Online casino activity has boomed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a write-up on Deseret News puts it, declining activity at live casinos was countered by “new revenue jackpots” for their online counterparts. Some reports have suggested that online casino revenue overall tripled during the first 10 months of 2020.
That spike in activity is due to a range of different internet casino activities, including things like sports betting and slot machine gaming. There was plenty of anecdotal evidence, however, to suggest that poker played a large role as well.
Online poker became both a social and a competitive outlet for a lot of people during prolonged lockdowns. People found it to be an easy way to connect both with friends and family over distance and with new people in multiplayer games. Many also found online poker to be somewhat soothing — something not uncommon with video games these days, as detailed in our article on ‘How You Can Use Gaming to Reduce Your Stress Levels’.
It might be the case that as COVID-19’s grip on society slowly weakens, enthusiasm for these kinds of online activity will ebb as well. For the time being though, there are few signs that online casino play or online poker are slowing down. And if you’d like to get in on the trend and enjoy some of the benefits just alluded to, we have a few words on how to go about it.
Find a Reliable Platform
Most important of all is to find a poker platform that you can trust and rely on. There are a ton of different sites and apps out there at this point, and each one is unique in one way or another. It’s tempting to simply try a few and see how they go, but before you get to that stage do a little bit of research. Filter your options based on what security and fair-play measures they take, as well as what players have to say about them in reviews. From there, you can narrow down options and ultimately find a platform you want to play on.
Learn to Recognize the Odds
If there’s one main thing that separates casual poker players from those who win more regularly, it’s an understanding of the odds in the game. Indeed, a blog post on how to calculate odds by Poker.org goes as far as to assert that you will “most assuredly” become a long-term losing player if you aren’t making decisions based on sound math. It takes a little bit of studying and experience to grasp that math, but in relatively short time you can learn how to gauge your betting decisions and assess the strength of each hand based on the odds. It doesn’t guarantee winning, but it makes it more likely — which in turn will make the game more fun.
Get Some Friends to Join You
We mentioned that many have turned to poker as a way to connect with friends. It’s one of the best things about online poker, particularly in the time of COVID-19. So our simple recommendation here is to get some friends to join you. If you know anyone who enjoys poker, is looking for a hobby, or anything similar, invite them to join the platform you’ve chosen so that you have someone to share the activity with. You’ll meet other new people playing online poker as well, but it’s always nice to have some friends along for something like this.
Watch a Few Poker Movies
You might also consider watching a few good poker movies to get in the mood! This is by no means wholly necessary, but it was a movie (Rounders) that was largely credited with kicking off the initial online poker boom. So you never know what a movie might do to get you excited to jump into an activity like this. A list on Nerdpost suggests Rounders, The Grand, All In: The Poker Movie, Molly’s Game, and Maverick as the best ones to watch, and frankly that’s as good a list as any — though we might suggest Casino Royale as well.
Take these steps and you’ll be in on the poker trend in no time. Even if you approach it casually and without putting actual money on the line, it can become a whole new hobby through which to compete and connect.