Currency: Hungarian Forint (HUF)
Casinos with Poker
- Las Vegas Casino Zrt on Corvin sétány
- Las Vegas Casino Zrt on Széchenyi tér
- Las Vegas Casino Zrt on Vigadó utca
- Duna Poker
Gambling is under heavy government control in Hungary. According to a law passed in 2015, only the state-owned Szerencsejáték Zrt. can provide online gambling services. As for land casinos, a number of companies competed in a bid for licenses – out of them, 5 won. They are the only ones who can operate gambling hubs in the country.
The legal gambling age is 18 in Hungary. This is something they take very seriously in live casinos – however, if you just want to buy a lottery ticket or place a “Tippmix” bet, not so much. You don’t do those things in a casino, you can do those at certain newspaper stands, in certain tobacco shops or designated “lottery shops”.
Famous Hungarian Poker Players
Laszlo “omaha4rollz” Bujtas is one of the top online players in the world. He’s up hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash games on PokerStars. He’s also won almost $3 million in online MTT cashes. He even played in partypoker’s high stakes PLO live stream against the likes of Sam Trickett and Viktor “Isildur1” Blom. Andras “probirs” Nemeth is also a major online tournament player.
In 2012, Andras Koroknai made it to the final table in the WSOP Main Event and eventually took 6th place. However, his run wasn’t without controversy: a questionable floor decision allowed him to “withdraw” his all-in raise after mucking his cards.
Peter “Belabacsi” Traply held the record for the most money won on online MTT’s between June 2019 and January 2020. He has cashed for over $17 million in online tournaments. he is also a WSOP gold bracelet winner – he took down the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout event for $348,755 in 2009.
– Playing Live Poker in Hungary –
Live Poker Legislation in Hungary
As we wrote it in the introduction, five companies won licenses to operate land casinos in Hungary. The gambling there is highly regulated. Laws dictate how many tables a room can have running and on what stakes. When entering a poker club, you first need to register with multiple pieces of identification. Udenrage poker players have no chance of playing live. There need to be cameras monitoring each table where cards are being dealt.
Live Poker Venues in Hungary
The biggest casino company in Hungary is Las Vegas Casino Zrt. They operate 3 casinos in the capital city, Budapest – one on Corvin sétány, one on Széchenyi tér and one on Vigadó utca. While they offer poker to their customers, it’s far from being their main focus. They’d much rather have their players play “Ultimate Texas Hold’em”, a version of poker where you play against the house.
They host the annual Budapest Poker Open tournaments – in 2018, the prize pool was HUF70.4 million (around $246,000).
One of the co-owners of LVC Zrt was a former Hungarian-American Hollywood movie producer, Andy Vajna. He used to have intense media attention on him until he passed away in January 2019.
Duna Poker is one of the most popular poker clubs in Hungary. They offer cash games, from HUF50/100 ($0.18/$0.36) stakes to HUF500/500 ($1.75/$1.75). They also host tournaments regularly. Their biggest events usually have prize pools around HUF8 million ($28,000).
The other big poker club in Budapest, Lurdy Pókerház shut down in 2017. Their website has been claiming that they are re-opening soon for over a year now.
Only a handful of towns outside Budapest have poker clubs. These towns are Szombathely, Szeged, Miskolc, Nyíregyháza and Szolnok.
Because of the scarcity of choices, many Hungarian poker players travel to cities in nearby countries to have some action. Their most common choices are Bratislava in Slovakia and Vienna in Austria.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Hungary –
Las Vegas Casino Zrt on Corvin sétány
Las Vegas Casino Zrt on Széchenyi tér
Las Vegas Casino Zrt on Vigadó utca
Online Poker Legislation in Hungary
The legality of online poker is a grey area in Hungary. By law, only Szerencsejáték Zrt. is allowed to provide online gambling services and they do not offer poker to their players. However, foreign poker operators have successfully argued that their services aren’t being offered in Hungary, as no servers or offices are located in the country. The Hungarian players simply access a foreign service remotely, which is legal.
In 2017, Unibet won a lawsuit against the Hungarian government for discriminating against them in the Hungarian market.
For all of these reasons, playing online poker is safe in Hungary. There is no precedent of somebody being prosecuted for playing online poker. Some of the websites of big poker rooms were blocked by NAV (the Hungarian tax authority) at some point, but those restrictions were eventually lifted. Virtually any online poker room is accessible to Hungarian players.
Players don’t have to be too secretive either – there are active Hungarian poker forums on the web. The government doesn’t even have a good incentive to keep fighting this issue, as online poker rooms are not competitors to the state-owned gambling company.