What Will Live Poker Be Like After Covid-19?

Poker Lockdown News

We are now 7 weeks into lockdown at the time of publishing and cabin fever is surely settling in. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just unveiled a road map to get the UK out of the corona virus lockdown, but it will take a long time. Whilst online poker is booming for now, questions remain over the state of live poker after. The world will be very different after corona virus. How will brick and mortar casinos adapt to what will undoubtedly be a prolonged period of social distancing measures?

Casinos After Lockdown

With many casinos generating most of their profit online, they may choose to close on terra firma. The rent and business rates for casinos must be extortionate as they often operate on a large area of land and in a desired area of town. A cost benefit analysis will need to be drawn up on the effect distancing measures will have on profit margins. Whilst it’s possible to distance to some extent, what will the roulette tables and blackjack tables look like? It’s likely that a 2-metre gap will be enforced to prevent potential transmission. This sounds great to the punter, not having someone breathing over you while rooting for black 26. It’s not a profitable model for the house though is it?

Poker Covid-19

Will Poker Rooms Operate?

There has been little word on how poker rooms will adapt after lockdown. I don’t see how one can operate a poker room where players are within breathing space of each other. It seems impossible to impose any kind of distancing when the game rests heavily on being in close proximity. Being able to observe, read and chat to your opponent is fundamental. To take this away would surely negate some of the most important parts of poker. The same can be said for other forms of gambling that rely primarily on the social aspect. What is the future of Bingo? What is the future of Horse Racing? It’s uncertain, to say the least.

Any Solutions?

The corona virus has posed the greatest threat to the world for decades. Whilst the suffering it’s causing is not really comparable to world war two and its survivors (despite the Queen’s references), it is causing long lasting and unknown problems to the world. On a positive note, it has forced the world to become innovative and find solutions. Businesses are forcing themselves to adapt and find new ways to be sustainable and survive this period. The same will be true for the gambling world. In order to retain the customers and footfall they had before, casinos will need to create a new model or change the way the games are played. Many casinos will focus more attention to online and probably resign themselves to closing their live casinos. This would be a shame as there is a demographic that only played in brick and mortar casinos. They will again, if encouraged to do so, and if they know they are protected. Casinos will need to put their thinking hats on. They certainly have the time to.

Final Thoughts

The effects of corona virus have yet not been felt. The slight ease of lockdown measures has not been met with satisfaction but with ridicule and parodies (check out Matt Lucas’ spot on Boris impression). Everyone needs to be reactive, prudent and wise. There are millions around the world that love playing live poker and will again in the future. The question of how and when is still unclear unfortunately. We will endeavour to keep you informed as information comes out over the coming days, weeks and months. Feel free to contact us in the meantime.

Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: info@texasholdemquestions.com