Let’s start with how you got into online poker…
When I was around the age of 16, my friends and I found ourselves getting mixed up in the wrong kind of hobbies. We decided we should transition to underage gambling instead. It seemed like a mature decision at the time. Initially it was just for fun but, as the intrigue grew, I realised that to improve quickly I would need to move to online poker, where hands are dealt and played much faster.
At what point did it become your full-time job?
I had a pretty good job between the ages of 20 and 23, which earned me a comfortable living. Poker was netting me around the same amount on the side just as a hobby, so I decided to give it a shot full time.
How has online poker changed since its early days?
Most governments got very greedy and wanted a bigger piece of the pie. When I first started playing, I would play against people from all around the world. Now the Italian, French, Spanish, American and many more governments won't let their players play against the ‘rest of the world’ because they want a higher percentage of the rake. You mainly play against people in your home country now.
And how does online poker now differ from live poker?
You can play from anywhere in the world. You can also play multiple tables at once. Plus you get a five-minute break every 60 minutes, rather than a 15-minute break every two hours, so it’s much more accessible.
Why do you think it’s so popular right now?
A lot of people love to gamble, whether that’s betting on sports teams, going to bingo night, visiting a casino or simply playing the lottery. Most of these have been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic, but people’s appetite for gambling and excitement remains. Websites that normally make money from sports have switched their attention and marketing to online poker, meaning players from other game types have started to get involved. Online poker is fun and thrilling, plus a good distraction. You feel like you’re part of something, a community, while still abiding by lockdown rules.