With the world facing the Coronavirus pandemic, poker players have headed indoors. Many are playing more real money online poker or dabbling in real money online casino games until live casinos reopen for.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some recent events in the world of poker. Chip Chatter brings some industry news and poker’s recent reach into the mainstream.
US online poker pops in March
The state of online poker had been stale in the last few years. Only Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware offered legalized online poker. Then PokerStars went live in Pennsylvania in 2019; Michigan and West Virginia have also now legalized.
COVID-19 has also forced many Americans to reconsider US online poker sites. With no live poker action, players are heading online. After online poker revenue decreases in NJ and PA, March is has seen a spike. PlayPennsylvania reports that the nightly number of players has doubled in recent days.
The WSOP.com Online Super Series is also seeing huge numbers from players in New Jersey and Nevada. That includes some big-name players (see below) getting in the action. Events so far have regularly topped tournament guarantees.
“The series, which guaranteed just over $1.2 million total, has already paid out more than $1.8 million with several big events yet to come,”
Many have also been apparently testing the waters at sweepstakes poker sites like Global Poker. That site has seen major player pool increases in recent days. The site also added events over the last two weeks.
Certainly players are anxious to get back to the live tables. But the added exposure can only be good for legal US online poker.
WSOP.com brings out the big guns
As the WSOP.com Super Circuit rolls into its second week of action some names stand out among winners. The series, for players in Nevada and New Jersey, is attracting players known for their prowess on the live tournament scene.
Here’s a look at a few recent winners:
- Event 2, $25 Monster Stack – Longtime pro Matt Stout won for $43,286. Stout has $4.2 million in live tournament winnings dating back to 2006.
- Event 3, $215 Deep Turbo – Brian Altman took down this event for $32,781 while playing on his phone in Las Vegas. Altman is a regular on the WPT and leads in the tour’s Player of the Year standings.
- Event 4, $1,000 High Roller Six-Max – Fresh off another WPT final table appearance, tour regular Shanker Pillai took the win for $74,777.
- Event 6, $320 NLHE – After taking third in Event 2, WPT regular James Carroll won this event for $53,361.
“It looks like I’ll be playing more online now because the live poker scene has just kind of been put on pause,” Altman told USPoker last week. “As a poker player you’ve got to adapt.”
Other recognizable names from various circuits are sprinkled throughout the standings. That should continue as more pros move online. Here’s a look at the remainder of the Super Circuit schedule.
|Grand Finale HR
PokerStars SCOOP heading to Pennsylvania
With so much increased traffic on PokerStars, Pennsylvania players may be wondering about upcoming tournament series. Something big is indeed planned.
As noted by Online Poker Report, PokerStars plans to launch the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) soon. No dates have been finalized, but the series is expected to run during April in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The company is still awaiting regulatory approval before announcing the series. This will be the first SCOOP in the state and a $2 million guarantee is expected.
The New Jersey version is expected to come with a $1.2 million guarantee, a $200,000 increase from 2019. A complete schedule of both events will be added here once available.
Sunday Millions draws monster turnout
Speaking of PokerStars, the global PokerStars poker site held its 14th anniversary Sunday Million this week. It was quite an event and the largest event ever held on the site.
To say the $215 buy-in tournament drew a massive field might be an understatement. The event featured 93,016 total entries with 60,898 players. The total prize pool reached $18.6 million, crushing the $12.5 million guarantee.
When it was all over, “AAAArthur” came out on top. This Brazilian player took home $1.2 million for the win after qualifying in an $11 satellite.
King AAAArthur’s previous largest cash online was just $91. He’s now a Sunday millionaire.
The Gambler gone but not forgotten
Kenny Rogers’ death last week shined a bit of a light on his role in bringing poker into pop culture and the mainstream. One of his best-known songs was The Gambler, which in essence revolved around a poker tale.
The song brought back some of the Old West to poker and resonated with Americans. It reached No. 1 on the US country charts and was a crossover hit in the pop and adult contemporary genres.
After its release in 1978, Rogers won a Grammy for male country vocalist of the year for his album The Gambler. While it may have been a hit in the US, The Gambler also charted well in Canada, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
The song remains a major part of America’s poker consciousness. Rogers even sang it at the 1979 World Series of Poker. He even went on to act in a franchise of five TV movies inspired by the song.
Don Schlitz actually wrote The Gambler in 1976 at age 23. Johnny Cash recorded the song as well as the songwriter himself. But it never reached success until Rogers added his dulcet sounds.
The success of The Gambler helped launch Schlitz’s career and more hits followed. American Songwriter recently took a look at the song and noted:
“Schlitz was able to quit walking to his graveyard shift computer operator job and start driving to work as a professional songwriter.”
Rogers even revived the song for a GEICO commercial in 2014 that drew come praise from poker fans.
Poker parenting put in focus
The world of poker also received a bit of media attention this week in the Washington Post. In the “On Parenting” column, writer Julie Matlin pondered the prospect of teaching her teenage son to play.
It’s an interesting read as the author weighs the pros and cons. Poker is certainly not meant for minors when it comes to real money. But many players learned to play for pennies or even bubble gum as youngsters.
“Poker is intrinsically linked to gambling, even when you’re not playing for money,” Matlin writes. “Did I really want to encourage that? On the other hand, knowing how to play poker comes with a solid skill set – the ability to quickly calculate odds, develop a strategy and, most of all, read other people. And I’d rather be the one to teach it to him.”
Many parents have been in the same situation. But many of those same players learned the game from a parent or grandparent.
Matlin reached out to some experts at McGill University’s Center for Youth Gambling Problems and High Risk Behaviors. One researcher even noted, “… in the right circumstances, a friendly game of poker could be a valuable learning experience.”
It’s also a lot of fun.
PartyPoker plans big spring events for NJ players
As more events come online during the age of social distancing, New Jersey players are in luck.
That’s not all. The Spring Poker Open will also run online April 5-12. The series will feature tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $5 to $1,060. Some highlights include:
- $400 Main Event – $100,000 Guaranteed
- $1,060 High Roller – $75,000 Guaranteed
A full schedule has yet to be released yet, but USPoker will post it once it’s announced.