Pandemic Poker

A typical periodic poker meeting of like-minded friends not being possible, we’ve resolved to play using Zoom. Tips and tricks here:

You need a laptop or other computer with a camera and mic. You could try your phone or tablet but I think management will be tough unless you’re a millennial.

Download and install Zoom. Make sure you know how to use it. Test it out beforehand, don’t be the schmuck making everyone wait for you to sort your shit, okay? You are welcome to Zoom me anytime prior to the game to make sure your show is in shape.

For your audio, sit far away from your laptop next to the fridge in an empty, echoing room. We’ll love that. Honestly, don’t do that, okay?

For your video, the best case would be if everyone can have the camera showing his hands and card/chip area. This isn’t trivial, but it’s not that hard. Plan and set it up ahead of time so you’re not jiggling your shit when we’re trying to start the game. You may want to put your laptop on a box so it can look down at the table more easily.

For the Poker

Find some playing cards. Everyone needs their own deck of cards.

A big double-handful of spare change will do for chips.

For betting, you have two piles – your money and not-your money. Your money should be $10, not-your-money should be more than that, it’s up to you, but note it down so we all know.

Playing with n players and n decks changes the odds a lot for some games, less for others. Crucially however, the new odds are the same for all. Regarding play, let’s imagine 5-card draw: Everyone shuffles and deals for himself, synchronously. The dealer keeps the game moving and in sync. Could we wind up with 3 identical flushes of hearts? Yes. They would tie. It’s not tough if you assume common sense and good faith.

I see it being possible to play like this for 5-card draw and its variants like Number 1. We could do that all night.

For hold-em, the dealer will play the 5 common cards on his table, and zoom his camera in tight so all can see. The other 2 will come from each player’s deck. Piece of cake. For the technically adept, a second camera for your cards might work, assuming you can figure out how to make it work with Zoom.

Stud games, including 3-card high-low, will be tougher, because all players must ensure visibility of their showing cards, and there’s always going to be some motherfucker whose cards can’t be seen, or who can’t read his screen, or whatever. So hey, we can try, but I’m thinking it will be pretty difficult.

To settle up: The math of subtracting Your Money from Not Your Money at the end of the night will be developed in real time. My thinking is that the outcome of each game is meaningless in the end as long as each player knows four things:

That he had $10 in his bank at the beginning of play, and some amount at the end of play.

That he had $p in his local pot at the beginning of play, and some amount at the end of play.

Perhaps I’m under-thinking it but I must get back to work.

I suggest that we take notes and settle up before the next game of physical poker, either with cash then or via Venmo. If you don’t use Venmo or even know what it is, you’re a cranky old fuck and should learn. Alternatively we can donate our pots to the Vermont Foodbank and call it a day.

One thought on “Pandemic Poker”

  1. I have been using this software to easily enable my iPhone to serve as an additional webcam. It works well with Zoom as well as most other applications that employ video. Specifically, in the case of Zoom, next to the enable/disable video button, there is a drop down (actually a pop up, but whatever) where you can select either your primary webcam (likely built-in on a laptop) or the EpocCam camera, If you have some sort of a tripod, you could conveniently position your phone (iOS or Android) so it’s framing your tabletop area of play. Thus, you can easily switch between the two. Alternatively, you could simply join the meeting from both your laptop and your phone, and those 2 video views would both be present at the game.

    I won’t be playing in any event, although I do plan to drop in for a cocktail with y’all.



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