Wind Creek Bethlehem Reopens With Fewer Slot Machines, More Cleaning And No Smoking In The Casino
Celeste Danzey wasn’t sure what to expect when she made the 70-mile trip Monday morningRead More
Westgate Sportsbook Reopening: A Behind-the-scenes Look
The Westgate opened July 2, 1969, as the International, which at the time was theRead More
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Celeste Danzey wasn’t sure what to expect when she made the 70-mile trip Monday morning to Wind Creek Bethlehem from Newark, New Jersey. A casino regular, Danzey used to make the same trek a couple times monthly — but that was before a pandemic that upended the industry and forced Wind Creek to close for more than three months.
When she arrived at the casino at 11 a.M. Monday, about five hours after Wind Creek reopened to the public for the first time since March 15, Danzey was relieved to walk in and see temperature checks at the door, distanced mask-wearing guests and cleaning crews circulating the floor.
“I was looking forward to coming back,” she said from behind an Adidas mask while her gloved hands rested atop a slot machine.
Others were, too. In fact, about 100 people waited in line for the casino to open Monday morning, said Kathy McCracken, the property’s executive vice president and general manager. Still, crowds were a little light by midday Monday, not typically a stellar day of the week for a casino, especially on its first day back from a 100-plus day hiatus. While some guests used the casino’s online reservation module, many walked right in.
“I think we could use a few more people but, in general, I think it’s going well,” said McCracken, elevated to the casino’s top post in late February. “So far, we’re really happy. We’re keeping our team members safe. We’re keeping the guests safe, and we’re happy to be back and operating.”
What guests saw Monday was a little different than prepandemic Wind Creek. The bright lights and noises from slot machines are still there, but only around 1,200 slots — out of a usual 3,045 — are up and running. The casino deactivated many slots and removed chairs, ensuring guests stay apart. Table games dealers wear face shields and sanitize often. At blackjack tables, only two players are allowed per table.
In a major change, smoking is not allowed on the casino floor, or in public spaces or bathrooms. A designated smoking area directs patrons to an outdoor space.
With Wind Creek’s reopening, followed by the opening of Parx Casino in Bucks County at 9 a.M. Monday, 11 of Pennsylvania’s casinos have now reopened. The only one not yet open is Rivers Casino Philadelphia, which has not set a reopening date as local officials there have opted to maintain additional restrictions until Friday.
In Atlantic City, New Jersey, several casinos have announced reopening plans for Friday following Gov. Phil Murphy’s announcement authorizing gambling halls to reopen with capacity restrictions.
It all brings relief to a casino industry hammered by the pandemic, which at one point forced the temporary closure of all 989 commercial and tribal casino properties across the country. As of Monday, 794 casinos are open in the United States, while 195 remain closed, according to the American Gaming Association.
During the pandemic, Wind Creek Bethlehem paid its roughly 2,400 employees through the end of May but furloughed 2,095 of them June 1, as the downturn entered its third month.
The casino has brought back almost 1,400 employees and plans to recall more as capacity increases, McCracken said.
The casino’s employees also are now dressed in T-shirts, easier to wash than the usual uniforms. That includes the casino’s Clean Team, wearing green T-shirts and pacing the floor, wiping down and cleaning surfaces. Daniel Mies, typically part of the casino’s sales team, chipped in by spraying sanitizing solution out of a power drill-like device.
“Team members are really going above and beyond and volunteering to help out,” spokeswoman Julia Corwin said.
One of the Lehigh Valley’s largest employers, the casino did have some employees test positive for the coronavirus this year, but has not disclosed the total number. One of those employees was Jonathan Shen, a 31-year-old table games supervisor who died April 22 following a four-week battle with COVID-19.
Moving forward, the casino expects to make changes as necessary. Wind Creek had a soft opening over the weekend, with small groups of invited guests who tested the site’s new policies.
Among the changes already planned: The casino’s hours of 6 a.M. To 3 a.M. Will be pushed this weekend to 7 a.M. To 5 a.M., allowing the casino to extend its overnight hours but still leaving enough time for a deep cleaning while closed.
Plexiglass barriers also could follow soon between slot machines.
Elsewhere on the property, The Outlets at Wind Creek Bethlehem reopened Monday but the Event Center remains closed. Some of the site’s restaurants also are closed, including Steelworks Buffet & Grill.
The daily update for the Lehigh Valley business person.
