What’s it gonna take? Live Home Game?

Trihonda

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I know it’s the burning question... when can we all get back to playing live poker...

but when will that be, and what will that look like (to start)? I know it’s coming, and probably not far off IMHO. Would I feel comfortable in hosting a live game tonight? Nope, too soon imho. But as states relax restrictions, and things settle down, if things continue to progress as they have been, I could see some form of home games happening in the near future (coming weeks). Of course, things could certainly change.

but let’s say states and communities start dropping the stay at home orders in a few weeks, more info comes out about masks, level of contagiousness, etc. what steps are we gonna take to host a live game?

here are a few of my thoughts.

1- A strict limitation on number of players (not sure what that is, but no multitable tourneys to start).
2- Strict encouragement of masks and proper hand washing. For instance, everyone much be ok with reminders to hand sanitize if they are seen inadvertently touching their face, coughing into their hands, etc. “I get it, I probably touch my face without realizing, so point it out if I do it”.
3- I might implement some form of temperature taking at the start of the game, for everyone’s peace of mind.
4- possibly ask folks to seriously sanitize their buyin money. can be accomplished by laying out bills on a windowsill in sunlight for 15-20 minutes per side. I might do the same for the cards before the game... but it’s not feasible for the chips. Cross contamination with cards and chips is a thing, but if we can limit the amount the chips are exposed to contagion, we are better off.


this isn’t meant to delve into the debate (or politics) of when We will or should open up. It will happen at some point. your date might be sooner or later, depending on the ever evolving situation. Just curious what your First few games will look like, and what steps you think we can implement to keep the game safe and fun?
 

Jake14mw

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I will definitely start by only using my biggest table, and only allow a maximum of maybe 7. I will change out cards often, and maybe chips. No shared food. Must use hand sanitizer. Masks are the tough thing. I'm not sure if I want a game with masks, but they may be the biggest safety measure that we can use.
 

upNdown

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I think the steps you've suggested all make sense (except the temperature thing - I'm not sure that's accomplishing much) but the more I think about it, the more I'm pretty sure I'm not playing live poker again until we have a vaccine.
If you think about it, are there many more dangerous situations than sitting in an enclosed room, closely around a table, handing stuff back and forth all night?
I think for me, i can wait a year if necessary. It stinks. And maybe in 6 months we'll know more, or I'll have lost patience.
 

Chris Manzoni

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Passing around cards and chips makes the whole plexiglass and mask thing moot. Won't be doing that at my game. Won't have a problem if players want to wear masks so they feel better, but not wearing one myself. Not waiting for a vaccine either, a vaccine that is likely to be less than 30% effective anyways. Certainly will be washing my hands as I always do and having hand sanitizer readily available, as I always have at my games.
 

Goldfish

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My group has been playing live for a month. Although I have yet to play. So far nobody has gotten sick (knock on wood). They wear masks, sanitize every 20 mins or so. The chips are sanitized before the game starts. For me personally, online poker is fine for now. I don’t think I will host any time soon but may start playing live in the next week or so.
 

DrStrange

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I am indifferent to the status of my state's decision to open up or not. They do not have my best interests at heart, but at least the leadership of Texas is willing to be blunt. Somehow I do not find myself willing to die to further the economic growth of the state.

Texas has no "progress" to brag about. Our outbreak is growing. It isn't going to be safer in June than it was in April. I can do my own math. It appears significantly more risky to play poker now than it did in March when I cancelled the games I host.

My player pool skews older. Most of us are 60+. More than a few are 75+ There is a lot of extended family to consider as well. Our collective risk is a lot higher than a game with players in their 20s and 30s living alone.

That being said, we are getting desperate. I could see us making a bad decision. My wife found her need for cosmetic services overcame her fear of Covid19. Could be poker would work that way too.

I suspect we could obtain a major mitigation of the risks if everyone wore good masks. Just two rules likely would accomplish a lot. 1) wear the mask! 2) don't come if you or your household is sick / exposed. I think a good host might have a supply of masks available for someone who forgot theirs.

Sure, we could do more things. But I think keeping it simple might be best. The two rules I proposed could easily be 90%+ of the total benefit available.

I think it highly likely we will resume playing before it is prudent. Prudent might be waiting till 2021 or 2022.

