COVID-19 might well be making us stir crazy after well over 300 days essentially housebound, and people have reacted in different ways, but the last few weeks has seen arrests in the UK as people crave live poker.

There have been a couple of incidents in which a passion for poker caused a few dozen people to fall foul of the law, thanks to the lengths – and, more importantly, the risks to themselves and others – they were prepared to go to in order to enjoy the social side of the game.

Of course, here at YourPokerDream we champion the cause of UK poker fans, but we recommend playing in the comfort and safety of your own home at one of our player-friendly partner sites such as GGPoker (see below).

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600$ Bonus/6.000$ YPD Freerolls

Not only will you get a great deal with a bunch of exclusive extras by joining via YPD, but you can remain safe, not put other people at risk and, of course, you’re guaranteed not to be arrested! Or fined…

This is exactly what happened last month to a group of poker players who attended a late night party in Birmingham. When police went to investigate flats after receiving calls about ‘shouting’ and ‘disorder’ at 3am, they found an illegal gathering of 17 men playing poker, and each was fined £100 for breaking UK COVID laws.

This might seem like an expensive hit to the bankroll, but a week later the UK government increased the penalty, so these lawbreakers might actually consider themselves lucky.

Sure enough, another group of poker players was caught breaching COVID-19 regulations last week, this time in Hackney, a suburb of London. Bizarrely, when special COVID-19 enforcement police arrived at the basement of the host’s flat and found 25 men seated at a number of poker tables – as well as playing at gambling machines(!) – the players claimed that, rather than holding a poker night, they were gathered there for a wake…Each now faces a fine not for £100, but a possible £800!

Meanwhile, with so many players in the UK getting withdrawal symptoms from not having experienced live poker for such a long time, the question is when can we expect casinos and poker rooms to open their doors once again – and not just to put on an occasional cash game, but to host tournaments and (dare I say it) poker tour/festival events?

This is a fundamental, simple question but, unfortunately, won’t – at least in the near future – elicit a simple answer. Any tentative plans that Casinos and Poker Rooms in the UK (indeed anywhere) might be trying to formulate are rendered futile in the current climate of multiple lockdowns. This is particularly crucial right now, with the government understandably wanting to combine the latest lockdown with continued progression of a vaccination programme that is not only proving to be very effective but is even ahead of schedule.

For the moment, any form of live poker – never mind tours and festivals – in the UK has been put on hold, along with just about everything else. While it wouldn’t be a shock to see the situation changing for the better at some point in 2021, nor would it be were we to have to wait until next year. Given the considerable planning involved, operators would probably not want to risk going to so much trouble only for another COVID-related issue to force postponements or even cancellations.

All the more reason, then, to make the most of online poker rooms! Last year saw a mini boom, with new, old and live poker fans in the UK joining the fun in droves. As a result, there’s a smorgasbord of poker and player-friendly promotions to benefit from.

Click here to see our partner sites that cater for UK players: The best UK Online Poker Sites 2022

Have fun!

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AngusD switched from pro chess to poker two decades ago and has been professionally involved in the game on numerous levels since the very beginning of online poker, including playing as a poker ambassador both online and at major festivals around the globe. He has written much about the game over the years, and brings to YPD a wealth of experience in all aspects of the poker industry. Meanwhile, his many years on the pro chess circuit (he’s an International Master and prolific author) afford him an interesting perspective on the psychology of poker.

· Published 11.02.2021 · last updated 25.07.2022

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