McCracken said there’s no return date yet for the casino’s busing programs, which bring in people from New York City and northern New Jersey.
Even amid the uncertainty, the casino hopes to start construction on a few projects before long. That includes starting work in mid-August on its sportsbook in the home of Buddy V’s Ristorante and breaking ground by late summer on its $100 million hotel expansion.
Placed on the backburner, however, is Wind Creek’s original $250 million plan to transform the crumbling Bethlehem Steel No. 2 Machine Shop into an indoor water park and entertainment complex.
For now, some gamblers, such as Danzey, are just happy the property is open. It’s early on in Wind Creek’s new normal, but Danzey liked what she saw Monday — even if the House was beating her as of midday.
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The Westgate opened July 2, 1969, as the International, which at the time was the world’s largest hotel and casino.
The doors stayed unlocked until Nevada’s casinos closed March 18 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Westgate, which now boasts the world’s largest sportsbook, unlocked its doors on Thursday. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the reopening alongside Westgate sportsbook vice president Jay Kornegay.
10:14 a.M.: Less than two hours before the Westgate reopens, Review-Journal photographer Rachel Aston and I enter through a side door, where we have our temperatures taken.
We’re greeted by Kornegay and the world’s largest 4K video wall which, at 18 feet tall and 260 feet wide, is 20 feet wider than before. It’s also brighter and clearer after the Westgate replaced all the screens during the shutdown.
“We’re still fine-tuning some things, but the bottom (score ticker) is bigger, the screens are a little longer and they’re 30 percent brighter,” Kornegay said.
There are hand-washing stations at the entrance and exit to the book and plenty of hand sanitizer dispensers.
More than half of the seats in the sportsbook have been removed, along with every other seat in the racebook, marked by “Reserved For Social Distancing” sheets.
10:30 a.M.: Kornegay stops to chat with Dawn Rawle, Westgate’s VP of marketing and entertainment.
She tells him that the hotel had just checked in its first guest, a woman from Texas on vacation.
“It’s her birthday weekend,” Rawle said. “She was super excited. She will get a surprise in her room.”
10:45 a.M.: All Westgate employees gather in the book for a final meeting before the grand reopening. General manager Cami Christensen reminds her “leadership team” that they have to lead the way in wearing masks, washing their hands and having their temperatures taken and to do it “with a good attitude and with pride.”
“If you want to vent about how hard this is, my door is wide open to all of you at any time,” she said. “Just wear your mask.”
Kornegay poses for the group photo and does the wave with the rest of the team.
All of the employees are wearing masks, along with a small photo of themselves.
“Guests can’t see our face anymore, but now they can see our picture so they know what we look like,” Kornegay said.
Says Christensen: “Everybody always complains the dealers don’t smile in Vegas. This is going to be perfect to show that they do.”
11:10 a.M.: Kornegay checks on last-minute details. The empty racks in the book need to be filled with betting sheets. The initial plan was to hand them out at the counter upon request, but he decided that would’ve been overwhelming.
Kornegay then heads to the back room to consult with Doug Whelan, a systems integrator for NMR Events, which replaced the audio/video system for the book.
“It’s 96 percent done, but we’re still working on the sound and tweaking the format because they have to transfer control of the screens to the back room,” he said.
There’s a replica of the video wall in the back room on five TV screens that staff members are always monitoring.
Kornegay tries to resolve a problem on the replica screens with Whelan so that they can see the ticker as it comes across in the book.
“This is the time to ask these questions,” Kornegay says. “Millions of dollars have been spent.”
As sportsbook managers Eric Osterman and Randy Blum oversee the Westgate mobile app, Kornegay turns his attention to the “Welcome Back Superbook Guests” sign displayed on one of the screens.
He asks sportsbook director John Murray if he prefers to add the message ‘We’ve missed you’ or ‘Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back,’ in a nod to the 1970s TV show “Welcome Back, Kotter.”
Murray likes the second option because “It’s more fun.”
11:30 a.M.: A line of about 60 people has formed at the main entrance. William Vames, 56, of Las Vegas is first in line. He said he showed up at 1 a.M. But was told to come back later. He returned at 6 a.M. And has been patiently waiting since then.
“I just wanted to be one of the first ones in,” he says. “It’s like emotional therapy. Being away from the sportsbook, that’s my life. My baby’s been taken from me, and now I’m getting it back.”
11:45 a.M.: Kornegay and Murray join the rest of the Westgate team out front. Christensen addresses the staff, and they cheer for the guests in line.
