Dumping on 4-Handed Poker

Today’s post was prompted by the following tweet from Andy Stack, a regular player on the popular Live at the Bike stream:

Andy is of course referring to the recent memorandum issued by the Nevada gaming commission establishing health and safety policies and procedures to be followed upon the re-opening of the state’s casinos after their shutdown was necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic. (Whew! That was a long sentence. Sorry about that.)

Each casino must develop “a plan to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and infectious diseases” using the memorandum’s guidelines, and submit its plan to the Gaming Commission a week before reopening.

Regarding poker and other table games (emphasis added):

“Plans must limit the number of patrons based on type of game to ensure proper distance between players by limiting the number of seats or betting positions per table. For example, player limit per table should be limited to: three players per blackjack table, six players per craps table, four players per roulette table, and four players per poker table. Casino supervisors and managers must ensure that patrons do not congregate in groups around gaming tables. Licensees should ensure dealers have hand sanitizer available to offer to patrons throughout their shifts.

Plans should ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of, without limitation, table games, rails, chairs, dice, card shoes, shufflers, roulette wheels, Pai Gow tiles, pit podiums, blackjack discard holders, and toke boxes when a new player or employee comes into contact with any of the aforementioned gaming equipment. Plans should also address how licensees will disinfect cards and chips.”

Perhaps the most important words are “for example,” suggesting a casino may be able to come up with a different seating arrangement that satisfies the Gaming Commission.

Very few of the replies to Andy’s tweet endorsed 4-handed poker. Some of the suggestions are revealing:

  • 6 handed minimum, but only if no nits
  • Need a vaccine, infections almost zero or improved therapies
  • Will play heads up, 3-handed, 4-handed, whatever as long as wearing a mask is not required
  • Lower rake plus a shot clock would make it more appealing
  • Imagine the nit regs that already freak out when 1 guy is taking too long at dinner
  • Shouldn’t have a limit but masks ok.
  • 6 players, temp check required, masks required, play at electronic tables with partitions between players, regular sanitizing of all surfaces
  • As long as the virus is around and untreatable, the number of players doesn’t matter; it’s a No Go
  • I would play with 4 and I don’t need a vaccine to do so. There are 70% of the people who would play also. 26 states fully reopened last week and their numbers are still rapidly declining. Yes there will be SOME shell shocked folks who will he scared to play, but 30% at most.

My favorite reply came from a fellow blogger, Rob of Rob’s Vegas and Poker Blog:

  • I suppose I could get desperate enough to play 6 handed but only if they stopped allowing players to take extended food breaks, penalized players for taking longer than 2 minutes on a bathroom break, and management was super efficient about filling seats when players leave the game.

Which prompted this reply to the reply:

  • My “legitimate” poops are longer than 2 minutes. I guess I can get a doctor’s note!

Which got a response from Rob, naturally:

  • If you have to take a dump, you’ll need to cash out of the game and get back on the wait list.

This leads me to conclude that live poker isn’t going to be worth a shit for awhile, at least in casinos or public card rooms.

1 Comment

  1. Got an invite to play in a friendly game on Wed. eve. Have played with these guys for years – it is a fun game…. but I will not be going. Even with all the precautions the host will use, he cannot keep me from my poor personal habits. Pre-Corona they were only disgusting (nail biting, for instance) – now they are dangerous.

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