Two years wait to play poker or risk death? That might not be such an obvious decision -=- DrStrange
 

LotsOfChips

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I know it’s the burning question... when can we all get back to playing live poker...

but when will that be, and what will that look like (to start)? I know it’s coming, and probably not far off IMHO. Would I feel comfortable in hosting a live game tonight? Nope, too soon imho. But as states relax restrictions, and things settle down, if things continue to progress as they have been, I could see some form of home games happening in the near future (coming weeks). Of course, things could certainly change.

but let’s say states and communities start dropping the stay at home orders in a few weeks, more info comes out about masks, level of contagiousness, etc. what steps are we gonna take to host a live game?

here are a few of my thoughts.

1- A strict limitation on number of players (not sure what that is, but no multitable tourneys to start).
2- Strict encouragement of masks and proper hand washing. For instance, everyone much be ok with reminders to hand sanitize if they are seen inadvertently touching their face, coughing into their hands, etc. “I get it, I probably touch my face without realizing, so point it out if I do it”.
3- I might implement some form of temperature taking at the start of the game, for everyone’s peace of mind.
4- possibly ask folks to seriously sanitize their buyin money. can be accomplished by laying out bills on a windowsill in sunlight for 15-20 minutes per side. I might do the same for the cards before the game... but it’s not feasible for the chips. Cross contamination with cards and chips is a thing, but if we can limit the amount the chips are exposed to contagion, we are better off.


this isn’t meant to delve into the debate (or politics) of when We will or should open up. It will happen at some point. your date might be sooner or later, depending on the ever evolving situation. Just curious what your First few games will look like, and what steps you think we can implement to keep the game safe and fun?
A few thoughts:
  • For the money issue, most people seem to have gotten used to e-transfers (Interac in Canada, Venmo/Paypal in US), so maybe you don't need to bring cash, just your smart phone.
  • Hand washing - mandatory. Everyone washes with soap and water upon arrival, and then possibly uses hand sanitizer at regular intervals
  • Masks - a good idea. It will reduce the need to re-wash or sanitize hands if nobody is touching their mouths or breathing onto their hands/chips/cards. Probably tough to enforce proper use (how many people have you seen wearing masks over their mouths with their nose exposed? I've seen lots!)
  • Number of players - another good idea. Keeping distance between faces is helpful. Or maybe move the game outside, as lack of ventilation is also a factor in transmission.
  • Temperature - probably a waste of time, but if it makes everybody feel better, sure. Asymptomatic transmission is reportedly a major factor (>35%), so it may give a "false sense of security". Just don't rely on it for any protection.
  • Coughing into their hands - WTF? If they are coughing, they shouldn't be in your house (or anywhere else other than in their own place). And if they haven't learned to cough into the inside of their shirt or their upper arm, then they are probably beyond hope for any other self-control in spreading the virus. First sign of that I'm ending the game and disinfecting the entire area.
Personally I'm waiting another month or two to see how bad things get after the re-opening. But my spouse has underlying medical conditions, so I'm not risking bringing the virus into my house. Your situation may allow you a higher risk tolerance.
 

TheWhat

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Think we are going to play next week. 6 person only (2 of us from same household).

We'll provide hand sanitizer. Masks will be a personal choice. No tolerance for sneezing, coughing. The group we play with has distanced well, our "shutdown" started March 13th. The overall situation where we are located is in a good spot. Caseload clip below is for our entire province.

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upNdown

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I'm surprised that some people think masks could be optional, but are sanitizing the crap out of everything. I'm pretty sure that science has shown that the only way somebody is spreading the virus is through their mouth or nose, right? (Or semen apparently, but that's another story.)
I don't mean to start a debate, and I hate the idea of playing in masks, but if everybody was wearing good masks, everybody is perfectly safe (assuming perfectly effective masks) right?
 

JeepologyOffroad

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I'm surprised that some people think masks could be optional, but are sanitizing the crap out of everything. I'm pretty sure that science has shown that the only way somebody is spreading the virus is through their mouth or nose, right? (Or semen apparently, but that's another story.)
I don't mean to start a debate, and I hate the idea of playing in masks, but if everybody was wearing good masks, everybody is perfectly safe (assuming perfectly effective masks) right?
Damnit. Rules out my game
 

Josh Kifer

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I'm surprised that some people think masks could be optional, but are sanitizing the crap out of everything. I'm pretty sure that science has shown that the only way somebody is spreading the virus is through their mouth or nose, right? (Or semen apparently, but that's another story.)
I don't mean to start a debate, and I hate the idea of playing in masks, but if everybody was wearing good masks, everybody is perfectly safe (assuming perfectly effective masks) right?
I'm kinda more your thinking. Everyone wash up, masks are mandatory, we do some extra outside breaks so people can get a few min off. Wash up.

We are considering next week doing our first game back... Select Rsvp list. 8 players. All been staying low and respecting the pandemic. None working in a risky field invited. We shall see if it works out...
 

LotsOfChips

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I'm surprised that some people think masks could be optional, but are sanitizing the crap out of everything. I'm pretty sure that science has shown that the only way somebody is spreading the virus is through their mouth or nose, right? (Or semen apparently, but that's another story.)
I don't mean to start a debate, and I hate the idea of playing in masks, but if everybody was wearing good masks, everybody is perfectly safe (assuming perfectly effective masks) right?
Right if everybody washes their hands well after donning the masks and then doesn't touch any common surfaces (doorknobs, toilet handle, bottle of hand sanitizer, etc.) or anything else that may already have the virus on it (their face, their jacket that they coughed into, etc.). Otherwise, not so much...

Masks are one tool in the inventory, and really only useful when space cannot be maintained (and it protects others, not the wearer). Cleaning of hands, surfaces, etc. is another tool. Staying at home when you may have been exposed or have symptoms is another tool. Keeping your distance from everybody else is yet another tool. The more tools you apply to a problem, the higher the chance of success (IMO).

And the assumption of perfectly effective masks is highly doubtful, and subject to a lot of conditions. Even medical grade N95 masks are only 95% effective when properly fitted, and most wearers do not achieve a good fit unless trained to do so. Recent testing of supposed KN95 masks from China (the kind you are likely to be able to purchase) by the Canadian government showed less than 20% effectiveness.
 

FordPickup92

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Also attending live a live game next weekend. Likely going to be doing lots of sanitizing, the mask requirement is up to the host, havent gotten word on that yet
 

JMC9389

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It all depends on where you are.

Here in New Jersey, overall new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations have declined steadily since the beginning of the month. Keeping a close eye on community spread is going to be key in determining whether its advisable or not to get a group together or not. The state governor in NJ increased the threshold of gatherings to 25 outside and 10 inside just yesterday. I've entertained the thought of a Sunday day game on a nice Sunday on the deck where air circulation is much better than my unfinished basement.

It comes down to this for me for the time being:

-Only come to play if you're comfortable doing so and if you and all close contacts (family, coworkers) have not been showing symptoms in the past two weeks

-Masks are going to be compulsory. The only acceptable time to lower your mask is to take a sip of your drink. Otherwise it stays on. Talking is strongly discouraged without the mask covering your mouth. The most likely way this virus spreads is via droplets. Wearing a mask will just about mitigate the risk of respiratory droplets being spewed into the air or onto other surfaces

-Washing hands with soap and water or sanitizer will be compulsory before sitting down at the table, before getting up to get a drink or to the bathroom upon leaving the table, and upon returning to the table

-No communal snacks like popcorn, chips, or pretzels for the time being. Snacks like donuts or others that won't otherwise have multiple hands touching the same thing are probably going to be the only food items served. Eating at the table is going to be strictly prohibited.

-I usually only get a 6 handed game, but sometimes get 7 and very rarely 8. I'm going to cap games at 6 for now, indoors or outdoors.

Should this get followed, it will not be necessary to sanitize the chips and cards after use. If any virus particles somehow get onto the equipment, I plan to leave out the chips (in their racks) and the cards outside of their boxes to air out for about 5-7 days. Virus particles on surfaces won't be alive by the time the chips and cards will be used next. There is no sense in worrying ones self about disinfecting equipment after the game.

One piece of good news is that I'm reverting back to treating exclusively non COVID patients in my building starting June 1st. I will have no interaction with any other coworkers or patients from the COVID floor. They are making everyone enter and exit the building in separate doors and everything. The building administrators are really are going out of their way to assure there is ZERO interaction between the two populations. I figure I will wait two weeks from my last known COVID contact and will still continue to wear all of my PPE (they are still making us do so, as they should), and then it's game on, provided I can get enough of interest from my usual crew.