11:55 a.M.: As the all-female band Dollface plays “Viva Las Vegas” inside, “Sexxy” creator Jennifer Romas and Westgate magician Jen Kramer are the first to enter, along with the hotel’s masked canine mascot, Sir Winston of Westgate.
Noon: Kornegay helps usher guests inside while ensuring they practice social distancing. Each of the more than 100 people in line are awarded $50 in free slot play and are greeted by employees who carry silver trays of masks and pass them out with silver tongs.
12:10 p.M.: After the guests enter the hotel, the back doors to the book are opened, and two lines quickly form at the betting windows.
“It’s good to see the guests again, and it’s good to get all the tellers and the rest of the team back to work,” Murray said. “There will be a lot more action now from over-the-counter business and the horse racing business.
“But it’s not going to feel like we’re all the way back until we get one of the major sports back.”
12:15 p.M.: The first two bets placed over the counter are for $2,000 each on the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins to earn the top seeds in their respective NHL conferences. The bet on the Blues (+225) pays $4,500. The bet on the Bruins (+175) pays $3,500.
“Not bad. It went way over (the amount I expected),” Kornegay said with a laugh. “I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that the first wagers would’ve been on winning the top seed in the NHL playoffs. But I didn’t think it would be on South Korea baseball, either.”
“We have a lot of (mobile) account activity. A lot of people withdrawing and making deposits. I guess the wave of the future is mobile wagering and more so even after this pandemic.”
The Westgate is covering all deposit fees on Sightline Play+ on its app through July 31.
12:30 p.M.: Besides horse racing, the only live sports on Thursday afternoon was the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage tournament.
But Kornegay quickly decided to switch the sound in the book from golf’s hushed tones to the legendary voice of late sportscaster Keith Jackson, who was calling an old Rose Bowl.
“The first day we open and I’ve got golf with no fans on,” Kornegay said. “It was just putting everyone to sleep. I just want something with a little bit more energy.”
1 p.M.: There were 18 players in the racebook and between 10 and 20 in the sportsbook the first few hours it was open.
“It’s about what I expected,” said Kornegay, who was approached by several bettors.
Robert Nolan of Las Vegas asks if can cash his $1,000 ticket to win $909 on the Lakers to go over 50½ wins. Kornegay kindly tells him he can’t as the Westgate refunded all wagers on regular-season win totals because of house rules that stipulate all 82 games must be played.
Another bettor who chats with Kornegay about football says he flew in from Ohio on Sunday but waited for the Westgate to reopen to visit a Las Vegas book.
“I decided to wait four days for this place to open to get the best value,” Dennis Whitehead said. “This is where you’re going to get the best value. I bet on the NFL. I put some money down on the futures.”
1:30 p.M.: John Todd Voss of Las Vegas had a handful of wagers on the golf tournament and said he’s entered the Westgate SuperContest the last five years. Registration has resumed for the prestigious NFL handicapping contest.
“I want to get ready for the SuperContest,” he said. “I want to get my futures in. I have hockey action, too. It’s always good to have a little action.”
2 p.M.: With everything running smoothly in a relatively quiet book, Kornegay heads to his office to catch up on emails and follow up on meetings from a marketing trip to Colorado, where the Westgate is opening another book.
3 p.M.: Kornegay greets guests in the book, including pro sports bettor Frank Carulli.
Relaxing in his reserved seat in the VIP section of the racebook, Carulli is impressed with the new video wall.
“The screens are really nice. They’re even nicer than they were and that’s saying something,” he said. “I can definitely tell the difference. They’re way brighter.”
A regular at the book before it closed, Carulli’s mask can’t conceal his glee about the reopening.
“I’m excited to be back,” he said. “This is my home away from home.”
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New England Patriots defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty described the possibility of returning to work as nerve-wracking and “scary” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think everybody’s nervous, because the norm is that we just go to work — we put in a lot of work, we bond together, we lift, we’re in close quarters. It feels like that’s all being taken away from us, so I don’t know how to react. I don’t know what’s it’s going to be,” Devin McCourty said Sunday night on the “Double Coverage” podcast.
“I love how a lot of players’ attention has been on what’s going on outside of football, and I think we’ll continue to do that. But figuring out football, to me, seems to be the hardest thing right now. We hope, but I don’t know if we’ll figure it out, honestly.”
The twin brothers said players haven’t been informed when they might return, and Jason added that he wouldn’t take part in a group workout at this time.
