Currency: Czech Koruna (CZK)
The Czech people tend to like to gamble, generally speaking. According to ECA (European Casino Association) stats from 2015, there were 175 casinos running in the country that year. A law that went into effect in 2016 thinned out the field a bit, but the trend quickly reversed. According to their latest numbers, there’s currently 299 casinos in operation in the Czech Republic. That is an outstandingly high number for a population of just over 10 million people.
As for poker rooms, the selection is equally abundant. Pokerdiscover.com lists a total of 45 cardrooms in the country. One of the most prominent poker venuses in Europe is King’s Casino Rozvadov, located near the German bored.
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 aforementioned 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 $6.347 million in total live tournament earnings to his name. That is second only to Martin Kabrhel’s $8.281 million among Czech players. Kabrhel is a 2-time WSOP gold bracelet winner.
– Playing Live Poker in Czech Republic –
Live Poker Legislation in Czech Republic
The 2016 gambling law 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.
In 2017, even more legislative reforms came for the gaming industry. The Ministry of Finance mandated per session loss limits to be established by every gambling venue. They also raised taxes on gross gambling revenue (GGR), from 23% to 35%.
Licencing and regulation are under the purview of the Gambling and Lottery Supervision Department of the Ministry of Finance.
Live Poker Venues in Czech Republic
The King’s Casino in Rozvadov is one 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 Poker Europe series has been 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 in 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).
The Rebuy brand has two great poker rooms in Prague: Rebuy Stars Casino Luka and Rebuy Stars Casino Savarin. Meanwhile, in Brno, you can play at the Rebuy Stars Casino International.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Czech Republic –
Rebuy Stars Casino Savarin, Prague
Rebuy Stars Casino International, Brno
Rebuy Stars Casino Luka, Prague
Showdown Poker Club
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.