Currency: Euro (€)
Austria plays a prominent role in the European gambling industry.
Casino Austria is one of the largest casino chains in the world. Founded in 1967 in Austria, they operate 40 land casinos in 16 countries.
Furthermore, each year Casino Velden hosts the Poker EM, informally known as the “European Championship of Poker”. It’s one of the biggest poker events on the continent every year.
Overall, the Austrian are a gambling loving people – so much so that in the early 2000’s the government felt it was necessary to take steps to curtail gambling in the country. They passed a number of laws, for example limited the number of casinos in certain regions.
The most popular game of chance is sports betting, especially football. Poker is also relatively commonly played, more so in live casinos than online.
Famous Austrian Poker Players
Niki Jedlicka used to be one of the best online cash game PLO players in the world. Playing under the screen name “KaiBuxxe” on Full Tilt he used to crush the highest stakes Pot Limit Omaha tables. According to HighstakesDB, he’s won $3.19 million in just seven (!) months between April 2007 and October 2007. However, they also have hands tracked under his PokerStars account “RealAndyBeal” where he’s down $625K after playing almost 200,000 hands.
Thomas Kresner has a modest $143,930 in live tournament earnings to his name – however, he’s a well known poker industry worker. He served as the Executive Tournament Director for the EPT (European Poker Tour) between 2004 and 2011. He’s also worked on WPT events as well as the British poker TV show Late Night Poker.
On top of Austria’s all time money list on Hendon sits Matthias Eibinger. He’s amassed $7.935 million in live tournament earnings during his career. He won a €50,000 EPT event in Monte Carlo for €844,080 in 2019. The biggest cash he’s ever made was for coming in 2nd in a WPT $100K Aria Super High Roller in 2018 – he got $1,006,060 for that finish.
– Playing Live Poker in Austria –
Live Poker Legislation in Austria
Licences are issued by the Ministry of Finance (Bundesministerium für Finanzen, BMF) in Austria.
Interestingly, they draw a distinction between so-called “small” and “proper” gambling, depending on the money wagered. However, the bar for qualifying for proper gambling is very low – only games where people can bet €0.50 or less fit the “small gambling” category.
Poker is defined as a game of chance in Austrian law. However, it is distinct from typical casino games which you play against a house in one way – you can apply for so-called “poker casino” licences specifically.
Live Poker Venues in Austria
Casino Velden hosts the Poker EM each year – we mentioned that in our intro. Last year the €2,700 Main Event’s winner pocketed no less than €144,000.
You can also find year-round poker action in the small market town of Velden. The casino offers €2.5/€5 NLHE and €5/€5 PLO cash tables. What’s more, you can even play 7-Card Stud with €10/€20 betting limits. They also run a €56 weekly Hold’em tournament every Tuesday as well as a €112 tournament every Friday.
Casino Velden is part of the Casino Austria global gambling house chain. They operate 12 casinos in their home country in 12 different cities.
Casino Salzburg is located right by the German border. There, you can find €1/€2 Hold’em, €2/2 Pot Limit Omaha and €2.5/€5/€10 7-Card Stud tables. What’s different from the Velden cash room is that there’s a Dealer’s Choice table as well.
Salzburg also has two weekly tournaments: a €112 event on Tuesdays and a €56 event on Fridays.
The other major cities where Casino Austria has venues include Gratz, Innsbruck and the capital city, Vienna. However, unfortunately you cannot play classic Hold’em in the Vienna casino, only versions of the game where you play against the house.
If you’re looking for NLHE tournaments in Austria’s capital city, the Montesino Casino has a packed schedule with events with buy-ins ranging from €20 up to €250.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Austria –
Casino Velden is located directly by the lakefront promenade of Lake Worth and besides the usually big table games and gambling machines it offers a poker room with 5 tables.
Casino Graz is located in the historic Congress building in Graz. The poker room offers 5 poker tables, but the Casineum, hosts events throughout the year.
Casino Vienna is located in the elegant Esterházy Palace. The poker room is located in the historic “Fuchs Zimmer” and offers daily cash games.
Online Poker Legislation in Austria
Online poker is regulated by the BMF, just like land based gambling.
However, action on the virtual felt in Austria is rather scarce since it’s a segregated market. That means operators can only offer games against other Austrian players. Since the country’s population is relatively small, that rule leads to a small player pool for Austrian residents.
However, some advancements have already been made on the issue – players from Austria can play on the pokerstars.eu servers since February 2015.