Currency: Euro (€)
Casinos with Poker
- Casino Sanremo
- Cotton Genyus Poker Club
- PrinceClub Roma
- Jackass Poker
Italy has a key role to play in international gambling history. The first casino ever, the Ridotto opened in 1638 in Venice. Even before that, during the time of the Roman Empire, the predecessor of the modern backgammon was commonly played among soldiers.
In modern times, Italians still have a lot of betting men and women among them. Sports betting is popular – unfortunately, however, match fixing scandals are also common in the country.
As for poker, both live and online games are available legally for the citizens, as long as the company hosting the games has a licence from the Agenzia delle dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM).
Italy is also one of the four countries that signed the European liquidity deal agreeing to share its player pool online with France, Spain and Portugal – however, due to numerous delays the new law still hasn’t been implemented.
Famous Italian Poker Players
Mustapha “lasagnaaammm” Kanit has seen a great amount of success on both the virtual and the live felt. He has over $11 million live tournament earnings. He won a €50K EPT Super High Roller in Monte Carlo in 2015, and made it to the final table in two WSOP NLHE events. Online, he has over $5.3 million in combined MTT cashes. He won a $215 Sunday Million tournament on PokerStars in 2016.
Dario Minieri is a WSOP bracelet winner and prominent online player. Famously, in 2007, he collected enough “Frequent Player Points” on Stars to get himself a Porsche from the Stars Rewards Store.
Max Pescatori has 4 WSOP bracelets. Impressively, he won all 4 in different game types: one in 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo (2015), one in Razz (2015 again), one in Pot Limit Omaha/Hold’em mixed game (2008), and one in the classic No Limit Hold’em (2006). In addition, he has won two WSOP Circuit events.
– Playing Live Poker in Italy –
Live Poker Legislation in Italy
As we wrote in our intro, gambling is legal in all 17 states of the country as long as the casino has a licence from ADM.
According to pokerlaws.org, “Italy actually had some pretty restrictive laws prior to 2006 though when it came to gambling, however since then things have really loosened up and games involving skill are no longer illegal in general, and games of pure chance are permitted as well although tightly regulated”. Poker, evidently, is among the games in which skill is involved, according to Italian gambling regulators.
Live Poker Venues in Italy
Casino Sanremo in Sanremo has hosted EPT events in the past. These days, they’re holding 2-4 tournaments a day. They’re exclusively No Limit Hold’em, and the buy-ins range from €60 up to €250. The cash game stakes are between €2/€5 and €20/€40.
In Venice, sadly, neither of the two major casinos offer classic poker games. The closest thing to it is Ultimate Texas and Caribbean Stud, games that you play against the house. As for tournaments, the best you can find is baccarat and punto banco tourneys.
In Rome, you can find some poker action, however. In the Cotton Genyus Poker Club, for example, you’ll find No Limit Hold’em cash tables running after 11.30 pm on €1/€1 and €1/€2 stakes. On their tournament schedule, there is usually 1-2 events per day, many having guaranteed prize pools. The buy-ins are usually around €30-€40, but there are occasional events they call “Higher up” with a €200 entry fee.
Also in Rome, you can choose to go to the PrinceClub Roma poker club or the Jackass Poker poker club. If you’re a mixed game fan, you’re not going to have a good time in Italy since neither of those two rooms offers anything other than Hold’em either.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Italy –
Cotton Genyus Poker Club
Online Poker Legislation in Italy
Online poker is under the purview of the ADM as well, just like live poker.
As of now, players from Italy can play on segregated servers against other Italian players. The most popular online poker room is PokerStars.it.
Italy signed the European liquidity deal in 2017, agreeing to share its player pool with Spain, Portugal and France. However, due to delays in setting up the new licencing system, Italy still hasn’t allowed its residents to join the new shared market, despite criticism from the French gaming authority. This is the case as of June 2019.