UK poker players can finally return to the live tables from May 17, as casinos and poker rooms across the country resume their operations.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this week that the third step of the UK’s reopening roadmap which will see some indoor entertainment and attractions, such as casinos, theaters, concert halls, cinemas, museums, bowling alleys, as well as hospitality venues including restaurants and bars reopen their doors starting next week.
Johnson said they will proceed with the next reopening plan on June 21, depending on the results of the May 17 reopening.
Live Poker is Back With Minimal Restrictions
While live poker will resume next week, players are still required to follow minimum health and safety protocols, including the wearing of facemasks, as well as observing proper social distancing. Each poker table also has a plexiglass partition to separate players and dealers.
Among the casinos in England set to welcome back customers are 31 properties operated by Grosvenor Casinos.
Grosvenor Casinos will reopen with both cash games and tournaments. All 31 venues will run cash games, while eight of them will also offer MTTs, namely Grosvenor Birmingham Hill Street, Grosvenor Bury New Road Manchester, Grosvenor Coventry, Grosvenor Leeds, Grosvenor Luton, Grosvenor Walsall, and The Vic London.
Grosvenor poker clubs will initially run seven-handed games, with player and table caps in place. Players are being urged to pre-register prior to entering the room, but if they are unable to do so, they are advised to arrive at the venue early so they can find a seat or be included on the waiting list. Customers can check out the initial schedule of games via the Grosvenor Poker Live App before the reopening.
Aspers properties across the country will also resume operations on May 17, as well as The Hippodrome in London. Both companies will also be requiring players to wear a facemask and practice social distancing.
New-Look PokerStars Live Poker Room Reopens
The PokerStars LIVE poker room will also reopen its doors at the Hippodrome Casino on May 17. The state-of-the-art venue will run cash games 24/7 upon reopening, and tournaments will also be back during the first week. Players will be welcomed into a newly refurbished venue, with every detail of the space now sporting the PokerStars logo.
The revamped poker hub now includes four poker rooms, a bar, as well as an outdoor smoking area, with the whole area fully refurbished and reimagined.
Each room now has a TV, with the PokerStars team also adding new graphics on the walls, new window treatments, and lightboxes. The new-look venue now occupies the whole third floor of the casino, with access to different other areas of the establishment, including the roof terraces. Customers can now even enter the poker venue from Leicester Square.
During the weekend, PokerStars LIVE will run a £40,000 guaranteed tournament which has a buy-in of £275. The room is expected to host more tournaments going forward, as industries and businesses return to their normal operations.
UK To Lift All Restrictions in June
The UK was among countries with the highest number of COVID-19 infections when the pandemic began in March 2020. Casinos and all non-essential business establishments were forced to close during that period due to the increasing number of positive cases. Months later, they had been allowed to reopen only to be ordered to shut their doors again when Prime Minister Johnson implemented another national lockdown in November.
Since then, the UK government has worked tirelessly to get out of lockdown, implementing a four-stage reopening roadmap. The easing of restrictions began in March 2021 with schools being allowed to reopen.
Now, the progress has continued with the country recording a significant decrease in COVID-19 infections and deaths. More than half of the country’s population have also already been vaccinated. If things go according to plan, the UK will return to normalcy by the end of June.