Currency: Colombian Peso
Casinos with Poker
- Casino Hollywood
- Rock N’ Jazz Casino
- Caribbean Casino
- Rio Casino
- Condado Casino
- Casino Luckia
- Valle Poker Room
- Sharks Poker Club
Colombia, the large South American nation on the Equator, is ripe with casinos all across the country.
This is especially true for the capital city, Bogota. Worldcasinodirectory.com lists 25 casinos in that city alone. Meanwhile, for the entire nation, they list a total of 75. Tourists and residents can come and play in these establishments without any hustle – if they are over the legal gambling age, which is 18 there.
Slot machines, casino games, sports betting and horse racing are all a big favorite among the locals. However, unfortunately, poker isn’t among the most popular games. Most casinos favor versions of the card game in which you play against the house, not other players. These game types include Ultimate Texas Hold’em and Caribbean Poker.
As for “actual” poker, according to the website we cited above, there are only 12 tables running across the 75 casinos, alas.
Because of the country’s reputation in international media, we must point out that Colombian drug lords aren’t closely affiliated with gambling in the country. According to a 2020 complaint by the US Federal Government, Colombian drug cartels allegedly used casinos to launder their money, but that’s all the connection there is. Pablo Escobar and others aren’t known for running casinos in Colombia.
However, a man named Pablo Escobar was banned from an online sportsbook after being mistaken for the deceased drug lord.
Famous Colombian Poker Players
Daniel Ospina became the first WSOP gold bracelet winner from Colombia after winning the $1,500 2-7 Lowball Draw event for $87,678 in 2018. In 2015, he finished 2nd in the very same event.
He has a runner-up finish from another World Series tournament as well, the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. from 2019. He got $262,882 for that performance, which is his biggest single live tournament cash to date.
However, Ospina’s not the best Colombian live tournament winner. It’s Farid Jattin with over $5.6 million in career earnings. His biggest score is from January 2019, when he came in 7th for $746,000 at the $25,000 Poker Players Championship at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas.
Jattin’s also a very successful online MTT player. He chased for $1.4 million at the virtual felt, playing under the screen name “shiipthatish” on PokerStars.
– Playing Live Poker in Colombia –
Live Poker Legislation in Colombia
Currently, the government has a legal monopoly in the gambling market in Colombia. The piece of legislation establishing that is called the Colombian Gambling Act, passed in 2001.
The national gambling control board is called Coljuegos, which simply means “games” in Spanish. Regional governments have some autonomy in terms of regulating games of chance as well.
Live Poker Venues in Colombia
The Winner Group casino chain owns six venues in Colombia. They operate Casino Hollywood, the Rock N’ Jazz Casino, Caribbean Casino, and Rio Casino in the capital city of Bogota; Casino Broadway in the city of Antioquia; and Condado Casino in Cartago.
Every year, Winner hosts a poker tourney series across all of their casinos. Formerly known as the Winner Poker Series, it got recently renamed to Poker Masters – which is not to be confused with the super high roller series held at the Aria every fall.
However, the buy-ins are pretty much on the same level. This Colombian tourney series features events with buy-ins ranging from $30,000 up to as high as $75,000.
You can find some smaller stakes action in Colombia as well. At Casino Luckia, located in Bogota, you can play some $2/$5 NLHE cash with a minimum buy-in of just COP200,000 ($50), which is only 10 BB’s – evidently, we don’t suggest you sit down at a cash table with only that much to play with.
Other smaller card rooms in Colombia include the Valle Poker Room in Cali, and the Sharks Poker Club in Bogota.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Colombia –
Rock N’ Jazz Casino
Valle Poker Room
Sharks Poker Club
Online Poker Legislation in Colombia
Luckily, the government monopoly on gambling doesn’t extend to online gambling.
The Colombian gambling regulator does issue licences to private sites as well. Some of which host online poker games. However, not all major online rooms are allowed. PokerStars, for example, was forced to pull out of Colombia completely in 2017. Now they restrict players from that region.
In 2018, it seemed that things would take a turn for the better in the South American nation. Coljuegos announced a plan to share their player pool with other regulated foreign poker sites who don’t have a Colombian licence. However, they ended up backtracking from the idea.