3 Worthwhile Gaming Alternatives to Returning to Live Poker

By James Guill
May 27, 2020

Casinos are beginning to reopen or are announcing plans to reopen, depending on your area of the world. Some will offer live poker while others are still refraining from opening their poker rooms. Some of you are already playing live poker again, while others are eagerly awaiting the reopening of your local poker room.

Then there are the rest of you, who are taking a more measured approach. The opening of poker rooms doesn’t mean the coronavirus pandemic is over. Some of you are forced to refrain from live poker due to health concerns. Others may not feel that live poker is +EV at the moment.

For those avoiding live poker, you can view this period of time as an opportunity to try something different or to improve your poker game. In this article we will look at three alternatives to returning to live poker.

Caesars AC poker room

Caesars Atlantic City poker room

Learn Optimal Strategy for Casino Games

When you play casino games, whether it be blackjack, craps, or video poker, do you play using optimal strategy? Some of you probably have your “system” that you use, but are you using proper strategy? Most casino games have what’s known as an optimal strategy that you can use to reduce, and in some rare cases eliminate, the house edge on a game.

Some of you may already use basic strategy for games like blackjack, and while that helps reduce the house edge, a perfect strategy will reduce the edge further. Video poker is another game where picking the right pay table and playing optimal strategy can reduce and sometimes can eliminate house edge.

If you’re not playing an optimal strategy for your game, do a little research and start learning one. You can also get training software that will help you improve your strategy through practice. For example, a video poker trainer will point out and help you correct errors in your play.

Give Sports Betting a Try

While many sports are on hiatus, some are still playing with other leagues making plans to launch soon. For those who don’t already bet on sports, this may be an excellent time to get started. Fewer options will allow you to focus on one or two sports to get your feet wet.


In the UK, you can still bet on football (that’s soccer for you Americans reading this), or you can try something more exotic like Korean baseball or the UFC. If you’re looking to compare UK betting sites, is a good option.

If you’re thinking about dabbling in sports betting, pick one sport and focus on learning that sport. If your favorite sport is still shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, give it time. Sports leagues are working toward relaunching, and you’ll have more options to bet on sports shortly.

Learn a New Variant of Poker Online

If you’ve wanted to learn something other than Texas Hold’em, now is a great time to do so. First, traffic at online poker rooms is booming. Also, online poker is often the only place you can learn certain poker variants such as Badugi or Razz.

My personal recommendation is to learn any of the games in HORSE outside of Texas Hold’em. For aspiring mixed game players, start with Stud variants as they are backbones of all mixed games. Focus on one game at a time and become competent in the game before moving on.

Mixed Games

If you don’t play at PokerStars or a site with a wide selection of poker variants, that’s OK. Most poker sites offer Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Seven Card Stud. You can still learn a new poker game and make yourself more of a well-rounded player.

Here’s a pro tip. Hold’em is becoming a solved game, with the average skill level inching ever higher. So if you want better odds of winning at poker in general, you ought to learn something other than Hold’em.

Come Back to Live Poker When YOU Are Comfortable

If you’re not ready to come back to live poker, that’s your business. Don’t let other people convince you otherwise. If you are not comfortable coming back, or coming back poses too much of a risk to your health or your loved ones, don’t do it.

Once live poker reopens in your area, you can return whenever you like. Whether that is a month from now or next year, it doesn’t matter. There are plenty of things you can do without putting yourself at higher risk. Make the decision that’s +EV for your life and ignore what others say, consequences be damned.



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James Guill poker author
Written By.

James Guill

James Guill started his poker career playing semi-professionally from 2006 to 2008. In 2008, a colleague suggested he try his hand at poker writing and the rest was history. Since 2008, James has written for numerous publications including PokerNews, PokerUpdate, Ivey Poker, PokerJunkie, PokerListings and PokerNews Australia. James also spent several years providing content for […]


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