Finally, at long last, poker players can get the news that they have waited to hear–at least as far as one Atlantic City poker room is concerned. Starting Wed., Oct. 21 at 10 a.m., the Borgata Poker Room will reopen!
In the poker world, expect the unexpected
Things can change in a heartbeat in the world of poker. In a tournament, a single all-in play can turn a chip leader into a short stack (or vice versa). Or at any given time in a cash game, a player having bad luck since sitting down could suddenly win the bad beat!
So why should the decision to bring back live poker to Atlantic City be any different?
When the AC casinos finally got the go-ahead to reopen in time for the July 4th holiday weekend, many players expected that the order applied to all of the games, including poker.
But that was not the case.
As recently as Oct. 6, my article entitled “When Will Atlantic City Poker Return and Why Is It Taking So Long?” appeared on New Jersey Online Casino.
The article’s statement that three months after the casinos had reopened, there was still no projected date for the return of poker was completely accurate at the time.
Yet nine days later, on Oct. 15, ThePressofAtlanticCity.com published the breaking news that the Borgata Poker Room will reopen next Wednesday!
It makes sense that the Borgata Poker Room will reopen first
Ironically, Borgata, after being the last casino to reopen in July, is now the first to reopen its poker room. However, there was good reasoning behind both decisions.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa originally intended to reopen on July 6 after a soft opening for invited guests starting July 2. But instead, it pushed back the soft reopening to July 23 and public reopening to July 26.
Based on Gov. Murphy’s last-minute ruling not to allow food and beverage consumption inside any of the NJ sports betting & casino properties, Borgata decided it needed more time to implement viable alternatives. Now that decision is a moot point since indoor dining and drinking with certain restrictions have been restored.
As for poker, the Borgata Poker Room is Atlantic City’s largest. So even though the casino can temporarily only open a fraction of the room’s 77 tables with a reduced number of players, it can still accommodate a sufficient number of players for it to be a viable business decision.
Also, according to data from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) for 2018 and 2019, of the six then operating Atlantic City poker rooms (currently five), Borgata Poker has been by far the biggest revenue producer.
In 2019, all of the poker rooms combined reported only slightly more than $27.2 million in revenue. However, Borgata Poker generated the lion’s share of nearly $17.9 million.
When making her announcement of the return of Borgata Poker, Melonie Johnson, president and COO of Borgata, issued the following statement:
“We are happy to welcome back our loyal players as we reopen Atlantic City’s market-leading East Coast poker destination. We have made some changes to enhance our guests’ experience and are excited to reintroduce live poker and the Borgata Poker brand more safely,”
What to expect with the return of Borgata Poker
The reopened room will include 30 tables.
They will be spaced apart sufficiently to allow for social distancing and will have polycarbonate dividers between each seat to provide further protection. High-touch points will be disinfected frequently.
Everyone in the Borgata Poker Room, including both staff and players, must wear a mask. In addition, hand sanitizing dispensers will be accessible throughout the room.
Initially, each table will have a maximum of seven players. The options will only include cash games, no tournaments. However, the Borgata Poker Bad Beat Jackpot with an opportunity to win up to $100,000 will go into effect immediately.
Beverage service will be available as before to seated poker players. However, no food will be allowed inside the Borgata Poker Room.
No spectators will be allowed. Presumably, at busy times, there could be long waiting lists for seats. However, it is not clear where the people on the lists will wait.
When will the other Atlantic City poker rooms reopen?
Who’s next? Besides the Borgata Poker Room, there are four other poker rooms in Atlantic City:
As of this writing, none of them has indicated a specific date when they plan to reopen. However, given the news of Borgata’s reopening on October 21, it would be reasonable to expect that announcements from the other AC poker rooms should be forthcoming very soon.
Here at NJ Online Casino, we will inform you as soon as we learn more.
Ready for Halloween? Borgata Poker is!
Halloween is right around the corner, and this year, it will be a Halloween like no other. Many parents will be reluctant to allow their kids to go on Trick-or-Treat, and adult celebrations will also be greatly toned down.
But one place you can count on where you are certain to have a howling good time is the Borgata Poker Room.
Costumes will be optional, but masks are mandatory. So if you still haven’t purchased a scary but non-offensive mask to wear on October 31, now would be a perfect time.
If your bets don’t scare your opponents into folding when they should call or spook them out so they call when they should fold, maybe your mask will do the trick!