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Poker in Latvia

Introduction

Capital: Riga

Population: 1,957,200

Currency: Euro (€)

Timezone: UTC+2

Casinos with Poker

  • Olympic Voodoo Casino
  • Olympic Promenade Casino
  • Royal Casino SPA & Hotel Resort

In the small Baltic nation of Latvia, you can find 7 casinos currently in operation.

According to the European Casino Association, that’s up from 2013 when only 5 land casinos were open. However, in the same period of time the number of employees working in the gambling sector drastically decreased. It went from 3,414 to just 550. Unfortunately, ECA doesn’t give any explanation to the downsizing in the industry.

The latest revenue numbers we have are from 2015 – gambling in Latvia generated €210 million. By far the most popular forms of games of chance are slot machines. Out of that €210 million, €173 came from slots.

Latvia is a former Soviet member state. Thus for a long part of the 20th Century, there was a complete prohibition on any form of gambling. They gained independence in 1991. Afterwards came a period of legal but unregulated gambling. That changed in 1998, when the Latvian Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection was founded.

 

Famous Latvian Poker Players

Latvia isn’t a heavily populated country. Poker isn’t particularly popular either. Therefore it’s no surprise that we haven’t seen a world-famous poker pro emerged from there – one akin to neighboring Lithuania’s Tony G.

Mihails Morozovs tops the Latvian all time money list on Hendon with just over $2 million in live tournament earnings. In August 2016, he finished second in the €10,000 EPT High Roller in Barcelona. He won €616,840, which is his biggest single live tournament cash to date.

However, even though Morozovs failed to claim the title at EPT Barcelona, that doesn’t mean that no Latvian triumphed at the poker table in the Catalonian city.

In March 2019, Vitalijs Zavorotnijs won the €3,000 WPT Barcelona Main Event for €600,000. Overall, he cashed for $1.230 million combined in live poker tournaments. With that, he’s second behind Morozovs among Latvian players.

As for online poker, Guntis Aleskins from Saldus, Latvia has an impressive $5 million in lifetime online MTT winnings. He plays under the screen name “poker@luffyD” on PokerStars and “luffEEE” on 888 Poker. He also has an additional $64,552 in live tourney cashes.

– Playing Live Poker in Latvia –

   Live Poker Legislation in Latvia

As we mentioned in our intro, the Latvian Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection is in charge of licencing and regulating gambling companies in Latvia.

They keep a list of legal licence holders on their website to make sure the residents can check if they’re gambling in a legal establishment.

  Live Poker Venues in Latvia

Olympic is the biggest casino chain in the Baltic region. They have two venues in Latvia, the Olympic Voodoo Casino in Riga and the Olympic Promenade Casino in the city of Liepāja.

These two casinos share a combined poker tournament schedule on Olympic’s website. They have events with buy-ins ranging between €15 and €120. The game types include the classics, No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha, with the addition of the odd but exciting Crazy Pineapple Chinese Poker.

As for cash games, the poker room in Riga runs €1/€3 NLHE tables. They also have Omaha and Hold’em/Omaha mixed games, both on €2/€2 stakes. In Liepāja, they only have €1/€1 Hold’em cash games.

If you’re looking for some high stakes action in Latvia, the poker club in the Royal Casino SPA & Hotel Resort in the Riga might be the place for you. Although they do not list it on their official website, pokerdiscover.com claims they run €10/€25 cash games, both Hold’em and PLO.

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Latvia –

Olympic Voodoo Casino

Riga Casino

View Room

Olympic Promenade Casino

Royal Casino SPA & Hotel Resort

  Online Poker Legislation in Latvia

Unfortunately, the online poker market in Latvia has its problems.

It’s a segregated market, meaning the law only allows players from Latvia to play against other players from the country. However, the population is relatively low, just under 2 million, and poker is not the most popular form of gambling by far. Thus it’s hard for Latvian poker sites to gain sufficient traffic.

There are a few online poker rooms with .lv domains. Betsafe.lv is part of the Microgaming Network. Optibet.lv is a Latvian online casino that offers online poker. 

The government takes policing unlicenced online gambling sites seriously. In April 2019, a thread was started on the famous Two Plus Two Forum, warning Latvian players about authorities tracking their financial transactions with these blacklisted sites. 

Many major online poker rooms actually restrict Latvian players from accessing their sites. These include Natural8, Betfair and Guts. However, you can access partypoker, PokerStars and Unibet from Latvia if you’re willing to take a little bit of a risk. 


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