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How to Find an Underground Poker Game

For many poker players who don’t have easy access to a casino, there are not many choices besides getting a home game together with your buddies or finding an unground poker game.

Of course, there’s always online play and apps like Pokerrrr2, but when you want to get out of the house, drink a beer, and kick back with the lads, it’s hard to beat an in-person game.

That’s why, when the pandemic hit in 2020, the poker community of Essex, UK, went underground. The casinos had to close, but people stepped up to keep the games running.

Image: iStock

A growing underground scene

What makes a great underground game is a relaxed atmosphere with people enjoying themselves, laughing, and having fun. The buy-ins may not be as big as at the high-rollers table, but that’s okay. The games are welcoming to everyone. Anyone from 18-year-old kids to retirees can sit down at the table. The same goes for skill levels.

Sure, there are always going to be sharks who smell blood in the water—especially the players who were regulars at the casinos before they closed—but there’s plenty of fish to go around as well. As long as everyone’s having a good time, there are no problems.

Professional pride

What you really need to find is a game that, though it may be technically not allowed, is run by professionals. The tournaments should be regular, well-managed, and reliable. Nobody should be worried about crime or security.

In the long run, clubs like the one in Essex are hoping to one day go aboveground and establish themselves as a legal venue. The owners are hoping to make a full-time career out of running poker games.

That said, there’s always a risk of something going wrong. “I’d be gutted,” says a man who goes by Tom the Viking when asked what he would do if the club had to close down.

So how do you find an underground poker game?

Ask around. Get to know the poker players in the area. Make some friends at the pub, offer to buy them a pint, and take it from there. You never know where it may take you.


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