“For me, there would be no coming together to do any type of practice with teammates, because I just think we can’t dismiss with corona and everything going on,” he said on the podcast he shares with Jason. “I’ve been out here in Nashville, and I actually go run at the high school where I think a lot of the 49ers players were doing their team-practice ordeal. They just had a player or two test positive, [according to a NFL Network report].
“It’s kind of scary because something like that, I think it was probably just offense, so they probably had maybe 10 guys out there. When you think about the future, if it’s hard for 10 guys just to get together to do little passing drills or anything of that nature, to think about somewhere between 53 and 90 guys in a training camp, it’s going to be insane. So I don’t know how that’s going to turn out.”
One possibility would be to emulate plans by the NBA and MLS for a “bubble” format. In a CNN interview last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that is what the NFL would need to do to give itself the best chance to have a season.
Both McCourtys expressed doubt on how that would work.
“I think it’s very different for football. You think about training camp, there’s 90 guys on the team. Not only are there 90 guys, but there’s a coaching staff usually made up of maybe 15 to 20 … And there are so many other football-essential personnel that are in the building. You’re talking about 32 teams with over 100 members that you have to house; I don’t know if it’s really fathomable for the NFL to be able to go in a bubble,” Jason said.
“Beyond that, I don’t really know — me, personally, I don’t want to ever say never, but I can’t anticipate me being away from the family for that long throughout the entirety of the season. That would be insane. It would feel like forever.”
Added Devin: “I just can’t see me stepping away from my family for that amount of time. When you sign up for different jobs, you kind of discuss it as a family, the hardship of that. For us as players, we never had to think about that. We have training camp kind of in a month and a half, so we haven’t heard until now. The days start counting down. You might be telling your wife with a week’s notice that you’re gone for six months. To me, that would be very tough. If that is on the table, I think that needs to be discussed sooner than later for guys to be able to make that decision.”
At one point in the podcast, Jason was asked the biggest obstacle the Patriots face in 2020, and he said any specific X’s and O’s are overshadowed by the bigger picture.
“[Similar] to every other team in the league, is figuring out how to get into the building. I know that’s kind of the cliché answer right now, but everything that’s gone on with COVID, I think it’s hard at this point to even think about the individual team obstacles that you’re going to have go through because there’s so much going on out of our control right now,” Jason said.
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ts newly renovated poker room, which held its grand opening in February, is set to reopen Thursday with a game chart that includes No Limit Texas Hold ’em, Limit Hold ’em, Pot Limit Omaha, 7-card Stud and various mixed games.
It joins a handful of other Las Vegas properties — including the South Point, The Orleans and The Venetian — in offering poker.
Sahara’s poker room includes seven tables, a 16-by-9-foot LED video wall and five additional screens throughout the facility.
The venue will be open 6 p.M. To 2 a.M. Daily, with tables limited to five players, according to a Tuesday news release. Players are asked to reserve their seats online.
The Strip property also announced that it is now offering a new table game reservation system that promotes social distancing.
Group reservations are available for blackjack, roulette and baccarat tables through Sahara’s “Take a Seat” program, a first-of-its-kind offering in Las Vegas, according to the release.
The system allows players to book tables up to 72 hours in advance online. It is meant to help groups traveling together make arrangements to play the same live game. Additional games will be added in the future.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands Corp. Operates The Venetian.
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Last week, Roundhill Investments launched its second ETF, the Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (BETZ).
It’s designed to invest in companies the operate in-person and/or online sports books, operate online/internet gambling platforms or provide infrastructure or technology to such companies.
Its launch timing is a little ironic given the lack of live sports going on right now, but there’s little doubt that the sports gambling industry is huge. Add in the fast growing online gaming and eSports industries and ETF issuers have a huge market opportunity.
As of today, roughly 1/4 of the fund is invested in the technology segment, about 40% in sportsbooks and the remainder mostly in casinos and iGaming.
There’s quite a bit of global diversification here. It’s not surprising to see U.S.-based Draftkings as the top holding, but there’s only one other U.S. Company in the top 10.Robinhood Investors Jump In
Investors on Robinhood have been famous for being trend followers.
They were all over oil funds, including the United States Oil ETF (USO) and the ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil Fund (UCO), when prices were crashing and then soaring. They’ve been adding to positions in airlines, particularly the U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS), all throughout 2020. Both bets have been paying off handsomely post-bear market low.