I'm targeting a game with the above considerations for about a month from now. Fingers crossed community spread continues to decline overall and there are no sharp spikes with the loosening of some restrictions on gatherings and stay at home orders.
 

Frogzilla

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Depends so much on your area and your risk factors. There are games (like Mojo in rural Maine) that are already about as safe as you can get. If your crowd is older and in an urban area with ongoing outbreaks, maybe more than a year away unfortunately.

Ill probably host a single table game in July. As to cautionary measures, all I plan to do is ask people who are showing symptoms to stay home. Everything else is pretty meh. They might make other players more comfortable but it’s seems more safety theater than actual protection. Even the mask probably won’t do as much if you’re there for hours and hours so close, drinking beer, etc.
 

Kain8

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For the money issue, most people seem to have gotten used to e-transfers (Interac in Canada, Venmo/Paypal in US), so maybe you don't need to bring cash, just your smart phone.

Aside from masks and sanitizing, this is the easiest thing to do. Hold all the money in escrow by the host and the host pays out the money back at the end of the game to the stacks. Reduces the likelihood of the bank being unbalanced at the end of the game and no more awkward cash out amounts with lone dollars or quarters either! You could all feel like you're in Casino Royale with all these fancy electronic transfers of money to boot!
 

Senzrock

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-Only come to play if you're comfortable doing so and if you and all close contacts (family, coworkers) have not been showing symptoms in the past two weeks

Coming from Brooklyn, NY. Home games are still a ways away for our crew. This issue above is the critical question for me. How are any of us suppose to trace all 8-10 players' family, co-workers with certainty? Seems very difficult.

Online poker has been pretty amazing during this time, and although it doesn't compare to live poker, I'm happy taking the safe route and thinking about home games closer to September when many of us will be returning to work.
 

Trihonda

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I've got regulars of both my poker and D&D live games that are contacting me asking... in some cases pleading... It's too soon for me right now, but our state seems to be opening up a tad, and without major upticks in illness... *crossing fingers*
 

upNdown

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I've got regulars of both my poker and D&D live games that are contacting me asking... in some cases pleading... It's too soon for me right now, but our state seems to be opening up a tad, and without major upticks in illness... *crossing fingers*
Yeah, regardless of what precautions you take AT your game, it seems like it's pretty smart money to give it another 2 or 3 weeks and see how all the reopenings go.
 

Rhodeman77

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Almost daily I have players checking in if I’m starting up again. Ohio has reopened pretty much everything as of this week after 2 months of a pretty intense lockdown.

My plan is to see if there is a sizable increase in hospitalizations and or deaths over the next month.

if the numbers don’t spike I will talk to the boss about having a game towards the end of June.

Masks will be required. No eating at the table.

Also who gets invited will be even more selective. I know who in my group has taken isolation and social distancing seriously.

I know several people that have been getting together with their friends and some that have kept playing home games the entire time. Those people will not be invited.
 
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Mojo1312

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Depends so much on your area and your risk factors. There are games (like Mojo in rural Maine) that are already about as safe as you can get. If your crowd is older and in an urban area with ongoing outbreaks, maybe more than a year away unfortunately.


Mods: This post is strictly observational. I am not touting my political views. I am only interested in sharing how Covid-19 has reshaped the social dynamics of the area in which I live for those who may find it interesting, including the O.P.


If only that mattered Frogzilla.

Citizens reacted to our Governor's April 1st orders for a lock-down at the end of March by panic shopping Wal-mart and the two grocery stores en-masse. One of the craziest things I have witnessed in my lifetime. Felt like I had walked in on an apocalyptic sci-fi movie set.

By and large, people in my area practiced social distancing during April and the first half of May with few wearing face masks. Now that warm weather has arrived and people have resumed going about their business, masks are everywhere, even though there are no reported active cases of Covid-19 in the entire county.

I am a blue person living in a deep red part of the state and I am part of the 20% minority who chooses not to wear a protective cover over their nose and mouth. The majority of people here get very uncomfortable when social distancing isn't practiced in the public sphere.

What baffles me, is no one knew how many people were infected with Covid at the end of March, yet people had no compunction packing the grocery aisles rubbing shoulders and pushing by one another in a mad rush to buy toilet paper, Lysol and a months supply of staples. Now that we know the scale of the infection, (Nil) people are taking protective measures similar to an African village caught in the middle of a deadly Ebola outbreak.

