The live poker tournament circuit across the world was crippled in 2020 due to COVID-19 and the global lockdown that followed. Since most of the top poker rooms are located inside casinos, they were forced to shut down alongside the casino industry.
The closure of live poker rooms impacted thousands of professional poker players around the world who depend on the live poker circuit to make a living. While the world is looking forward to closing the door on 2020 and welcoming 2021, things are not looking up for live poker players.
There were a number of casinos in the UK, Italy, Germany and the United States that recently came out of the lockdown and opened their doors to the public. The poker rooms took a number of precautions including install plexi-glass dividers, making masks mandatory and implementing distancing requirements.
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However, a second COVID-19 breakdown caused multiple countries including the United States to call for another shutdown. Casino operators once again have locked their poker rooms and there is no telling if and when they will open up in 2020.
Live poker players were initially excited to see these poker rooms open up but their excitement was short lived. When poker rooms open in 2021, expect a similar environment of masks, limited seating, plexi-glass dividers and social distancing. It’s certainly not a comfortable environment to enjoy a game of poker but don’t expect anything more during the first half of 2021.
Will The Vaccine Help Live Poker?
A lot of casinos and land based poker rooms are keeping their fingers crossed hoping that the COVID-19 vaccine will end their troubles. A number of countries including the UK and US have already started experimenting with a COVID-19 vaccine. However, the results have been sketchy and hence there is no mass rollout as of now.
Australia was on the verge of releasing a COVID-19 vaccine but it hit a snag and things have slowed down. A COVID-19 vaccine will definitely push towards making live poker normal again but there is no telling when an effective vaccine will be released and how long it will take for a mass rollout in places like the U.S and UK.
Live poker players are not going to be rushing to play at poker rooms without the vaccine. What we can say is that the first half of 2021 will not bode well for live poker rooms.