If you and your family haven’t contracted the COVID-19 virus, the next 3-6 months are going to be like being the second biggest stack on a satellite bubble. Sure, it might be fun to play some pots, splash around and mix it up but, to paraphrase an accomplished Irish poker player who would prefer to remain nameless, ‘there’s simply no need for it!’
The ICM will be so extreme that the correct thing to do is muck Aces, so do yourself (and those closest to you) a favour and don’t even look at your cards. Don’t get tempted to ‘just see a flop’. Don’t put yourself at risk. Stay safe. Take my co-host Dara O’Kearney’s advice and ‘Fold everything’.
Encourage those around you to do the same and if your government is not taking more draconian measures, implement them yourself. Wash your hands frequently. Go outside only if you have to and when you do maintain social distancing. This isn’t easy but just do what I do and imagine that it’s the break of a poker tournament and everybody is Ian Simpson and they all want to tell you a hand history. By staying healthy, you will keep others healthy.
As you’ve probably heard the next Unibet Open in Tallinn is not going ahead as originally planned. I’m sure that comes as no surprise as most poker operators have been forced to cancel their upcoming events. It is, nonetheless, hugely disappointing as our amazing events team had organised an absolutely brilliant stop but hopefully we can get back to the Estonian capital at a future time. Health and safety are all that really matter right now. The stakes are just too high.
Life might become a bit monotonous and home might start to feel like a prison so try to treat social distancing as an opportunity to do things you’ve been putting off. Spring clean the house. Watch all those great TV shows you haven’t had time to see. Write that novel. Most of all, spend quality time with your loved ones.
Try to find as many virtual alternatives for real life stuff. FaceTime your extended family while eating Sunday lunch, synchronise the watching of movies with your friends and call them up to chat about it after. Play some board games at home and some online board games with friends. Poker is particularly transferable and I predict online poker will boom in the coming months as indoor pastimes become a refuge from the mundane.
With this in mind, at Unibet Poker, we have hatched a very cool idea. On Sunday May 24th, the scheduled final day of Unibet Open Tallinn, we are having a €100,000 guaranteed €1100 buy-in Unibet Open Online. IRL is replaced by URL as Unibet Poker hosts a 2-day event, crowning a winner on Monday May 25th. Players have already welcomed the decision not to postpone or cancel the event altogether, celebrating the switch to online as it allows hundreds of players to participate regardless of any travel difficulties or lockdowns.
All players who have already qualified are eligible to play the online stop or can push their qualification to a later 2020 Unibet Open if they wish. For players who have already won a €2,000 package and wish to play, they will receive the €1,100 buy-in, €250 cash paid and an additional €650 paid in bonus points that they can use to buy online tickets.
Satellites for the Unibet Open Online are running now with numerous chances to qualify. There will be daily satellites and super-satellites allowing players to qualify for the €250 buy-in 5-SEAT guaranteed Sunday Final. For those with smaller bankrolls, there will also be a €110 buy-in MINI-MAIN EVENT taking place at the same time as the Unibet Open Online.
There is no question that the next few months will be difficult. There will no doubt be squabbling as the cabin-fever kicks in so try to be patient with one another. I, for one, will be lucky to remain unmurdered by my partner Saron. There will be hardships, tragedy and struggle. Hopefully there will also be kindness, kinship and a sense of shared experience as the world takes on an existential threat together. (After this, perhaps Climate Change won’t seem so daunting and the collective will will be there.) Hopefully, dark as it gets, we won’t lose our sense of humour as sharing a joke or some gallow’s humour may be a very important ingredient of us getting through this pandemic.
And, if I might leave you with one final hope, a simple hope… hopefully, I will win the Unibet Open Online. I reckon that 1st prize will bank me a decade’s supply of gunpowder gin and I’ve heard a rumour that its specific properties are excellent for warding off COVID-19.