Poker players and fans in the Midwest will be delighted to know that live poker action is finally back at one of the region’s most famous poker destinations, Indiana’s Hammond Horseshoe casino. The casino confirmed that it will recommence offering cash games beginning April 19. There’s no word from the casino yet as to when it will resume running live tournaments.
Hammond Horseshoe was among several casino establishments forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Caesars-owned property had stopped offering poker since the worldwide lockdown in March 2020. The return of cash game poker action at the venue indicates that the live poker scene in the Midwest is on its way to recovery, just like in many other regions across the US.
New Venue for Cash Game Poker at Hammond Horseshoe
Hammond Horseshoe will open its doors to cash game players on April 19. Cash games will run at the casino Monday to Friday, and the action will move to a new area, at Hammond’s concert hall named “The Venue”. The change in location is the main reason for the weekday-only schedule currently adopted for cash games. The area will still serve as Hammond’s entertainment space, which usually hosts events on weekends.
The Venue is situated on the second floor of Hammond Horseshoe, is a 90,000 square-foot space where concerts, comedy shows, and any type of events are held. Since it opened back in August 2008, The Venue has played host to grand opening concerts of famous music artists, including Bette Midler, James Blunt, Alicia Keys, and the Smashing Pumpkins.
The area’s versatile design allows it to accommodate any other types of gatherings, including conferences, trade shows, and even live poker events.
The Venue has yet to reopen as a show hall. Several shows originally slated to take place in 2020 have been rescheduled, one of them was Jeff Dunham’s comedy show which has now been moved to September 11, 2021. It will be the first show at the venue in over a year.
While some players would definitely miss playing at the old poker room, many would also be familiar with The Venue as the WSOP Circuit series is often held there at least once a year, with tournaments running for almost two weeks. It has a maximum capacity of almost 100 tables. By comparison, Hammond Horseshoe’s regular poker room houses just 34 tables, including the popular “Benny’s Room” high-stakes parlor.
What’s Next for Hammond Horseshoe’s Regular Poker Room?
With poker action now being transferred to a new location, what would happen to the casino’s regular poker room?
While Hammond Horseshoe did not mention the primary reason for the change in location, ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19 could have influenced the casino to make the shift.
The casino’s regular poker room was built with a low ceiling design, restricting the airflow within the vicinity. These types of settings allow the virus to spread much faster from one person to another.
Hammond Horseshoe doesn’t want to take chances especially when it comes to the health and safety of all players and staff. Moving its poker games to a larger area with a high ceiling was necessary. But this doesn’t mean the traditional poker room will be entirely useless, as it could still offer an extended space for casino gamblers at the moment.
Mandatory Wearing of Face Masks Likely to be Enforced
Restrictions related to COVID-19 are still in effect in Indiana. People are still being advised to wear face masks and observe proper social distancing. Similar guidelines and protocols are expected to be implemented when Hammond Horseshoe resumes its poker operations.
This means players will have to wear a face mask to be allowed entry into the casino. It remains unclear if the casino will use plexiglass barriers at tables, like the other live poker rooms that have reopened across the country.
Apart from Hammond Horseshoe, the only other poker room currently operating in the Northwest Indiana area is Ameristar East Chicago. The Majestic Star Casino is expected to reopen soon when it successfully changes its name to Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana.