Poker in Cyprus

The Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. If you’re travelling there looking to gamble, you are recommended to go North to the Turkish-controlled de facto state of Northern Cyprus. Gambling laws are much more lax there.

As for the South, which comprises the larger part of the country, gambling is legal but strictly regulated. For a long time, there was no clear legal framework overseeing gambling which created a lot of confusion. That ended in 2012 when the Betting Act was implemented – however, that didn’t help the betting men and women of Cyprus as it banned online gambling.

The next step came in 2015, and it was finally in the right direction. The 2015 Casino Act set a licencing scheme for land based and online casinos. As a result, a couple of new gambling houses started construction.

Famous Cypriot Poker Players

Peter Costa, aka “the Poet”, has $1.979 million in lifetime live tournament winnings. He won the A$10,000 Main Event at the 2013 Aussie Millions for $221,862, that is his biggest tourney score to date. He appeared on the famous British poker TV show Late Night Poker multiple times.

However, he doesn’t top Hendon’s Cyprus all time money list. That is not because of his results, but because he’s included on the England list since although he was born in Cyprus, both of his parents are British and he grew up in England.

Thus Yiannis Liperis is the number 1 Cypriot player on the Hendon website with $1.633 million in winnings. His biggest score is $261,750 for coming in 13th in the $25K PokerStars Caribbean Adventure high roller.

As for online poker, a player from Cyprus playing under the screen name “daskalos20” on partypoker and PokerStars has amassed an impressive $4.381 million in online MTT cashes.

– Playing Live Poker in Cyprus –

   Live Poker Legislation in Cyprus

As we wrote above, the 2015 Casino Act set up the licencing system for land casinos. The National Betting Authority (NBA) is in charge of all things gambling in Cyprus.

  Live Poker Venues in Cyprus

At the Merit Crystal Cove Hotel, Casino & Spa in the city of Kyrenia, the Merit Middle East Tour has a stop. This is a poker tournament series featuring events with as high guarantees as $200,000. The buy-ins range from $330 up to a $10,000 high roller.

The cash games in this casino aren’t for the small ballers. The lowest stakes available is $5/$10. You can also find $10/$25, $25/$25 and $25/$50 tables, either NLHE or PLO.

In the Noah’s Ark Hotel and Spa in the village of Bafra, the Golden Poker Million series is held. There, you can play events with buy-ins ranging from €55 to €1,500.

Hosting poker tournaments in high-end hotels is a trend in Cyprus. You can also find a card room in the Elexus Hotel in Catalkoy, or the Rocks Hotel & Casino in Kyrenia.

There’s also some gambling outside hotels in Cyprus. The casino chain Cyprus Casinos has multiple locations in the country. However, they do not offer classic poker games such as Hold’em or PLO, only versions of the game which you play against the house.

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Cyprus –

Merit Crystal Cove Hotel, Casino & Spa

Cyprus Poker Federation

Kaya Artemis Resort & Casino

Leon Poker Club

Lord’s Palace Poker

Les Ambassadeurs Poker Club

  Online Poker Legislation in Cyprus

The website UK Practical Law summed up the recent history of online gambling in Cyprus as such:

“When Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, online gaming providers licensed in other EU member states launched activities on the basis of the principle of free movement of services (…) due to the lack of any comprehensive national legislation regulating the market.

The Attorney General of Cyprus gave a legal opinion that was unclear, created controversial issues and was heavily debated. As a result of that state of uncertainty, the Betting Law 2012 was enacted to supplement gaps in the law and present a solid legal framework. The legal gambling age became 18.”

As of now, there are a couple online gambling sites legally available that offer online poker such as Bet365 or partypoker. Although the Cypriot government still has a long blacklist of other domains limiting the choices of their residents, the situation is not as dire as it seemed in 2012 when an all-out online poker ban was in sight.

Merit Crystal Cove outside
Merit Crystal Cove Hotel, Casino & Spa

The luxurious Merit Crystal Cove Hotel, Casino & Spa is located on a cove on the Mediterranean Sea. It’s 15 km from ferries at the Port of Kyrenia.

Lords Poker Cyprus
Lord’s Palace Poker

Lord’s Palace Casino is offering beautiful architecture, designer gaming tables and several dining options.

Les Ambassadeurs Poker Club outside
Les Ambassadeurs Poker Club

Les Ambassadeurs Poker Club is located inside the Les Ambassadeurs Casino which has become one of the most popular casinos in Cyprus.

Leon Poker Club
Leon Poker Club

Leon Poker Club is part of the Malpas Hotel & Casino in Kyrenia. It offers memorable panoramic scenery, a 3500 m² casino with a wide range of games.

Kaya Artemis Casino outside
Kaya Artemis Resort & Casino

Kaya Artemis Resort & Casino has been completely renovated and offers a VIP lounge, live gaming tables, drinking and dining options over 3,600 m².

Cyprus Poker Federation
Cyprus Poker Federation

The Cyprus Poker Federation might not have a regular location for their tournaments as nothing is stated on their Facebook page.