It was just over a month ago that the first Pennsylvania poker rooms began to reopen after all of them were forced to close in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alas, a renewed surge in cases has made it necessary for PA poker rooms to deal with the situation once again. In some cases, rooms have opted not to deal at all — not to deal hands, that is.
When Pennsylvania’s casinos began reopening over the summer, the poker rooms were all forced to remain shut per COVID-19 Casino Reopening Protocols issued by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
In early October, the PGCB began accepting reopening plans from some of the rooms. A couple of weeks later, the first few poker rooms began reopening. But with coronavirus-related cases, hospitalizations and deaths on the rise, those plans are being revisited and revised once more.
Here is a quick rundown of the current status of all 10 of the state’s poker rooms — or perhaps we should say all nine rooms, as one of them appears to have closed for good.
Reopened and still operating – Meadows, Mohegan Sun, Mt. Airy, Rivers Pittsburgh
Four of the five poker rooms that reopened continue to welcome players, at least for now.
The rooms at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Mount Airy Casino both reopened on Oct. 16. A week later, on Oct. 23, the poker room at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino reopened. Then a week ago, on Nov. 11, the room at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh reopened as well.
All four currently remain open and are operating as follows:
- Mohegan Sun Pocono (eight tables) – open daily, 12 p.m. to 3 a.m.
- Mount Airy (12 tables) – open 24 hours
- Rivers Casino Pittsburgh (30 tables) – open Mon.-Thurs., 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Fri.-Sat., 12 p.m. to 4 a.m.; Sun., 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
- The Meadows (14 tables) – open daily, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Mt. Airy is the land-based partner of the only online poker site in the state, PokerStars PA, which will continue dealing virtual hands through pandemic closures.
Reopened, but now temporarily closed – Rivers Philadelphia
Rivers Casino Philadelphia reopened its 28-table poker room on Oct. 23. In fact, just a few days ago, some lucky players enjoyed a windfall when the Bad Beat Jackpot hit.
🚨 BAD BEAT! 🚨 Quad 5s beats Quads 4s to trigger our $100,000 Bad Beat Jackpot! That’s $40,000 for our “losing hand” and $30,000 for the winning hand! Four other players each received $7,500 table shares. Our Bad Beat Jackpot immediately has reset to $100,000! pic.twitter.com/fMhqsATamq
— Rivers Philadelphia Poker Room (@riverspokerphl) November 16, 2020
However, on Monday, the city of Philadelphia issued new restrictions that will force the casino to close on Friday, Nov. 20. The earliest the casino will be able to reopen will be Jan. 1, 2021.
The new guidelines cover a host of different businesses, including restaurants, bars, gyms and fitness centers, and theaters. All Philadelphia high schools and colleges must move to online-only instruction for the rest of the year as well.
Still temporarily closed – Hollywood, Parx, Presque Isle Downs, Wind Creek
The following poker rooms have been shuttered since mid-March and remain closed at present:
- Hollywood Casino Penn National (17 tables) – closed
- Parx Casino (80 tables) – closed
- Presque Isle Downs (seven tables) – closed
- Wind Creek Casino (26 tables) – closed
It is unknown if or when Hollywood or Presque Isle plans to reopen. Wind Creek appears to be in no rush either, given that slot machines presently occupy the floor of its poker room.
By contrast, Parx does appear to be considering reopening its poker room, the largest in the state. Parx recently sent out an announcement of plans to reopen the room “before the end of December.” But COVID-19 numbers could deter those plans.
Permanently closed – Harrah’s Philadelphia poker room
Meanwhile, in late August, Harrah’s Philadelphia indicated it had closed its large 27-table World Series of Poker-branded poker room, with no plans to reopen.
While there was no formal announcement, employees of the poker room shared information about the closure on social media and elsewhere.
Pennsylvania’s two other casinos, Lady Luck Nemacolin and Valley Forge, are both currently open, though neither has poker rooms.
You can follow our live updates page at PlayPennsylvania for the latest on PA casino (and poker room) closures and reopening plans as they are made available.