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King 576 Casino – Tom Bachkowski runs a roulette table at Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Md., on March 7. Hollywood Perryville Casino was the first Maryland casino to offer live table games, including roulette, blackjack, poker and craps tables. (Bonnie Jo Mount/Washington Post)

Aces are dealt first, followed by kings. “There are blackjacks!” said the dealer. – That’s it, – confirmed Tom Truffer.

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Thursday morning was the first day of table games anywhere in Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Maryland, and Truffer won his first game.

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The day he has circled on his calendar is a great start. “I’ve been looking forward to it since November,” said Trufer, a vendor from Severna Park who was visiting the former all-slot casino in Cecil County for the first time.

After voters approved a dramatic expansion of commercial gambling in the Free State, clamor grew for the introduction of live blackjack, craps and other table games.

The Hollywood Casino, a 75,000-square-foot property near Interstate 95 between Baltimore and Wilmington, opened for live-action betting business Wednesday afternoon — a day ahead of schedule. Maryland Live, a casino the size of an airplane terminal in the mall at Arundel Mills, will add table games on April 11.

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When Maryland voters voted to allow games like blackjack and craps in casinos, it started a major change for “Maryland Live!” in Hanover, Md. Video journalist Brad Horne takes us behind the scenes to see what it takes to keep the game going at an ever-evolving casino. (Video: The Fold/The Washington Post)

“The tables were filling up as fast as I could open them,” Anthony Ventura, Hollywood Casino’s table games manager, said Thursday.

And many people will apparently skip work to get in on the action. An entire table of blackjack players refused to be photographed on Thursday.

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Casino officials declined to say how much revenue the new games generated in the first half of the day. But the night before, all 12 tables in the gambling pit were gone – and there were no open seats anywhere. Five of the eight tables in the new poker room are also operational, Ventura said.

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Business is brisk in the morning hours, too: In addition to adding table games, the casino has added hours of operation and is now open all day, every day. The schedule change is so recent that the hours of operation sign is still posted at the entrance on Thursdays.

“It’s been non-stop since I walked in,” says Anthony Graziano, a blackjack dealer whose shift starts at 4 a.m. “We could definitely use more tables. People want to play.”

He went through and shuffled 16 new cards. One man wondered if he could sit down. “Sorry, this table is a full metal jacket,” Graziano said.

Herbert Hawkes held a $100 bill in his hand and wasted no time before opening the roulette table.

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“This is my first time here,” Hawkes said. “Usually I go to Delaware or Atlantic City.” He lives in Glen Burnie, near Baltimore. “Really close,” he said. Maybe too close. “It’s a little too easy,” he said of the trip.

Hollywood Casino is the state’s first casino, which opened in September 2010. At one point, the property housed 1,500 slot machines; But the requirements do not match. “We’re never fully booked,” says director of marketing Jennifer Miglionico. And business took off when Maryland Live opened last June, about 45 miles away.

So casinos asked the state if they could remove some slots from their gaming floors even before the gambling referendum passed.

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The conversion will eventually lead to about 140 new jobs – mostly dealers, but also additional security and servers, etc. There are still a few positions to fill. Most dealers are new to the trade; The casino bets over 75 greenhorns through the dealer school. Casino operators estimate that table gaming will create 2,000 new jobs across the state.

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Hollywood officials, whose parent company Penn National Gaming spent more than $40 million opposing the casino expansion referendum, think table games will appeal to a younger demographic as well as new players like Truffer who don’t play slots.

But after a promising start to the first session in his home state, the hospital lab equipment vendor has now lost. Hand by hand by hand.

He wasn’t sure how long he was going to play. “It all depends on how I do it,” he said. Within 90 minutes it was gone.