Casinos in Las Vegas, which are losing a couple million bucks a day, are beseeching the governor of Nevada to allow them to re-open as soon as possible.
As other such venues have no doubt done, The Wynn has even prepared a lengthy memo regarding how its operations will be changed to ensure the safety of guests and employees. This includes the poker room, where only every other table would be open, the cards and chips (which everyone touches) would be sanitized regularly, and thermal cameras would conduct temperature checks of anyone coming in.
Under those circumstances, would I go anytime in the near future to a casino in Las Vegas — or the St. Louis area or anywhere else for that matter?
No way. I was already souring on the poker experience before this forced hiatus, so I’m not itching to return, and these new guidelines don’t tempt me in the least to sit with nine other people in the close quarters required around a poker table.
It would be impossible to impose social distancing rules. Moreover, “sanitary” and “hygienic” were never applied to the poker populace at large under the best of circumstances. There’s a player in St. Louis nicknamed Sneezy John because when he lets one go, he does it at full volume — often scaring people several yards away. You’d have to be separated from him by two casinos to avoid the airborne droplets he emits.
Similarly, I don’t know how you keep people six feet apart at any of the table games (e.g. blackjack, craps, roulette). Do you have to install plexiglass shields between the dealer and players like supermarkets have done between cashiers and customers? Then again, I can see casinos trying to lure players back to the slots — their biggest moneymakers — by making them sit a couple of machines apart and promising to wipe down the “Max Play” buttons every hour or so.
Forget about the fact that the zombies who sit at the one-armed-bandits for hours on end tend to be from the most vulnerable demographic (senior citizens). All the casino cares about is that they come back and start losing money.
Updated 12:08pm 4/22/20…Soon after posting this, several people asked me why I had already soured on poker before this crisis. The answer is that, after playing multiple times a week for more than 20 years, I grew bored with the experience as it became less social and more predictable. Plus, the gap between good and bad play shrank considerably, making it a lot less profitable for me. I had already severely reduced the number of hours I put in over the course of a year, which is probably why I’m not suffering from withdrawal. Yet.