And now they’re betting on betting!
BETZ is only a few days old, but Robinhood shareholders have quickly taken notice.
Nearly 12,000 Robinhood accounts have added BETZ to their portfolios already. Given its first to arrive advantage (a few eSports and gaming ETFs are already in business, but this is the first to focus heavily on sportsbooks as well), it’s a good bet that we could see this fund gain some traction.
It launched at around $1.5 million, but this buying interest will certainly increase that number in a hurry.
Too early to say if this is a winning bet, but Robinhood account holders have a decent track record lately.More ETF Research
How To Buy Bitcoin Without A Crypto Wallet
Top 5 Dividend ETFs That Are Perfect For Retirement
5 ETFs That Have Gained 30% So Far In 2020
Robinhood Investors Losing Interest In USO
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Are you looking for the best mobile app to play private poker games online with your friends, family, and colleagues?
partypoker have now introduced their own private poker games club function that lets you invite others to come and play with you.
If you are familiar with PokerNews, you know we wrote a lot about this already. We have an extensive guide on how to play poker with friends and also an entire walkthrough dedicated to the PokerStars home games online.
All the products we grace reviewed in the past, however, had one big issue that all players kept complaining about: they made organising private poker games online nearly impossible if you wanted to play poker on a mobile device.
That’s what makes the new partypoker option different and, at least in this very specific aspect, partypoker’s Club Games the best app to organize private poker games online.Private Club Games
The ‘Club Games’ make creating and joining new private poker games online very easy.
This new guide shows you how to set up your own private poker games online on the partypoker website and create the unique ID that your friends will need to join your online club.
Featuring fun gamification features, emojis, and cool animations, partypoker’s Poker Clubs come with up to 40% cashback and no increased rake whilst playing in your private poker games online.
And with ‘Club Games’ using partypoker’s ‘Real Name’ policy, you’ll know exactly who you’re playing against every time you sit down to play a private poker home game online!What Are You Waiting For!
What are you waiting for? Create your club and play private poker games online!How to Create a Private Home Game Online on partypoker
The people over at partypoker have made it really easy to set up your new ‘Club Game.’ The process involves no more than four steps.
Five, if you don’t have an account at partypoker yet.Step 1: Register on partypoker
This should go without saying – but you need to have an account on the platform if you want to organize a private poker game online on partypoker.
Click on the button below to get started.
REGISTER FREE ACCOUNT
The account is free and you get also all the bonuses described on this page (link opens on a new tab).Step 2: Click on Club Games
From the partypoker lobby, click on the Club Games tab from the top bar.
Step 3: Create your own Poker Club
Click ‘Create Club’ and fill in the form. Be sure to use a memorable name and password, as well as an eye-catching description to make your private poker club stand out!
Remember: all clubs use real names.
Step 4: Create Cash Game
Open the club details and head to the ‘Game Admin’ section.
Click ‘Create Game’ and decide what sort of poker games you want to play.
Stakes range from $0.01/$0.02 up to $1.00/$2.00. You can also change the number of seats (2, 6 or 8), the minimum and maximum buy-in (10, 50, 100 or 200 big blinds) and the game speed.
Game SpeedSlow – 20 seconds to actRegular – 15 seconds to actFast – 9 seconds to act
You can create new games or delete games using the Cash Games Lobby
Step 5: Invite Players to Your Club
Once you’ve set up your private poker club online and the games you want to play, all you need to do is invite the people you want to play with.
Click the invite button at the top of your Club Lobby and send the unique code and password out.
What Are You Waiting For!
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The Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, Fla., has reopened with Plexiglass barriers at poker tables.Image: Seminole Hard Rock Tampa
Our long national nightmare is over, and suffering citizens are finally ready to reopen the economy and pursue the noblest of American activities: gambling.
The Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa opened its doors Thursday night, making it the first gambling den to welcome customers since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses two months ago. This despite the fact that Florida has had 48,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 2,144 deaths, as of Friday.
As a former professional poker player, I have questions.
Is the public ready to go gamble away hard-earned cash during the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu, and what’s shaping up to be the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression?
The answer seems to be yes. Hard Rock invited 1,000 gamblers — the casino’s “best customers” (read: whales) — to attend its opening yesterday. Doors were opened to the public at 7 p.M.
The casino has put in precautions, including thermal imaging cameras at entrances to detect fevers and Plexiglass barriers at gaming tables. Two-thirds of the Hard Rock’s slot machines are turned off, in a nod to social distancing. Everyone entering is required to wear a face mask.
