Online “home” poker games—the ability to create invite-only cash games and tournaments to host private clubs and groups—have been around in the online poker industry for over a decade. But since social distancing, stay-at-home orders and lockdowns swept across the globe in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, interest in the format has exploded.

Based on Google Trends data, searches for “private poker games” and similar saw a 10-fold increase in popularity in March and April.

In response, almost all major online poker operators tried to meet this demand. In two cases, support for home games was added to mobile devices; elsewhere, all-new functionality to cater for private games was rolled out.

Unibet’s Rake-Free Private Tournaments

Unibet was among the first online poker rooms to meet growing demand for private games back in March.

While it does not support a built-in club feature within the client like other rooms, players can set up private tournaments on Unibet manually by requesting one of their ambassadors to create password-protected tournaments. Alternatively, they can do so by emailing support or through their community website.

What is quite striking about Unibet’s private tournaments feature is that all private tournaments are rake-free.

As per the stats provided to PRO by Unibet, over 12,000 entrants have participated in 1000 home games, generating over €170,000 in prize pools across all the home games they have hosted since late March. The operator did not charge a cent on these private tournaments.