With so many people confined to their homes, what can they do to keep from going stir crazy? For some, playing online poker beats both boredoms and holds a chance at turning a profit.
International online poker card room, 888.com, a network owned by 888 Holdings, has seen an astounding 60% jump in visitors since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most of the economy in the U.S. and across the globe.
“As we look at the numbers for April 2020 compared to April 2019 and also January 2020, we see a 60% uptick in active daily poker players on our U.S. platform. This includes our Interstate Poker Network, which is the first-ever multi-state regulated poker network,” said Yaniv Sherman, a sports betting and gambling expert and Head of Commercial Development at 888 Holdings. “We’re seeing a similar trend on our global poker network. It’s a recreational online destination that people enjoy while sheltered in place.”
The history of online poker
Fifteen years ago, online poker was a huge industry in the United States until it was made illegal. This was back in the day when World Series of Poker champ Chris Moneymaker was almost a household name, and the annual WSOP drew enormous ratings on ESPN.
Sadly, the popularity of online poker took a dive when it was no longer legal in all 50 states. Currently, only New Jersey allows all forms of online gambling, everything from roulette to poker to sports gambling.
Times are changing for online poker
Currently, Washington is the only state that specifically outlaws online poker.
The 888.com poker website is performing best in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, the three states that have legalized and regulated it. While many potential players are still leery of the corruption scandals of ten years ago, today’s online poker rooms are safe and secure. In fact, 888 maintains the highest internet security standards, implementing them into every corner of the website. They use the top security protocols and programs in the industry, ensuring the safety and integrity of the user’s personal data.
A growing network of online poker players
“This is the first time in a long time that we have a growing poker network. We see that there is an enthusiastic demand for online poker in the U.S. as long as the environment is secured,” Sherman said. “The COVID-19 lockdown has caused people to rediscover poker.”
One more thing players like about 888 are that they separate players into groups based on skill level, using an algorithm that also factors in how many times a player has logged onto the site.
This can help separate novice players from more experienced players, also known as “sharks.” Back in the old days, “sharks” took unfair advantage of inexperienced players. Now, online poker rooms have safeguards against that sort of behavior.
“If people can opt-in for the online poker experience, they’ll do it if they have a good, safe online experience,” Sherman pointed out. “People have more time on their hands right now, and are looking for fun things to do.”
“It’s ironic, but online poker is currently more taboo than sports betting. At the same time, gambling is now entertainment, and it’s easier to pass legislation allowing it,” Sherman said.
“We’re looking to get that message across and let more people play for real money. We know how to keep the novice players away from the sharks. This is not the Wild, Wild West environment that dominated in the early 2000s.”
In New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware the numbers show that strategy is working. Moreover, a 60% jump in play is something a lot of businesses would like to see in the current, COVID-19 economy.