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Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen told the Tampa Bay Times that 2,000 of the casino’s 4,800 employees have returned to work. He also claims that no casino patron registered a temperature over 100.4, which would require them to be rechecked by staff, a statistic that seems incredible, but OK.
But what about people who blow on dice for luck at craps tables? Seems unsanitary.
Not knowing anything about craps players, despite spending 6,000 hours in a casino over the past 12 years, I asked a friend how he feels about it.
“Never blow on the dice,” Ricky Urena told me. “I’m a dice-setter.”
Dice-setting is a hotly debated method of throwing the die in a way to lower the house edge. Since this is something that casinos allow, as opposed to, say, card counting in black jack, I’m gonna go with, “This doesn’t help you.”
But Urena is a believer.
“I studied and practiced different sets and did calculations over time,” he said. “Of course you cannot control the dice but you find ways to extend your rolls several more throws than other shooters and that means a lot better EV (expected value).Ricky Urena shows his grip for throwing dice.
“So no, never blow on the dice,” he said.
A friend who is a high-stakes crusher agrees that it’s not really a thing.
“Not many people still do that,” my friend said. “It’s theatrical.”
I get it, it’s a romanticized misconception about the game, sort of like how people playing poker in movies say things like, “Read ‘em and weep,” or, “I see your $500, and raise you $500 more!” (Tip: Don’t say these things.)
Urena says he has already had COVID-19 and recovered — “Had a really bad headache for 3-4 days, high fever and body pain, but no respiratory issues” — so he isn’t too fearful of making the 12-minute drive from his home in South Florida to the Hard Rock property in Hollywood, Fla. He says as long as they sanitize the dice and make the shooters use hand sanitizer, he would feel safe playing.
Urena is a poker player, too, and the Hard Rock is the first poker room in the country to open. Poker still seems like a Petri dish, but some degenerates really need to gamble. According to its Twitter feed, the Hard Rock got more than 100 players in its room last night, with 20 tables opened. The tables are 6-handed, instead of the usual 9-handed, and feature plexiglass barriers, which poker players on social media have derided as unsafe and annoying.
Blake Whittington, a poker pro who has been quarantined with his girlfriend in an AirBnB in Dallas since the pandemic hit, thinks it’s too soon to go back to live poker.
“I think plenty of businesses should be opening,” said Whittington, who has $1.6M in live tournament cashes, including a $151,000 score in a World Series of Poker circuit event in Tunica a year ago. “But poker has got to be one of the worst culprits for spreading germs.”
However, there are those like Urena, who just want to play.
“Playing 6-handed sucks but I would do it, cuz poker,” he says. “I need it.”
Sergio Thorne Ramirez is a poker pro from east Texas who has the opposite view of Urena. He’s all in favor of shorthanded games, as he says the 4-handed tables that will be used at his hometown casino, Choctaw Casino in Durant, Okla., will “revolutionize poker.”
For pros like Ramirez, shorthanded games mean more hands per hour, and having an edge over those who aren’t comfortable making the adjustments needed to play wider ranges and weaker holdings.
Ramirez, who is at risk because of asthma, says his health is a concern but it won’t necessarily stop him from playing once Choctaw opens in June.
“As often as I get sick from casinos as it is, I’m not sure it really matters. Am I slightly nervous? Yes, partially. But I can’t live in fear forever.
“Then again, I guess you can. I’m not sure I’ll hop right back to the casino but I think I’ll at least stop in to see if games are amazing enough to possibly compromise my immune system.”
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Playing poker online can be a lot of fun, and it can be very profitable, if you understand what you’re doing. We have a guide on how to play online poker for beginners, but, here, we’ll delve a little deeper into the nuances of online poker, which is much different than playing in a table game live at the casino.You don’t need a poker face!
You’ll play in a ring game online, with a set group of players. Games can be played head-to-head or in groups, usually consisting of three, five or nine different players.
You’ll post an avatar and screen name, but the good news is this isn’t Skype or Zoom and players will not be able to ‘read’ your face, or look for tells. Sure, advanced players, over time, will be able to examine your betting behavior and whether or not you show your winning cards or ‘muck’ them, etc., getting valuable intel on your playing style. Most beginner and intermediate players aren’t that savvy.Don’t get carried away bluffing
Everyone loves a good lie in poker, but some beginners and intermediate players try to do it too much. For whatever reason, even though playing online for cash is similar to a table game in terms of ‘real-ness’, people tend to play a lot more hands online. So, bluffing, or basically being deceiving and representing to the rest of the table that your hand is stronger than it really is, can be fatal at times. If you bet consistently and continue the ruse to the end, it might pay off, but any wavering in your play and an expert playing in your game will recognize it and hammer you, similar to playing in the real world.
