Currency: West African CFA Franc (XOF)
Time Zone: UTC+0
Casinos with Poker
- Casino Barrière l’Éléphant d’Or d’Abidjan
Ivory Coast, sometimes referred to as Côte d’Ivoire, the same words in their native language of French, is a large country on the West Coast of Africa.
The good news is, gambling became officially legal in May 2020 in Ivory Coast. Even before that, while technically not being legal, the authorities made no effort to curtail black (or rather, gray) market gambling.
Almost all the action is found in the city of Abidjan – while it’s not the legal capital city, it’s most populous as well as the most prosperous one. For a long time, Hotel Ivoire Inter-Continental & Casino used to operate there. That venue is now called Sofitel Abidjan Hôtel Ivoire and no longer has a casino.
However, Ivory Coast’s only currently running casino and poker room, Casino Barrière l’Éléphant d’Or d’Abidjan, is also located in Abidjan. Hopefully, with the new legislation, more establishments will open soon.
However, there is some bad news as well. Poker is a long way down on the list of popular games of chance in this African country. While there are many land-based sportsbooks scattered around the nation, and the national lottery (called LONACI) is also popular, there is only one poker room. It’s in the aforementioned “Golden Elephant” in Abidjan. Betting on football is especially popular, mostly thanks to the success of the Ivory Coast National Football Team in international competitions.
Famous Ivorian Poker Players
So, since – as we mentioned above – poker isn’t particularly favored in Ivory Coast, there hasn’t been anyone from there getting even close to the game’s elite. Hendon doesn’t even have the country’s own all time money list, as they do for almost every other country. They only have 8 Ivorian players’ results tracked on the site.
Out of those 8 players, William Fanny has been the most successful one so far with $73,692 in live tournament winnings. In January 2018, he took down the XOF2,300,000 NLHE High Roller event for $58,367 at the Dakar Poker Tour in Senegal. That is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date.
– Playing Live Poker in Ivory Coast –
Live Poker Legislation in Ivory Coast
In May 2020, the Senate of the Ivorian National Assembly voted 16-1 in favor of legalizing gambling in the country. The lower chamber had already approved the proposed bill.
Since this legislation is very new, evidently, many of the details of the new legal market hasn’t been worked out yet. Since the result of the vote was announced by the head of the Ministy of Finance, it can be safely assumed that licencing and regulation will be within the scope of that department of the government.
Live Poker Venues in Ivory Coast
As we wrote in our intro, the only casino with a poker room in operation is Casino Barrière l’Éléphant d’Or d’Abidjan, aka “the Golden Elephant”, in the city of Abidjan.
They have No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha cash game tables running every day, starting at 8 PM. There is no information available about stakes in these games on their website. We’ve contacted them through their Facebook page, where we got the answer that “the minimum bet” is XOF100,000 ($180). Since that is too high for a big blind, it’s likely the minimum buy-in, which is usually a 50 BB stack in most casinos. Therefore our best guess is that the available stakes are XOF1,000/$2,000 ($1.80/$3.60).
You can also play Ultimate Texas Hold’em there, a version of poker in which you play against the house, not other players.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Ivory Coast –
Casino Barrière l’Éléphant d’Or d'Abidjan
Online Poker in Ivory Coast
There isn’t any relevant legislation regulating online gambling in Ivory Coast yet. This is a typical situation in Africa. Since on the ‘Black Continent” internet access is a lot more rare than in Europe or the US, governments are much less incentivized to set up a proper legal framework for internet gambling. In Ivory Coast, 47% of the population has access to the internet – which is above the African average of 39%, by the way.
So, all the major online poker rooms – from PokerStars, through Natural8, 888 to partypoker – are available for Ivory Coast residents freely. However, these sites really can’t expect major traffic from the region.