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I am writing a new book on poker to be titled “Win More in Texas Hold’em.” It will bring together new strategies and tactics, new concepts, new skills, and a first for the poker world: What Does the Future Hold?

Some background: Poker’s earliest ancestors came from Europe, the Middle East, and China. The game as we know it today finally took shape in the early 1800s in America. One of the earliest forms of poker called “poque” was played in gambling dens in New Orleans.

So what does the future hold for the game?

Starting with the coronavirus pandemic and moving well ahead in time, how will the poker world change? My prediction is based on the history of mankind and the game of poker, the current status, and pure logic.

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Today, our world is fighting a terrible pandemic. As reported in my March 18 column in Gaming Today, all card clubs and casinos in Southern California (and elsewhere) have been closed down because of the need to isolate people from one another as we struggle to defeat the coronavirus, a deadly disease. The same is the case for all other places and events that would bring people together. Schools, sporting events, businesses large and small, and more have been closed, at least for the present.

Sooner or later, we will defeat this disease and end its impact on our lives. But then what? Will life then go on as we knew it before the pandemic? How will the poker world change? Considering yet other relevant issues and factors, what does the future hold for the game of poker? After much thought, the following is my prediction.

During the time that casinos and cardrooms are closed down, many poker players may have found alternative venues for their recreational needs. Will they return to the game of poker? How many casinos and card rooms will reopen?

Being optimistic, I predict that in the short term, virtually all will go back into business — perhaps with additional amenities for us players (their customers) as the casinos compete for business.

Sometime later, smart robots may be used to deal out the cards? No more tips to the dealers — saving dollars for us players.

Consider how our world has evolved. We can learn from history. One hundred years ago, who would have dreamed that, one day, we would have light-weight portable computers and tiny cell phones that easily slip into your pocket? Who could imagine that man would visit the moon? Let’s hope we don’t pollute it. Or, for that matter, how many people in those days ever thought that the automobile would one day replace the horse-and-buggy? But I look forward to the day when our automobiles, with the mere push of a button, take to the air.

I predict that as our population grows with time, more poker players will visit the casinos. The younger players will be more aggressive and daring, substantially changing the texture of the game. More bluffing, too. And the stakes will climb ever higher. For those who like, online poker will become more readily available. That’s my vision of poker long-term.

Consider Darwin’s theory of evolution: “The survival of the fittest.” Just as modern man evolved from the caveman eons ago, and developed high intellectual capability, man will continue to develop his mental skills, but become less physically active over the years.

The game of poker is bound to gain in its technical demands and offerings. In that respect, the change of poker could be dramatic — well beyond our imagination. We can also expect to live longer lives — well into our hundreds. As a result, even more seniors might discover the benefits of playing the game.

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Just as inflation over the years has increased the cost of goods, housing and services, so too the poker stakes will also increase. While, today, we may complain about the high cost-to-play in casinos, we can expect even higher costs in the future. And, yet, people will continue to flock to the casinos — most for recreation, but many (the pros) still hoping to earn their living at the game.

Skill will always be essential and luck will be a factor forever.

About the Author

George Epstein

A retired engineer, George Epstein is the author of “The Greatest Book of Poker for Winners!” and “Hold’em or Fold’em? – An Algorithm for Making the Key Decision.” He teaches poker courses and conducts a unique Poker Lab at the Claude Pepper Senior Center under the auspices of the City of Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation and Parks and at West Los Angeles College.

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