Prime Social Poker Club Reopens, A First As Texas Gets Back to Business

Prime Social Poker Room Reopens in Houston, Texas
The Prime Social cardroom in Houston is one of the first poker clubs to reopen in the United States.

While many casinos and poker rooms across America are planning how to safely reopen amid Coronavirus restrictions, one club has already taken the leap. Yesterday, Prime Social Poker Club in Houston, Texas has reopened to the public as Governor Greg Abbott has made the contentious decision to allow businesses to continue operating.

There is no news of any other cardrooms across America having reopened, so Social Poker seems to be the first to do so. To keep its players safe, owners of the venue have outlined a number of rules for players and staff.

All Temperatures to be Taken

Firstly, all members, employees and guests must have their temperatures checked before entering the venue. It is similar to the rules being considered by Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut. This is a controversial measure, however.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), thermal scanners cannot identify those infected with COVID-19 effectively. It can take between two and 10 days for individuals with Coronavirus to develop a fever, so there is still a risk of someone who has been infected entering the club.

Facemasks Are Mandatory

Another restriction will require everyone at the club to wear facemasks at all times, but it has not specified what types of masks are required. There are disposal surgical masks and reusable cotton masks, and a Facebook photo from the venue shows patrons and staff wearing different variants.

Facemasks in Prime Social Poker Room
Patrons and staff are wearing a wide variety of facemasks in the newly reopened Prime Social Poker Room.

There has yet to be a common consensus in the efficacy of facemasks in preventing the spread of coronavirus. WHO states that there is no evidence that masks will protect people who are not sick from becoming infected.

There is something to be said for wearing masks, though. Asian countries with widespread mask use have seen more success in keeping infection rates down, so, it is debatable whether or not this restriction at Prime Social will truly protect players.

Six-Max Games Only

Usually, the maximum number of players at tables in the Prime Social poker club is ten, but this has been reduced to six. The goal is to keep players spread out more and encourages appropriate social distancing.

This measure is also interesting, as it allows more players at tables that the Nevada Gaming Control Board is considering for the reopening of its licensed casinos. The NGCB recently released guidance the requires card games across the state to only permit four players at a table, so having six maximum may seem a bit risky.

The Coronavirus Situation in Houston

While it may seem premature for poker rooms to be opening up again amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is happy to give businesses across the state the go-ahead. It is a contentious move, as there are over 3500 active cases in Houston, where Prime Social is located. Many have criticized Abbott’s decision to allow businesses to reopen, and fear that there may be a sharp rise in cases as a result.

There is still a long way to go before the land-based poker industry is fully open again. Most other states are exercising more caution when it comes to allowing businesses to reopen.

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