Jonas Odman Predicts Online Poker Boom to Continue Post-COVID-19 Pandemic

Gambling industry veteran Jonas Odman is predicting that the current online poker boom will continue when the pandemic is over.

By: Mark Patrickson

The Swede has been involved in online poker for a long time and is possibly most well-known amongst players as the man who kicked off the anonymous tables idea. He was heavily criticised for this throughout all online poker forums but eventually his brainchild has proven to be popular.

Nowadays, Odman is a partner in a software company that deals with legally regulated poker rooms in the US. Clearly this is a guy who knows all of the small details that often go unnoticed by casuals.

Who’s Playing Right Now?

Odman talks about exactly why online poker is enjoying a renaissance right now. It’s more complex than simply people are locked down and are bored.

The first group is sports bettors who are no doubt feeling it by now. Belarussian Premier League, Russian volleyball, and Ukrainian table tennis isn’t really doing it for the majority of sports fans around the world.

There’s also still a regular influx of new players coming into the game. Don’t let anyone tell you that this isn’t true.

“...but they are also coming back to poker, and there’s definitely an influx of new players coming in. And a third group, which is the live poker players ..., because there are no live tournaments right now.”

And, of course, the live players. Live poker closed down 100% leaving players from areas where they can play no choice but to turn to the virtual felt. The question is will they continue once the lockdown ends.

The world will also be a different place once this is all over. Airline travel for one will be a different beast. Freedom of movement will not seem as easy as it once was.

“So I think the industry as a total, or the poker industry as a total will grow from this. And then in terms of live poker tournaments, I think travel will be difficult. Of course you can go to your local casino and play tournaments, but for those big events that people fly to, I think I don’t know.”

The online poker industry is also a lot wiser these days than in the past. Many lessons have been learned from wildly varying types of situations. We had the poker boom in 2003, Black Friday in 2011, when many thought the writing was on the wall, and a large reduction of player numbers over time.

The whole industry is now much more focussed on keeping recreational players happy. Odman is pleased how his advice from more than a decade ago has kept online poker looking at a healthy future.

“And also when you evaluate your marketing campaigns, which campaigns brought in the biggest number of recreational players. So keep focusing on them, because you’re right, now there will be a lot more recreational players online and we have to give them a good experience.”

The future is looking bright for now. Plenty of players and all the information points to  most of them sticking around when the pandemic is over.

Surely a lot of the sports bettor who transfered to poker will realise that our game is much more fun and entertaining than betting on a result.

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