COVID Forces Winter Potomac Poker Open Cancellation, Other Changes

Posted on January 4, 2022 - Last Updated on March 14, 2022

As COVID-19 cases rise in the region, MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD, has postponed the 2022 Winter Potomac Poker Open.

Officials originally scheduled the poker tournament series for Feb. 921. However, following the cancellation due to the spread of Omicron variant, a new date hasn’t been set.

However, MGM National Harbor officials have stressed it’s a postponement, not a cancellation.

Postponement of 2022 Winter Potomac Poker Open

The delay of the 2022 Winter Potomac Poker Open comes after Washington, DC, reported a record number of COVID-19 cases heading into the recent holiday weekend.

For the seven-day average heading into New Year’s weekend, DC’s daily COVID-19 case rate crept up to 272.1. This means that per 100,000 people, 272 caught COVID-19 daily throughout the week. Data also showed that their weekly case rate increased to 1,868 positive COVID-19 cases.

With the spike in cases and MGM National Harbor’s close, 15-minute proximity to DC, the caution is understandable. In fact, casino officials also announced the cancellation of all daily poker tournaments during the month of January.

As other operations continue at the casino, guests and employees are required to wear a mask at the casino until Jan. 23 as a result of Prince George’s County mask mandate.

The Potomac Winter Poker Open has been running since 2016. It’s one of the more popular poker festivals on the East Coast. However, the coronavirus forced a cancellation in 2021.

The most recent winner, Matthew Sesso, bested a field of 294 players to win $189,965 in the 2020 Potomac Winter Poker Open main event.

COVID-19’s impact on other MD casinos

While MGM National Harbor has adjusted poker plans due to the ongoing pandemic, other online casinos in Maryland haven’t taken such radical action. In fact, for most of the MD casinos, it’s still business as usual with a few tweaks.

Live! Casino & Hotel poker

The 2022 Maryland State Poker Championship (MSPC) and other scheduled poker tournaments are still going on as planned at Live! Casino & Hotel. The MSPC tales place Jan.517.

However, officials have implemented protocols to ensure the safety of their guests during this tournament.

In response to COVID-19, Anne Arundel County announced an emergency indoor mask mandate effective on Dec. 31.  As a result, all guests entering the casino are required to wear a face mask properly covering their mouth and nose. Guests who arrive without a mask will be provided one upon entry.

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore poker

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore’s WSOP Poker Room features 22 tables.

According to a representative for the poker room, all daily poker tournaments are continuing at the casino despite the spike in COVID-19 cases. That spokesperson also told PlayMaryland.com that the casino’s tournaments aren’t as big as other resorts in the state.

Meanwhile, all guests at the casino are required to wear a mask as part of Baltimore City’s indoor mask mandate.

Hollywood Casino Perryville poker

Hollywood Casino Perryville is also continuing poker games at the casino. Officials tell PlayMaryland.com that Tuesday’s tourney will take place at 7 p.m. as planned.

Unlike Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, guests are not required to wear masks inside of Hollywood Casino Perryville. That’s because the Cecil County government has not instituted a mask mandate.

However, county officials said they will support a resident’s choice to wear a mask.

Ocean Downs poker

Ocean Downs has implemented numerous protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while continuing normal operations at the casino.

With more than 600 slot machines and 60 seats at table games, Ocean Downs officials are still implementing social distancing guidelines. Additionally, they installed multiple floor decals and signage throughout the casino to promote distancing.

Before entering the casino, employees and guests will need to undergo a temperature check. Ocean Downs is also requiring team members and guests to wear a mask in the casino.

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Chelsea T. Johnson

Chelsea Johnson is a seasoned journalist with experience working as a reporter for WJAC-TV, 105.7 The Fan WJZ-FM, and FOX Sports Radio in Washington, DC. Her work also includes making an impact in the top newsrooms in the country at WBAL-TV in Baltimore and ESPN in Bristol, CT.

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