Can we make our live home games safer in the future? (1 Viewer)


Oct 5, 2015
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I tried to start this discussion in the existing COVID-19 thread, but it got lost in the general virus discussion, which is fine. Right now, most people agree that we should not be running live home games. At some point in the future, it will be considered safe enough to resume our home games. The virus will still be around then however. Are there changes that we can make in the way we run our games to make them less likely to transmit the virus?
I am far from an expert in any of this. Just trying to start some conversation.

In order to figure out ways to change our games in the future to lessen the risk, we need to understand what are the risky parts of hosting a game. I am going to make up some numbers for the sake of discussion. Let’s say a social activity riskiness scale goes from a 0 of complete isolation, up to 1000. Say going to a crowded nightclub is a risk of 500 right now. Maybe hosting a home poker game the we did BEFORE was 100. Let’s break down that 100. Airborn transmission risk from coughing, sneezing, etc – 20?, Direct contact including shaking hands -15. Risk from transmission from Cards – 15, chips 15, bathroom – 15, food sharing -10, transmission from other household surfaces – 10. Am I missing any major categories? Do you think I’m way off with any of these numbers? What changes can we make to bring the numbers down?

Airborn, was 20. Only thing I can see that would help is more spacing between seating and asking people to keep a distance from each other socially. Maybe that can bring it down to 15? 10?

Direct Contact was 15. Institute rule – no handshaking, hugging, touching. Brings it down to 5?

Cards was 15. Not sure how much can be done about this. Most of us have numerous decks of cards. Maybe retiring a deck for a night after 20 minutes? Requiring use of hand sanitizer every 30 minutes? Could that bring it down to 10?

Chips was 15. I had an idea on this. Chips do not get passed around. In addition to the normal chips in a game, each player has their own “bank” in front of them towards the middle of the table equal to all the chips in play. Losing chips goes into your bank. Winning chips comes out of your bank. This would probably be too big of a PITA. But this would bring the chip risk down to close to 0.

Bathroom was 15. Get rid of hand towels. Replace with paper towels dispenser. Provide Lysol. Ask people to be careful. Use extra towel to open door. I think still a lot of risk in here no matter what you do. Maybe these measures bring it down to 10?

Food sharing was 10. I think this depends greatly on what you normally provide. If you have people sharing dips or pulling hot dog buns apart with their hands, it’s much higher. Drastically reduce what is available. Provide individual snack size bags of chips, etc. This could bring this down to 2 or so.

Transmission from other household surfaces was 10. This includes doorknobs, counters, remote controls, etc. Being careful here maybe can reduce this to 5?

Together, taking these measures might cut the risk of the game in half (47). What do you guys think? If you want to ignore my crazy number stuff, that's fine, just trying to understand from smarter people than me about how to improve what we do.
Electronic poker tables


Diamond casino products (chip cleaner, table cleaner, and card cleaner) claim to repel germs. Not sure what purchasing the products looks like (can non-casino purchase?) but they may be a layer of protection in the analysis of home game safety.
It will be safe(r) to resume hosting home games once the necessity of social isolation is over. When that can be declared is anybody's guess at the moment, but even the powers-that-be in Wuhan are contemplating steps to return to normal circulation.
1. Replace cupholders with Purell Stations.
2. Use undertable USB ports for UV germ-killers.
3. Each pot is splashed with new latex gloves.
4. Sunglasses replaced by masks for sneezers.
5. Dedicated dealer used. All cards dealt face-up, so only one person touches them.
6. Bank of chips sits in alcohol bath.
7. All players temperatures checked upon arrival and every 20 minutes subsequently.
8. Pay the pot a redbird if you cough.
Maybe start offering it as an option on your custom tables? Pop-up stations at each player position that only get used on high-risk days....

Make lemonade, bro. :D

I am guessing the surface of a touch screen/keypad/whatever not that much different than the surfaces on chips.

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