Currency: Czech Koruna (CZK)
The Czech people tend to like to gamble, generally speaking. According to ECA stats from 2015, there are 175 casinos running in the country of just over 10 million people. A law that went into effect in 2016 thinned out the field a bit, but gambling apparatus, especially slot machines, are still abundant across the Czech Republic.
Famous Czech Poker Players
The best known Czech person in the international poker world is Leon Tsoukernik. He’s a recurring feature in some of the biggest buy-in tournaments and highest stakes cash games around the world. His poker abilities may not be as good as his tournament scores suggest, however, since he has made most of his immense wealth from the world-famous casino he owns in Rozvadov. He also stakes a lot of players who are better than him.
Most people recognize his name from a scandal that happened in 2017. ‘Aussie” Matt Kirk sued Tsoukernik after he allegedly refused to pay him back a $2 million poker debt.
In 2011, Martin Staszko finished second in the WSOP Main Event, behind the eventual winner Pius Heinz from Germany. Staszko has $6,340,951 in total live tournament earnings to his name, more than any other Czech poker player.
– Playing Live Poker in Czech Republic –
Live Poker Legislation in Czech Republic
The 2016 law we mentioned in our intro banned gambling from certain locations, such as bars, restaurants and gas stations. Prior to that piece of legislation taking effect, there were minimal regulations on land based gambling.
There are more bad news are coming down the pipeline, however, since the Czech Ministry of Finance is reportedly planning on increasing taxes on gambling services. Currently casinos pay 23% on their GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue) – but that can go up to as high as 40% if the new tax laws are implemented.
Live Poker Venues in Czech Republic
The King’s Casino in Rozvadov is of Europe’s most famous poker venues with the biggest poker room in Europe. Rozvadov is right on the Czech-German border. The owner of the casino, Leon Tsoukernik is mentioned above in this article under “famous Czech poker players”.
The World Series of Europe series are being held in this casino since 2017. To cater for the huge number of players traveling to the tiny village of Rozvadov, King’s Casino invested €20 million and expanded the gambling floor by 1,800 square meters and built a new hotel in the back of the gambling facilities with 218 additional rooms.
On top of the European stop of the most prestigious poker tournament series on the world, King’s Casino has hosted some other major events. Like the Cash Kings cash game festival held in April 2017 which saw the return of Gus Hansen to the high stakes live cash game scene. King’s also was the venue for partypoker MILLIONS live events; as well as “The Big Wrap”, a lesser known high stakes tourney series offering PLO events exclusively.
As for cash games, they have NLHE and PLO tables running 24/7. Hold’em starts at €1/€3, while the lowest PLO stakes are €2/€2. They both go up to €50/€100, with €5,000 (50BB) minimum buy-in. However, their website suggests you won’t have trouble finding bigger games in there – as they write, “don’t hesitate to ask our poker staff for any higher limit”.
The capital city, Prague, has the Showdown Poker Club. Unlike Czechia’s biggest gambling dens, this establishment is focused on poker only. Their motto reflects that, it’s “Centrum pokeru v centru Prahy”, which translates to “poker center in the center of Prague”. They constantly have multiple cash tables running at CZK10/20 ($0.44/$0.88) stakes. The biggest tournaments they host have prize pools of CZK100,000 ($4,400).
Prague has a major casino too – it’s Casino AMBASSADOR. They offer NLHE cash games from CZK10/20 up to CZK50/100. You can also play a so-called “Oasis Poker”, a version of the card game where you play against the house.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Czech Republic –
Rebuy Stars Casino Savarin, Prague
Rebuy Stars Casino International, Brno
Rebuy Stars Casino Luka, Prague
Online Poker Legislation in Czech Republic
For a long time, only companies with a physical presence in the country could provide online gambling services to Czech players. That, however, fortunately changed thanks to the new laws that came into effect at the start of 2017. Since then foreign companies can too apply for Czech licenses.
PokerStars was the first to get clearance – they entered the country in early 2017. Partypoker followed suit in November 2018.