Bicycle, Commerce Announce The Return Of Indoor Poker In California (UPDATED)

California poker players are accustomed to playing in tents and other outdoor setups at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, but at least two major poker rooms in the Golden State appear poised for a return to normalcy.

The Bicycle Casino and Commerce Casino both announced intentions to reopen their indoor poker venues on Monday, April 5. The announcements from both the Bicycle and the Commerce hit the public in Twitter posts that didn’t include any further details but should excite California poker players nonetheless.

The off-and-on COVID-19 emergency orders issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom throughout 2020 forced California’s commercial poker rooms to shutter from late June through the beginning of October.

The Bicycle, along with other major California venues like the Commerce Casino and The Gardens Casino, reopened as outdoor facilities on Oct. 5. Many poker venues throughout the state resumed business as outdoor rooms throughout October.

The latest order from Los Angeles County moved the area into the “Red Tier” of the county’s business reopening plan amid the pandemic. The Red Tier permits selected indoor businesses to resume operations at 25% capacity and went into effect March 15.

Cardrooms weren’t included among those indoor business allowed to reopen facilities. County health officials announced Wednesday that the area will move into the “Orange Tier” of COVID-19 protocols on April 5, barring a surge in COVID-19 cases between now and that date.

Commerical cardrooms in Los Angeles county can reopen at 25% capacity in the Orange Tier. Along with the Bicycle and Commerce, the Gardens Casino and Hustler Casino also announced intentions to resume indoor operations next Monday.

The Return Of Indoor Poker To California

With some L.A. poker rooms getting back to indoor business, California players can assume that other state poker rooms will do the same in the coming weeks. The Bicycle normally presents a 185-table setup when the indoor room runs at full capacity.

The Twitter announcement offered no insight on how the 25% capacity mandate and other sanitation protocols would affect the indoor setup. When running at full capacity, the both the Bicycle and Commerce function as two of the largest poker rooms in the US.

Many popular Southern California poker rooms, have operated as outdoor facilities since last October. Barring a spike in California COVID-19 cases, the state’s poker rooms appear ready to return to their normal state.

California hosts nearly 70 commercial card rooms, all of which must follow any kind of emergency order issued by Gov. Newsom. Tribal casinos across the state don’t have to abide by state mandates, however, and as such several tribal casinos have continued operating indoor poker rooms as their commercial competitors set up in tents.

About the Author

Geoff Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff’s interests include the legal online poker industry in the U.S. and abroad.