Malta Poker Festival founder: Live poker will need to incorporate online post-COVID

By Owain Flanders

According to Ivonne Montealegre, founder and event director of the Malta Poker Festival, live poker will regain its popularity after the current crisis but will see some changes.

Speaking on a panel during the SBC Digital Summit, Montealegre insisted that although it will take some time, live poker will return once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.

She said: “Poker is an interesting industry which has managed to mix a live part with an online part.

“The live part is dead right now, but it is a big industry with a lot of casinos and politics.

“When the live part is activated it will take a large part of the market again but it won’t take it entirely – we will see some interesting changes.”

Montealegre believes that one result of the current crisis is the shift to online poker for a lot of players, with live events also incorporating some online element.

She said: “The Irish Open has been cancelled completely and moved online. Everyone follows suit with that. Life will not go back to normal as we know it.

“We are prepared to deploy live events again but we might not be able to do them in huge arenas as usual.

“Live poker will learn that some online needs to be deployed.”

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