Cards are in the (outdoor) air: California casino moves tables outside
By Bob Garcia
Is outdoor poker the solution to calm the nerves of Texas Hold’em players during the COVID-19 pandemic? A move by Garlic City Casino in California has many industry experts wondering just that.
Garlic City Casino has moved a number of its games into a 2,000 sq ft tent, located in its parking lot at 8630 San Ysidro Avenue in Garlic City.
Cardrooms are permitted to reopen outdoors with safety protocols in place, as per state and county regulations. The casino has moved a number of table games to the makeshift gaming destination, and requires all players to wear face masks. Staff will be enforcing temperature checks at the gate, and gaming tables will be spaced out with limited capacity to aid in social distancing efforts.
Unfortunately, Texas Hold’em Poker and other poker variants won’t be offered due to the number of players required at the table to host a game.
“We have been getting a lot of people calling,” Garlic City Casino owner Ky Phuong Phuong said. “The phone’s been ringing nonstop. Customers are looking forward to come and play. Hopefully they will enjoy the setup that we did here. It looks pretty nice.”
Phuong was forced to lay off its 65 employees at the start of the pandemic as rent and utilities costs skyrocketed.
The reopening plan also includes the resumption of its on-property restaurant, with food now being served outdoors from 11am to 2am.
If state regulations change, it’s feasible that poker could be added to the mix of outdoor games available at the casino and other properties in warm climates.