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Maryland Live! Casino Opens Poker Room

52-Table Room Creates A Lot Of Buzz In The Region

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On Wednesday afternoon, Maryland Live, the largest casino in the state of Maryland, opened its brand-new 52-table poker room. The move was a long time in the making, as state officials, as well as voters, had to authorize such a space. The referendum passed last fall.

According to the Baltimore Sun, hundreds of people were lined up to check out the poker room when it opened at noon local time. Some estimates put it as high as 750.

The total space is 15,000 square feet, making it one of the largest of its kind in the region.

“It has a feel that’s really elite amongst poker rooms in the U.S,” 2012 World Series of Poker main event champ Greg Merson told The Washington Post in a recent interview. “It helps that it’s brand new, so everything’s going to be state of the art. But the layout is unique. There are 26 tables on each level. The tables are long and not wide, so that allows for more room to walk around and not be cramped in.”

Even after live poker play was approved by the legislature and voters, the creation of Maryland Live’s poker room took a lot of work. “The room’s operations were carefully analyzed and reviewed,” Stephen Martino, Director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, told The Baltimore Sun. “We are confident that the poker room operations are consistent with our requirements for transparency, accountability and the promotion of fair play.”

Maryland Live, located in Hanover (about an hour drive from both Washington and Baltimore), had generated $324 million in gaming revenue for 2013 prior to the room’s opening.

The move was well-timed for the casino, as Labor Day weekend is fast approaching.

“The addition of poker only enhances the excitement that 24-hour gaming and live table games have created at Maryland Live! Casino,” the property said earlier this summer when a date was announced. In an effort to launch the room, more than 250 dealers were hired.

Maryland Live’s room was second behind Hollywood Casino Perryville’s that opened in March.

In addition to Merson, many top poker pros hail from the state. Just to name a handful: Anthony Gregg, Christian Harder, Scott Palmer, Dan Smith and Dan Cates.

As part of the gaming expansion initiative in Maryland, two more brick-and-mortar casinos are on their way. Caesars Entertainment Corp. is building in downtown Baltimore, while MGM Resorts International is competing for approval to build a gaming resort in Prince George’s County. It looks to be the favorite over Penn National Gaming.

For a look at more news from Maryland, check out its state page.