Phil Galfond has been sharing ideas to bring back live poker after the COVID-19 pandemic dies down. The high stakes star tweeted a photo of a casino type poker table with perspex screening to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Could electronic tables be the future?
This table is a good start!
Obviously chips & cards won’t work, but we could use a screen with digital chips & cards.
Replace the flimsy plastic dividers with the sturdy walls of people’s homes.
Use the internet.
Then legalize & regulate safe online poker across the USA. pic.twitter.com/pCGBZPH8hr
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) May 3, 2020
He then went on to suggest that the perfect solution for safe poker is, of course, online poker.
Can Electronic Tables Bring Poker Back?
Electronic tables in live poker are nothing new. The Excalibur Casino in Las Vegas even tried them for one year back in 2008-9. Ultimately, the idea didn’t catch on and normal tables with dealers returned.
The Vice President of the casino said,
“While our experience was successful, we ultimately found that live poker games more accurately reflect the interactive poker experience customers have come to expect when they make their way to the excitement of the Las Vegas Strip.”
This is an obvious statement but hinges on the fact of what is preferred over what solutions are available.
The world has changed a lot over the last two months and with live poker currently dead in the water poker aficionados will take whatever they can get.
Reduced Hygiene Risks with Electronic tables
We live in a world where people are aware of hygiene risks but never in history have we been so focussed as now. The coronavirus is thought to be able to live on plastic and metal surfaces for up to 72 hours and around one day on cardboard.
This fact alone makes eradicating the virus a more than tricky task. So tricky that we are almost certainly going to be living alongside it for years to come.
Chips are known to harbour countless bacteria and sometimes viruses so even cleaning these regularly isn’t enough to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
What we can do at least is to prevent players from sitting so close to each other by using large tables with electronics to control the game.
As in the tweet above, perspex screens are an effective method to stop players from coughing and sneezing into each other. Factor in electronic betting and the risk of transmitting an infection to somebody else is greatly reduced.
The Drive to Legalise Online Poker
We previously reported about Daniel Negreanu’s drive to get online poker legalised in the USA when the situation became worse. It seemed such an outlandish request that not many will have taken it seriously.
Now though, we might be in a situation where even the US government might take pity and be prepared to give concessions.
Las Vegas casinos pay an incredible amount of tax each year. In an attempt to get the industry moving again they might also be ready to allow online poker to take place inside their card rooms. Both government and casino magnates win.
This will almost certainly stir up the legalisation movement to begin pushing even harder to get the online game back in all states.
In Phil Galfond’s tweet there was some concern about what happens to the dealers. This might be an unavoidable tragedy. We might be facing the prospect of no live poker, or poker with online stations or fully electronic tables.
If electronic tables become the “new normal” then surely the poker community must pull together to force the casinos to reemploy proper dealers when the world is safe from COVID-19.
Poker in Las Vegas certainly won’t be the same without them, although maybe there will be a few who are happy to do without all the tipping.
Check out the latest poker news to keep up with what’s been happening in the poker world.
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