Currency: Polish zloty (PLN)
Casinos with Poker
Poland went through the same process almost all former Soviet countries did when it comes to gambling: during the Communist era, it was forbidden thus forced underground.
The softening of the regime in the 1980’s brought about a new, unregulated industry. With the new democracy, actual legislation was passed in 1992, regulating games of chance in Poland. However, those laws mostly pertained to the opening of new casinos, not how to handle business in casinos already in operation.
In 2009, it was revealed that Poland’s Sports Minister at the time, Miroslaw Drzewiecki, was working with lobbyists from the online gambling industry, trying to amend a bill that would raise taxes on gambling companies. Although Drzewiecki denied any wrongdoing, he resigned. The scandal had a huge negative impact on Polish online gaming.
Between 2009 and 2011, many strict laws were enacted to regulate online gambling – more on that later.
Land-games casino games, however, is a very healthy industry in Poland. There’s around 50 casinos located in the country and they generate over €100 million in revenue yearly. That number has been steadily climbing since 2012.
However, live poker is also throttled by law. Cash games are completely illegal, and only a few scarce low stakes tourneys can be found in the entire country…
Famous Polish Poker Players
Dzmitry Urbanovich is a partypoker ambassador and highly successful online MTT player. He’s amassed over $1 million in online tournament winnings on his partypoker account and another $1.56 million on PokerStars.
On the live felt he’s been even more prosperous, having $6.13 million in lifetime cashes – and he achieved all this before his 25th birthday!
Urbanovich leads Poland’s all time money list on the Hendon database. The second place is occupied by Dominik Panka with $3.16 million. His biggest accomplishment is winning the $10K PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event for $1.423 million in 2014. He also has an ITM finish in the WSOP Main Event, from 2018.
Sebastian Malec took down the €5,000 EPT Main Event for €1.123 million in Barcelona in 2016.
– Playing Live Poker in Poland –
Live Poker Legislation in Poland
When it comes to live gambling, licencing and regulation is handled by the country’s Ministry of Finance. The legal framework in use today is laid out in the 2009 Gambling Act. Private companies can apply for licenses.
However, there are plenty of unnecessarily harsh regulations in place right now. For example, casinos are forbidden to share information about the games they offer in public. You can’t find anything on their website or on their social media, you have to inquire in person, in email or by phone.
Also, as we wrote in our intro, live poker cash games are illegal in Poland.
Live Poker Venues Poland
Two of the biggest casinos in Poland, Casinos Poland Warsaw and Casinos Poland Kraków don’t offer any classic poker games, such as Hold’em or PLO, at all. All they have in their selection are versions of the game in which you play against the house, such as Caribbean poker of Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
Hit Casino Warsaw was home to the Polish Poker Series 3 times between 2015 and 2016. That tournament series, however, hasn’t returned yet. Instead, it’s been moved to the Czech Republic. The Polish Poker Series 2019 took place between June 28th and July 8th at the Rebuy Stars Casino Saharin in Prague.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Poland –
Casinos Poland Warsaw
Hit Casino Warsaw
Online Poker Legislation in Poland
Just like with land based gambling, online gambling licencing and regulation is under the purview of the Ministry of Finance.
Technically speaking, online poker is illegal in Poland. There are a handful of companies that have Polish licences, and they operate sites such as LV Bet, STS Bet or Betclic, that only offer sports betting and online casino games.
However, online poker rooms such as partypoker and Bwin do have Polish language websites. That suggests that they still receive enough traffic from the country to not pull out of Poland completely. The sites are still accessible through alternative links and VPN’s, and it seems that the poker ban isn’t enforced in any meaningful way.
Partypoker even has a Polish ambassador, Dzmitry Urbanovich.