Since the announcement of the lockdown on the 23rd of April in India, online gaming including real money online games like poker have skyrocketed. On the flip side, on a regular day, most people would consider these games a waste of time. What caused the mental shift?

A psychological benefit is the answer. These online games aren’t just about escaping reality or earning a quick buck, but also about the sense of belonging, going somewhere together. In the pursuit to ‘optimize’ our time while distancing ourselves from communities, we are pushed toward technology to track our productivity.

Interestingly, online real money games like poker in India could help satisfy certain fundamental psychological needs and therefore are placed higher in the value chain of productivity during these resilient days.

The Self-Determination Theory or STD articulates a meta-theory that suggests people are motivated to grow and change by three congenial psychological needs. The satisfaction of these needs leads to self-growth, greater well-being and motivation.

Self-Determination Theory

If being home-bound does reduce ones happiness and well-being, it’s primarily because one of the above needs are not being fulfilled. It could be your sense of autonomy that’s jeopardized since you are limited to partake in most of your usual activities like meeting friends at a local café or watching a movie on the big screen.

You might also be questioning your competence considering you are missing your daily ‘wins’ that come in the form of leisurely pursuit or problem solving at work.

Relatedness is probably the one factor that could have been taking the worst beating. Social distancing has reduced our human interaction be it with colleagues, neighbors, friends and family. Most of us are left feeling powerless during this outbreak which could easily spiral into serious mental health issues.

As we make our way through counting days, many of us have found other ways to satisfy these needs through technology. So, how do online real money games in India like poker help?

  • Players have a plethora of games to choose from that helps facilitate the feeling of autonomy. Players have the freedom to choose from a game of Texas Hold’em poker, Pot Limit Omaha poker or Open Face Chinese (OFC) poker on PokerBaazi. The games have flexible hours and don’t further contain your skill-gaming choices. Playing online poker for real money gives you the choice to play a game that matches your skill-set and poker bankroll.
  • Competence perceptions is related to the immersive experience a game provides. From mastering the skills required for a game of online poker, the pay outs or rewards for mastering them and the feeling of a daily ‘win’ bring a great sense of accomplishment.
  • The relatedness comes from interacting with a community during a game. Online real money games of poker has a chat interface that allows players to interact after a hand. A game of OFC poker also allows you to sit on a table with just your friends on PokerBaazi. Engaging in a friendly banter with your opponent also gives one the perception of relatedness all of which gives one the feeling of being connected.

Playing online poker for real money in India is psychologically valuable during testing times like the lockdown, however it’s important to do so in moderation irrespective of the chaos around you. Also, one should keep in mind that eating right, exercising and getting sufficient sleep are equally important to thriving mental health.

Cheers to responsible gaming during social distancing!