COVID-19 leads to spike in online poker

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) With the doors locked on all of Nevada casinos, playing in live poker games is currently not possible, something that is far from ideal when you make you living as a professional poker player.

“It really hit home when I stopped going to live tournaments a month ago,” said Las Vegas poker pro and vlogger Jeff Boski.

But the closing of the casinos, has had one side effect that many players welcome.

“There has been an online poker boom of sorts,” he said. “The field numbers in cash games and tournaments have almost doubled.”

Online poker was shut down in America in April of 2011, and is now a state by state operation. One of the few legal sites is wsop.com, which has been approved to operate in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. According to a report in the Las Vegas Review Journal, traffic on the site has recently been up 46%.

“People at home want something to do,” Boski stated. “Online poker is an easy way to stay home and gamble.”

For professional poker player Marle Cordeiro, playing in live poker games is a big part of how she makes her living, and now that has been taken away.

“We have to accept that is could be months and months before we get back,” she said. “But even then the casinos are probably some of the dirtiest places so I don’t know if I will be rushing to go back right away.”

The World Series of Poker typically runs every year from May through July in Las Vegas, bringing in thousands of tourists. With cancellation or postponement seeming more and more likely, some players hope more of that will be moved online as well.

“I think it’s great to see,” said Cordeiro “I hope the WSOP moves to an online series, which would be amazing. It might further stimulate the online scene.”

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