guys are itching to get out there and play and I think that’s great they’ll get the chance,” he says.
“I’m hopeful guidelines are followed and people will be able to get out there and enjoy doing what they love to.”
When New Jersey casinos reopened in July, there was no direct prohibition against poker. However, Atlantic City’s rooms have remained closed as other venues around the country began reopening.
Just before the pandemic, MGM also announced the launch of the East Coast Poker Tour. The property and online poker site were to be key parts of those events along with MGM Springfield and MGM National Harbor.
No word on when the tour as well as major tournament series will return. Atlantic City has four other live poker rooms:
None of those properties have announced any plans for reopening yet. But with the market leader now returning, more may be ready to get dealt in soon.
Borgata photo courtesy WPT/Joe Giron
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