How Coronavirus changed the perception of Poker


For many, the global Coronavirus lockdown has meant a huge change to work, health and life in general. The restrictions of places of work, general public freedom and even familial contact has been a huge change to the routines of millions.

Poker players, however, have always had what might be loosely termed an alternative lifestyle.

Poker players rise at the weirdest times, work long unsociable hours from home and yet only really rely on a strong WiFi signal to be able to make money.

Ideal conditions for a life in lockdown? It’s hard to disagree with that when you see players like Ryan Depaulo committed to the game wherever he can find signal, even if it a Whole Foods parking lot.

Playing poker from home requires a ‘lockdown’ mentality in that you can’t leave the computer for more than five minutes every hour, need a relentless focus and drive and have to be comfortable working under pressure. That doesn’t just sound like something that can stand up to the demands of pre-lockdown office employment, but potentially look down on it.

Playing poker from home, working from home in any way, is something for which global perception has changed. Many large companies have realized during the COVID-19 lockdown that paying out a vast proportion of their profits towards an office floor has drained money from their profit column. During the lockdown, they’ve seen that the same employees can cope from home, can still work to the best of their abilities because their jobs depend on it.

In a City-based office, there’s always a coffee run, a cake morning, a birthday card to sign or a meeting to be held for little reason other than to gather in all the gossip. Working from home, delivering to a timetable and organizing a schedule is something that poker players do all year round.

The perception of poker before the pandemic might have been very different for parents, too. If your son or daughter left university and told you that their money-making hobby of playing poker is something that they want to develop into a career before lockdown, you might have been worried. Post-lock down, however, with no immediate sign of a vaccine bringing a restricted lifestyle to an end, the idea has some merit now.

Developing as a professional poker player has, in many ways, never been harder. The opponents are tough, there are professionals who have already made a great start to their poker careers and there are obstacles to overturn as you fight to turn a regular profit. But in other ways, it’s never been easier to start. There are vast amounts of information at your fingertips to call upon, with podcasts, training videos, coaches and incentives to use in your bid to be the best.

With huge online series put on during the summer and beyond by companies such as PokerStars, GGPoker and the WSOP as well as partypoker and 888poker, playing poker during the lockdown could lead to a better enjoyment of the game in a world after Coronavirus.

It’s easy to leave your ambitions in poker to ‘after this is all over’, but in reality, it’s always better to make a start whenever you can and there might never have been a better time to get playing poker on a more regular basis.

As John Lennon once sang, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’.

Perhaps he could have started that famous line with the word ‘poker’ after all.