Pick and choose your spots, and do a little reconnaissance yourself, examining the players around you. If you trust that you’re at a table with several ‘calling stations’, or people who will see everything, it might not be a good idea. If you’re playing against a lot of tight players who only bet if they have to, go for it!
Play online casino games, including blackjack, roulette and slots at BetMGM.Top 10 Hands
In my personal experience, at least in the beginning, I’ll play Top 10 hands or hole cards. Statistically, these hole card pairings have the largest percentage chance of hitting a set, three of a kind on the flop, a straight, a flush, etc.
If I am playing at a table with a lot of loose early action, I’ll simply fold unless I get the following hands until the rookies have cannibalized themselves:
A-A (pair of aces, or American Airlines, pocket bullets, pocket bulls, etc.)
A-K (Big Slick, a bullet and a cowboy, etc.)
K-K (pair of kings, pocket kings, pocket cowboys, pair of cowboys, etc.)
Q-Q (pair of queens, pair of ladies, pocket queens, pair of ladies, etc.)
A-Q (ace and a queen, bullet and a lady, etc.)
J-J (pair of jacks, pair of jakes, pair of hooks, etc.)
10-10 (pair of 10s)
9-9 (pair of 9s)
8-8 (pair of 8s)
7-7 (pair of 7s)Suited connectors
Suited connectors are basically two cards of the same suit in succession. They give you a good chance of hitting a flush (five cards of the same suit) or a straight (five cards in numerical order) when involving the community cards in Texas holdem. It’s especially pleasing when you get suited connectors AND they’re a Top 10 hand, such as a Big Slick of the same suit. Having the ace is beautiful, as this gives you the best card against anyone else’s potential flush.
Ready to give online poker a try? Head over to BetMGM to sign up and play.
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The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
The Professional Bull Riders returned from a 41-day break Saturday night in Guthrie, Oklahoma, for an Unleash The Beast event scheduled for Las Vegas.
The competition at Lazy E Arena was closed to fans to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Taylor Toves of Stephenville, Texas, topped the 41 cowboys in the first round of the two-day event, scoring 89.5 points on Biker Bob. He joined Chandler Bownds as the only right-handed riders to reach the 8-second whistle atop Biker Bob in the bull’s 45 outings.
Ezekiel Mitchell of Rockdale, Texas, was second with an 89 on Soup In a Group.
Points leader Jose VItor Leme of Brazil, also returning from broken ribs, had an 86.5-point ride.
The PBR also plans to stage two-day events at the Lazy E on May 9-10 and 16-17.
When the NFL draft ended Saturday, Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores took a moment to remember two mentors who died from the coronavirus.
Flores said he looked up to Mike Hankins and Myles Coker when he was growing up in Brooklyn, and he’s a friend of their sons.
“This pandemic has hit close to home for me,” Flores said. “It was a loss for everyone. If you spent time with either guy – Mike Hankins or Myles Coker – I feel like I was better for it, certainly.”
Tajikistan says it’s suspending its soccer season, further reducing the handful of leagues still operating worldwide.
The Central Asian nation’s soccer federation says games on Sunday will go ahead as planned before the league is suspended until May 10.
The federation says its decision is in line with government measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The domestic season began on April 4. Games were being played without spectators.
Only a few other countries are still staging pro soccer, including Belarus, Nicaragua and Turkmenistan.
Tajikistan is one of the few countries which has not reported any cases of the coronavirus.
Aston Villa players will take a 25% pay cut to help the English Premier League club during the coronavirus outbreak.
“First-team players, first-team coaches and senior management have all agreed to defer 25% of their salaries for four months to assist the club during this period of uncertainty with a further review taking place at the end of this period,” club chief executive Christian Purslow said in a statement.
It was also announced that a National Health Service trust is to offer maternity care at Villa’s home ground in Birmingham following the success of a similar tie-up with nearby West Bromwich Albion.
The Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust said Villa Park’s North Stand would host weekday clinics for expectant mothers and new parents from Monday.
