After a long hiatus, live poker is set to make a comeback at Hollywood Casino in Grantville, as announced by casino executives. Tony Frabbiele, the vice president and general manager of operations at Hollywood Casino’s Pennsylvania venues, confirmed on January 24 that live poker will officially return to the casino in the first or early second quarter of 2024. Frabbiele expressed his excitement about bringing back poker, acknowledging the high level of demand for the game among patrons.
The decision to reinstate live poker comes after the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course had kept its poker room closed following the COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020, much to the disappointment of many players. Frabbiele revealed that an unspecified number of poker tables will be placed near the sportsbook entrance, where the restaurant and bar are located. Currently, the designated poker space is equipped with electronic table games (ETGs). However, the plan is still in its early stages and requires PENN Entertainment to file a request with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to officially add live poker to its existing offerings.
When live Texas Hold’em poker returns, it will be available to players from Friday to Sunday with specific business hours yet to be determined. Frabbiele mentioned the need to gauge demand to adjust operating hours accordingly. The casino is preparing to increase its workforce to accommodate live poker, with dealers currently undergoing training and being hired. Placing live poker next to the bookmaker is expected to generate excitement at the property, combining the energy of poker and the sportsbook along with horse racing wagering terminals and food and beverage offerings.
While Hollywood Casino York will not be adding live poker due to limited space, live poker will be launched in the Hollywood Casino Morgantown area this spring. As for the old poker room in Grantville, it will remain closed for the time being, but plans are being considered for its future use. Additionally, the shuttered restaurant on the 3rd floor is being redecorated and will be transformed into a Taylor Swift-themed pop-up bar for Valentine’s Day, as stated by Frabbiele. The transition process for the restaurant and sportsbook to become an ESPN Bet-branded property is also underway, and Frabbiele mentioned that they are still working on the next phase of that plan.