The World Series of Poker poker room at Harrah’s Philadelphia is likely to remain closed permanently, sources have confirmed with the Play Pennsylvania news site.
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After a collection of social media posts from current and former Harrah’s employees lit up the internet with speculation that the 27-table WSOP venue, shut down in March with the rest of gaming due to the pandemic, was to close permanently, Play Pennsylvania reported that an unnamed former poker room employee had confirmed that Harrah’s has no plans to reopen the room. A customer representative at Harrah’s Philadelphia confirmed the fact to the news site.
When casinos were given the green light to reopen in June, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board stipulated that poker rooms would remain closed for now due to the game of poker’s close player contact and constant handling of cards and chips. Board spokesman Doug Harbach confirmed to Play Pennsylvania as late as August 25 that there are no plans to reverse the poker ban.
The live poker room at Harrah’s Philadelphia appears to be permanently closed.
According to various social media posts by current and former employees, they received word about the decision on August 11.
Harrah’s Philly poker room closed for good?
Various poker room employees at Harrah’s Philadelphia posted on social media about losing their poker-dealing jobs. On the condition of anonymity a now-former employee (“Jake”) discussed what’s happening at Harrah’s Philadelphia poker room with Play Pennsylvania.
He confirmed that it is closed with no plans to reopen the room. Management’s calls to poker room employees came via Zoom on August 11. Jake said that they did not offer anyone positions within the organization. However, Harrah’s did say if they had experience in tables games they could apply, just the same as anyone else coming in off the street, for openings.
Those who asked if any classes would be offered for table games did not get a clear “yes” or “no” answer.
Silent on social media
Harrah’s Philadelphia poker room’s Twitter handle no longer exists. Its Facebook page has not been updated since March 13.
Asked whether the poker room closure was permanent, a customer service representative at Harrah’s Philadelphia said:
“It’s closed as of now. We don’t have a date of reopening.”
World Series of Poker-branded room
Harrah’s opened a live poker room in 2010 on the floor below the main gaming floor near where race track betting takes place.
On April 26, 2019 after extensive renovations, Harrah’s Philadelphia became home to the World Series of Poker poker room. Harrah’s corporate parent company Caesars Entertainment owns the popular World Series of Poker brand.
Last fall, Harrah’s underwent a number of major renovations including the new sportsbook, The Book and a Topgolf Swing Suite.
General Manager Chris Albrechttold the Philadelphia Business Journal:
“The poker room was moved from racing level to casino floor to have all gaming action on one floor. It was part of the re-imagination of the back of the casino with new sportsbook and Topgolf.”
Harrah's Philadelphia Poker Twitter Search
Parx has the largest live poker room in PA with 48 tables.
Harrah’s had 27 tables and a full slate of poker promotions and tournaments. On their website they boasted:
“WSOP Poker Room spreads Texas Hold’em, Seven Card Stud, and Omaha. With non-stop action and a range of blinds, even the most discriminating Philadelphia gambler will find a perfectly suited game for their taste. Limit games range from $2-4-6 to $20-40, while No Limit games range from $1-2 to $10-25.”
The following pictures were taken at the vacated Harrah’s Philadelphia poker room in July, 2020.
Harrah S Philadelphia Poker Room Twitter
Poker rooms in PA still closed
In mid-March all twelve Pennsylvania casinos closed to slow the spread of coronavirus. Harrah’s Philadelphia reopened on June 26.
When the casinos home county moved to the “green phase” they could reopen at reduced capacity (up to 50%). The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board laid out updated health and safety protocols which included, to start, that poker rooms could not operate due to players handling cards and chips. They said they’d monitor and adjust according to guidance from the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
PGCB Director of Communications Doug Harbachgave this update to Play Pennsylvania on Aug. 25:
“There has been no alteration to the casino reopening protocols released by the Gaming Control Board in May in which poker rooms were not authorized to operate. At the same time, this guideline can be reexamined based on health experts’ guidance. Should casinos wish to explore reopening a casino room, it would need to provide plans to do so safely which would be reviewed by the Board on a case-by-case basis.”
Online poker in PA
While live poker is off the menu for the time being (and perhaps permanently at some casinos, like Harrah’s), PA poker players still have legal, regulated as an option. PokerStars PA was the first online poker operator to launch in PA, doing so in November 2019. The lone operator has done well in Pennsylvania, peaking in April with revenue of nearly $5.3 million when all casinos were still shuttered.
And while live poker rooms remain closed, online poker revenue at PokerStars has come down to a reasonable yet healthy $3.0 million for July. But it looks as if PA will soon have more online poker options in partypoker(through BetMGM/ROAR Digital) and ironically, WSOP.com.
While no timeline has been announced for the launch of WSOP online in PA, we know regulatory approval is underway. That makes for rather unfortunate timing for Caesars’ live poker partner to fold, it would seem. But in 2020, anything is possible.
Note: This is a developing story. PlayPennsylvania will provide the latest updates on the Harrah’s poker room closing as they become available.
The post Breaking: Harrah’s Philadelphia WSOP Poker Room Closed for Good, Sources Say appeared first on Play Pennsylvania.