France rugby player Mohamed Haouas will be free to resume playing after lockdown ends by serving his three-week suspension during it.
The prop was suspended for hitting a Scotland player during their Six Nations encounter on March 8 at Murrayfield — the last match to be played in the competition.
The French rugby federation says Haouas “can serve this punishment during confinement and can thus play again once the sporting season resumes.”
France is in lockdown until May 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It is uncertain if and when the Six Nations matches can be completed.
English Premier League team Chelsea says it will not impose a pay cut on its first-team squad and instead will ask players to continue their support for charities during the coronavirus pandemic.
Chelsea also said it will not be furloughing any full-time staff, and casual workers and match day employees are being compensated by the club through to June 30.
The Blues have been in negotiations with their players about a salary reduction, reportedly around 10%, in an effort to save money during the current crisis. That is lower than the Premier League’s suggestion of 30% for all clubs but Chelsea has now decided to take a different approach.
Highlighting the PlayersTogether initiative launched by Premier League players earlier this month which aims to raise and distribute funds for National Health Service charities, Chelsea told its stars to focus their efforts on other causes.
“Representatives of the Chelsea board have recently held extensive talks with the men’s first team to discuss how they can contribute financially to the club during the coronavirus crisis,” a statement on the club website said. “At this time, the men’s first team will not be contributing towards the club financially and instead the board have directed the team to focus their efforts on further supporting other charitable causes.”
The British government is increasing planning with sports bodies about the resumption of events once the coronavirus national lockdown is eased.
Government medical officials are involved in the talks about the logistics and health procedures required to allow sports competitions to restart.
The Premier League last played a game on March 9 and has plans to try to restart from June 8 once pandemic social distancing regulations are relaxed to allow training to resume for teams and there are sufficient COVID-19 tests available.
The national lockdown is currently in place until May 7. Cricket authorities have already said their sport won’t resume until July, but horse racing is currently only suspended until June.
British Horseracing Authority chair Annamarie Phelps tweeted Saturday about “very welcome support for the resumption of live sport incl horseracing” from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, linking to a front page report from The Sun newspaper about plans for events to be staged again.
Dowden updated legislators earlier this week on his talks with sports governing bodies.
Despite high-profile reversals by Liverpool and Tottenham, Norwich has defended its decision to place some non-playing staff on furlough during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Canaries are one of only two English Premier League clubs using the scheme. Employees receive 80% of wages from the British government up to 2,500 pounds ($3,000) although, in this instance, Norwich is making up the remaining 20%.
Newcastle is the other top-flight club to turn to the job retention program while Liverpool, Tottenham and Bournemouth made U-turns on their decisions to furlough staff following heavy criticism.
“The decision we made was in the best interests of the club and its staff. We’ve been very transparent that we’re run in a self-financed manner,” Norwich chief operating officer Ben Kensell told BBC Radio Norfolk. “Ultimately, if we had the available cash flow to not have to take up schemes then, like other football clubs have, we would.”
Last-place Norwich, which has nine games remaining, is reportedly budgeting for a loss of between 18-35 million pounds due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Online poker experienced a triumphant Easter weekend with record numbers of players flocking to the tables for tournaments and cash games.
A grand total of 34,077 entrants paid $215 to enter Pokerstars’ Sunday Million with more than 37,000 entering the Sunday Storm.
partypoker also enjoyed a manic weekend as 1,260 entered the Irish Open Online, which saw Brazilian ,Pablo Brito Silva, scoop €462,000 for finishing first.
And while there was a wide selection of tournaments to play it was cash games that saw a huge spike as a result of partypoker’s $1 million cash game leaderboard.
Even A-list celebrities hopped on the poker tables over the weekend with Ben Affleck hosting a charity tournament on America’s Cardroom with the likes of Tom Brady, Bryan Cranston and Adam Levine all featuring.
One of the reasons for the recent online poker boom, is the postponement of live poker events.
The rise in activity is more or less expected but the most important metric to measure will be how it maintains after the global lockdown is lifted.
One major positive is that new players are beginning to learn about the game of poker which means that they may be more inclined to pick it back up once restrictions are lifted.
The schedule over the coming weeks isn’t showing any signs of slowing down with Pokerstars hosting its 9th anniversary Sunday Storm on April 26 with a $1 million guarantee and a $11 buy in.
partypoker is also continuing to host impressive tournaments as the Powerfest continues this month while the highly-anticipated World Poker Tour will come online in May.
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