I don't understand the rationale. People's behavior is purely reactionary, driven by their own manifestations as far as I can tell. This person is wearing a mask and this person is wearing a mask, so the threat must be real and close to home. Don't come near me.

I find it all very strange.

Most of the players who play in the weekly $50 tournament (followed by a $1/$2 Omaha-Hi cash game) are over 55. Three of the regulars are in their seventies. We haven't had a game since April 1st and the host does not want to recommence playing for liability reasons until the lock-down is completely lifted, which could be well into June. I am concerned as to how many players we may lose permanently due to the prolonged shut-down and their own fears. With some sadness, I doubt the second table will be used for tournaments this Summer, if ever again.
 
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Payback

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Mods: This post is strictly observational. I am not touting my political views. I am only interested in sharing how Covid-19 has reshaped the social dynamics of the area in which I live for those who may find it interesting, including the O.P.


If only that mattered Frogzilla.

Citizens reacted to our Governor's April 1st orders for a lock-down at the end of March by panic shopping Wal-mart and the two grocery stores en-masse. One of the craziest things I have witnessed in my lifetime. Felt like I had walked in on an apocalyptic sci-fi movie set.

By and large, people in my area practiced social distancing during April and the first half of May with few wearing face masks. Now that warm weather has arrived and people have resumed going about their business, masks are everywhere, even though there are no reported active cases of Covid-19 in the entire county.

I am a blue person living in a deep red part of the state and I am part of the 20% minority who chooses not to wear a protective cover over their nose and mouth. The majority of people here get very uncomfortable when social distancing isn't practiced in the public sphere.

What baffles me, is no one knew how many people were infected with Covid at the end of March, yet people had no compunction packing the grocery aisles rubbing shoulders and pushing by one another in a mad rush to buy toilet paper, Lysol and a months supply of staples. Now that we know the scale of the infection, (Nil) people are taking protective measures similar to an African village caught in the middle of a deadly Ebola outbreak.

I don't understand the rationale. People's behavior is purely reactionary, driven by their own manifestations as far as I can tell. This person is wearing a mask and this person is wearing a mask, so the threat must be real and close to home. Don't come near me.

I find it all very strange.

Most of the players who play in the weekly $50 tournament (followed by a $1/$2 Omaha-Hi cash game) are over 55. Three of the regulars are in their seventies. We haven't had a game since April 1st and the host does not want to recommence playing for liability reasons until the lock-down is completely lifted, which could be well into June. I am concerned as to how many players we may lose permanently due to the prolonged shut-down and their own fears. With some sadness, I doubt the second table will be used for tournaments this Summer, if ever again.


If you have to qualify it, it's probably over the political line. :p I think your fine, but then again I'm not the big boss around here. Either way we can blame @Trihonda Enough kidding, I think your intent is clear and did a good job of describing the situation around you.

Overall, we all have a risk tolerance, like when we are playing poker. We each have to make a decision that makes us feel safe. With two small children at home, one an infant, my tolerance level is vastly adjusted vs. if I was single without kids.

I'm staying at home to keep them safe. That's my choice and it doesn't come without sacrifice. Poker has been over 50% of my household income by a wide margin the last few years. The poker room here still isn't open either so for now I don't have a choice in live play. When they open up, I'll reassess the situation and go from there because that's what "I'm" comfortable with. Online poker I just can't do anymore with 2 kids demanding my attention.
 

Mojo1312

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Based upon the age of the players in our group and from what I have seen in town, I am sure masks will be required when our weekly game resumes. The host is the only player I have seen in my years of playing poker who excuses himself from the table every hour and a half or two, excluding breaks, to wash his hands. Another player (from Canada) always brings his own supply of hand sanitizer and usually offers it to others to use during the game. I am sure others in our group will be respectful and mimic their actions.

Selfishly speaking, I am concerned about the survivability of the game. Being over 70 brings people closer to God. I don't see those players returning. They stopped showing up three or four weeks before the host put a stop to the game.

I suspect we may be able to fill out a table, but no more 12 to 14 players as before. I believe 8 or 9 will most likely be the new normal.
 

Perthmike

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I think it depends on the area as well. I understand the rural areas being more comfortable in taking the risk.

Ive got a league game booked for next Sunday and I can't wait. Wives and children will be coming over for an hour first, so we will have close to the allowed household visitor limit of 20.
 
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