Maryland Live poker room slated to open in late August

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission has conditionally approved Maryland Live Casino’s proposal to open the region’s largest poker room in late August, officials said Thursday.

The two-story, 52-table room will host state regulators — and invited guests — on Aug. 26 for a demonstration, after which the state will consider final approval. The casino hopes to open its long-awaited poker operation to the public on Aug. 28.

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The 14,800-square-foot room is under construction outside the Arundel Mills casino’s existing building and “is well on schedule,” said Rob Norton, Maryland Live’s vice president and general manager. “We feel our timelines are very safe.”

More than 100 people are learning poker at the casino’s dealer school, Norton said, and scores of experienced dealers are being hired from other states. The casino expects to have a staff of at least 200 poker dealers when the room opens.

It will offer a wide range of games — and limits — “to accommodate every level of player from the casual player to big games,” Mike Smith, the casino’s director of poker operations, said in a news release.

With 52 tables, it will be the largest poker room in the region — and one of the largest on the East Coast. Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, which has long lured Maryland gamblers to West Virginia, has 50 poker tables. Delaware Park Casino has 45.

At Hollywood Casino Perry­ville, which had Maryland’s first (and, for now, only) poker room, the eight tables are often full. “We have a decent wait list on most nights,” said Bill Hayles, vice president and general manager. Hollywood Perryville has received approval to add two more poker tables this weekend.

The Horseshoe Casino plans to have 30 poker tables when it opens next year in Baltimore. Rocky Gap Casino Resort, which opened last month in western Maryland, does not offer poker. The all-slots Ocean Downs Casino, near Ocean City, has not announced a table-games plan.

 
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