Encore Poker Dealers Begin Retraining for Other Games

With Poker games seemingly in no position to return to Massachusetts casinos any time soon, many former Poker dealers at Encore Boston Harbor have begun to train for other permitted games like Blackjack.

Encore Spokesman Eric Kraus said that 70 Poker dealers at Encore have participated in a new program offered by the company to train for other permitted games, those mostly being Blackjack.

“Because we shut down the Poker Room and furloughed several of those Poker Room employees, we have started training those Poker dealers and others with game experience in dealing. We are offering them to train on Blackjack dealing mostly. We don’t like furloughing employees. They are family members. So, we tell them about all open positions and see if anyone furloughed is a good fit for those positions. If they’re furloughed and would be a good fit, we can bring them back to open positions. We invest a lot in our employees, whether finding them, training them and keeping them. We don’t want them to leave during a furlough.”

He said there are approximately 70 dealers of Poker that are or have re-trained for Blackjack, one of the only table games now allowed in the state.

At the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) meeting last Thursday, the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) gave one of its first updates on the possibility of returning Poker, and the long and short of that is Poker is currently not possible.

The IEB explained that Poker requires many people at the table to be worthwhile and profitable for the casino, and at the moment the best that can be done is four players at a time.

“In order to make Poker a safe game, we could put only about four people at a table,” said one of the members. “In discussions with operators, this would mean Poker would not be profitable. At this point, we wouldn’t recommend Poker until we can get more players at the table and do that safely.”

The IEB indicated some other states with gaming are returning Poker and allowing many people at a table. With COVID-19 restrictions as they are, it isn’t a course the MGC is willing to forge.

“That’s not what I would consider a safe situation for employees or players,” he said. “Poker at its heart is a marginally profitable game for casinos. We would at best get four players at a table and that’s a very, very low profit, it at all a profit, for casinos.”

At Encore, the Poker Room and Poker areas have largely been repurposed to accommodate more Blackjack tables at greater distances.

1 comment for “Encore Poker Dealers Begin Retraining for Other Games

  1. sofia
    September 3, 2020 at 7:42 am

    4 players is about the same as 9 players as far as the poker hands are concerned.Let me explain. Pre-flop, you have only the small blind and big blind and maybe a small raise because an all-in bet would force your opponents to fold Pre-flop. Next ,comes the flop which is usually 2 -4 players left in the hand regardless of how many players began the hand.By 4th street, there is usually 2-3 players left with small raises.And now the river.This is where an all-in bet usually takes place ,especially during a trap.If there is a maximum rake per hand, then there isn’t much difference.Once the casino gets comfortable with 4 players,then many opponents will show up early to get a seat. The high hand jackpots could go every hour instead of every 20 minutes. No player will complain as it is the best incentive to play at that casino instead of elsewhere.The bad-beat jackpots will be more difficult to win but the jackpots will continue to increase for more excitement will build daily.eventually If masks must be worn, players won’t even think about it and eventually won’t even realize that they’re wearing a mask.Also ,hand sanitizer must be put on your hands “AT THE TABLE” just before you play your first hand or whenever returning from the bathroom. Also,players will not be allowed to switch tables. No player will complain about all the elbow room !!!!! The rakes will be the same as you must remember that most of the tables are no-limit !!!! Usually on a no-limit bet there are only 2 players going at it anyways. When they are about open the poker room ,be sure to put it on all the news and front page of every newspaper. Let the games begin.

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