Weekly Poker Update: August 24, 2020

August 24, 2020 Text On a Black Poker Chip With a Cyberspace Background

Online Onslaught

If you’re a poker aficionado, chances are, you’re going to find a way to get your action. Even in the most troubling times, the urge to play the game that serves as the ultimate combination of skill, luck, and cunning never dwindles. And the most recent numbers out of the online gaming world certainly seem to bear that out.

In the second quarter of 2020, online gaming revenue in the United States came in at over $400 million, more than triple the level where it was at the same time last year. It was a record-breaking haul for a single three-month period. And it even outranked the earnings from online sports betting in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The obvious driver for the boom in online gaming at top gambling sites are all of the people who are staying at home. These online casino games include poker, blackjack, poker, slots, and so on. Without their usual outlets and with more concerns for safety, players who might have resisted the online sphere before likely took the dive when casino closures began. Meanwhile, those who were already comfortable in the online realm probably moved all their action permanently.

El Royale Online Casino Blackjack

Nonetheless, those figures are quite staggering and could be an eye-opener for states across the country. Remember that, at present, only five states allow online casino gambling without any specific restrictions. Nevada allows online poker and nothing else, but that still provides a big revenue boost to the overall total.

In other words, those huge numbers are driven by a very tiny percentage of the country. The fact that a five-state haul could outdo online sports gambling, which is legal in 22 states, is somewhat stunning. Remember that the comparison is to online sports gambling in the fourth quarter of 2019, when there were no viral threats and football season was in full swing.

Anytime numbers like these emerge, you have to look at the full context. First of all, online gaming still falls short of the haul pulled in by actual casinos. And the effect of these crazy times sure has a lot to do with it.

If you look no further than the success that the World Series of Poker has had shifting into the online sphere, you’ll know that a sea of change is certainly possible. As far as online poker goes, many are finding that the concerns they might have had about the online gambling experience might have been exaggerated.

In addition, state legislators who may have been dragging their heels when it comes to online gambling are probably seeing these numbers and thinking twice. At a time where budget cuts are rampant, the opportunity to pump money back into the economy should be greatly prized.

If nothing else, the numbers also lend a kind of legitimacy to the best online gambling sites that offer poker and other games. The old-fashioned, shady, back-room operations need to fall by the wayside at this point. And online poker players should feel solid that they are part of a booming business.

Big Pot Bonanza

How much money do you play for in your home poker game? At what point do you start to worry about the size of a pot? Most of us would likely start to tremble once things get even a little beyond our comfort zone.

But professional poker players have always proven to be a different breed. They have the ability to shake off the nerves and focus on the positive. Instead of thinking about the consequences of their losses, they focus on the rewards of their wins.

All of that is a prelude to say that the biggest pot in the history of online no-limit Hold’em took place this past week. It came on GG Poker and came up just shy of the million-dollar mark. And ironically enough, it came just a week after the previous high pot in a single hand was set, also at GG Poker.

GGPoker Online Poker Game Screenshot

The battle was between Tan Xuan and Ali Imsirovic. At the start of the hand, Imsirovic already seemed to be sitting pretty with a suited ace-king against his foe’s suited seven-nine. On the flop, both players got another suited card to match the two that they had, but Xuan also paired up his nine to take the lead.

When the flop brought another spade to match the three Imsirovic had in tow, he confidently called Xuan’s raise of over $100,000. On the river, Imsirovic got the spade he needed for his flush and knew that he was in control, with the ace of spades already sitting as one of his hole cards.

Xuan still confidently went all-in, despite the fact that there were three spades on the board as a warning sign. Whether Imsirovic worried that Xuan was somehow hiding a full house or four of a kind is hard to say. All we know is that he called the bet and found out that he was the winner.

The final pot was $974,361. That topped the previous record of $842,438. It just goes to show that the real money online poker world is capable of attracting the high rollers who don’t blanche in the face of huge sums of money being on the line.

Cancellations

If there was a theme to this week’s article, it’s that online poker is doing just fine. The flipside of that, of course, is that many live tournaments have had to postpone their action. This past week, a few more live tournaments fell by the wayside.

Event organizers in Malta and the Netherlands were holding out hope that events they had scheduled in November might be able to go forward if things improved. However, both the Malta Poker Festival and the Master Classics of Poker were forced to throw in the towel this past week.

While postponements and cancellations are unsurprising, they are still tough on the establishments holding them. Let’s hope that a full return to tournament action isn’t too far off in the future.