The coronavirus is affecting everyone’s lives in some way, regardless of where you live. Millions of people around the world, including poker players, are self-quarantining in an effort to avoid catching the virus. For online grinders who are used “working” from home, this may not be much of a hardship. But for many others, including live pros or those who work regular jobs, filling the time might prove a little more challenging.
Due to this new virus that originated in China, our daily lives are slowly changing. And for most of us, life is only going to continue to change as businesses close, people are laid off from work, and many of us are forced to self-quarantine at home.
In the poker world, most major live tournaments have been canceled due to the coronavirus and poker rooms around the US and worldwide have begun to close. Those developments have forced thousands of players to step away from the live poker scene and stay home. So, how can you pass the time by during a self-quarantine period without going bats**t crazy? Here are 10 suggestions that may help make your days a little bit easier and more entertaining during these tough times.
1. Play Online Poker
You can put this one in the “duh” category. Of course, the best way for poker players to pass the time by during the coronavirus pandemic is to grind the online poker streets. For those of you who live in countries where legal online poker is readily available, this will be easy. Your options are endless. But for Americans — and those in certain other countries — the options are a bit limited. Still, there are legal sites in four states (Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), and a few unregulated sites that are better than nothing (Americas Cardroom, Global Poker, etc.).
2. Netflix and Chill
Sports have been canceled for at least the next few weeks. So, unless you plan on watching ESPN Classic on loop, you’re better off spending your time digging deep into the Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime movies and shows. Spend some time on the couch with your significant other catching up on Married with Children reruns (all 11 seasons are on Hulu, FYI) or your favorite films on Netflix. If you don’t have a hunny, see #3.
3. Search for Your Future Ex-Spouse
Don’t have anyone to Netflix and chill with? There’s always PornHub. I’m just kidding. A better idea would be to download some dating apps and meet someone who will help you pass the time. According to a CNET article, the best apps in 2020 are Bumble, Hinge, Tinder, OkCupid, and Coffee Meets Bagel. I’ve been with the same woman for over six years, so to be perfectly honest, I’m not familiar with any of those sites. But I’m sure you’ll find whatever it is you’re looking for, even if you own 27 cats.
4. Get in Shape
This one might seem to contradict the whole Netflix and chill suggestion. After all, sitting on the couch watching movies and eating popcorn isn’t much of a way to tone your body. But you should find some balance in your life while self-quarantining or you’ll go mentally insane. You have all the time in the world to get in shape now, so lift some weights (if you have them), do sit-ups, push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, etc. You can even use that Tinder app I just told you about to find yourself a hookup. Studies show that sex really isn’t actually much of a workout as it doesn’t burn many calories. But it has some benefits, and it feels really good (unless your partner is bad at it).
5. Become a Master Chef
We can’t all be David Williams — the 2004 WSOP Main Event runner-up who also finished runner-up in Season 7 on the popular FOX cooking show MasterChef. But we sure can try, and we all now have plenty of time to perfect our cooking skills. Hopefully, you’ve stocked up on food just in case the grocery stores run out. Don’t just throw together your usual boring dinners. Instead, watch some YouTube videos or read books on how to become a skilled chef and prepare delicious meals that your Tinder date will love.
6. Communicate With Friends and Family
Many poker players spend so much time playing cards that they lose contact with friends and family. With the coronavirus keeping most away from the casino, now is the perfect time to get back in touch with those who matter most in your life. It’s 2020, so there’s no excuse for failing to communicate with your peeps. There are many apps these days — SnapChat, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime — that make it easy for us to stay in contact with anyone, anywhere.
7. Help Those Who are Struggling Due to the Coronavirus
Here in the US, millions are out of work due to the coronavirus closing businesses. And that means there are going to be many citizens who won’t be able to afford food, housing, and other necessities. So, another way to make great use of your time is to help those who have been most negatively affected by the coronavirus. If you can afford to do so, order an Amazon grocery delivery to the home of someone you know who is in deep doo-doo from being laid off work. Every little bit helps.
8. Hone a New Skill
Given that so many people are being laid off, now is the perfect opportunity to seek a new job. Thus, it might be a good time to start learning new skills that will open more opportunities. You could learn how to write, how to play poker, how to build websites. You can learn just about anything if you spend enough time studying and practicing. The internet is quite a valuable resource, in case you didn’t already know.
9. Go Camping in the Backyard
Okay, so your backyard doesn’t exactly provide the gorgeous scenery of Yellowstone National Park. But health experts advise avoiding public places as much as possible right now, so the best alternative for those of you who love the great outdoors is to pitch a tent in your backyard. And this is the perfect time of year to camp in much of the US and other places around the world. With temps in many places mild — exactly what a camper wants — spending a few evenings camping from home, unless you’re a heavy snorer who will keep the neighborhood awake all night.
10. GTO, Baby!
You may not be able to visit your local casino to play cards. But that doesn’t mean you can’t continue working on your game during the coronavirus self-quarantine period. Ken Griffey Jr. didn’t stop taking batting practice during the 1994 MLB strike, so why should you stop studying poker just because the local card room is closed? There are many great poker training sites out there to learn GTO and other advanced concepts — Upswing Poker, CardsChat ambassador Ryan Laplante’s course, Solve for Why Academy, Jonathan Little’s Poker Coaching, and so on.