Currency: Euro (EUR)
Casinos with Poker
- The Casino at Portomaso
- Casino Malta
- The Dragonara Casino Poker Room
- Oracle Casino
Although the small Mediterranean island nation is not big on land casinos (only 5 gambling dens in the country), they are “home” to a vast number of online gambling companies. That is because of their favorable tax and licensing laws.
There are numerous small, lesser known online casinos (Fansbet, Dream Vegas, etc.) that are licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). The Kindred Group, the parent company of Unibet, is also registered in Malta now, even though it was founded in London by a Swedish man in 1997. In addition, the Stars Group – owner of the biggest online poker room, PokerStars – opened up offices in the country in 2017.
Famous Maltese Poker Players
Bjorn “Kleath” Kleathersson, even though his name makes him sound Scandinavian, is listed as a Maltese player on PocketFives. According to the online MTT results database, he has an impressive $8.79 million in online tournament earnings. This puts him on the 23rd spot on their all time money list.
The next best player from Malta on that list is someone who plays under the screen name “ZeelandBoy” on PokerStars and partypoker, and has over $3.3 million in online MTT winnings.
As for the live tournaments, Mark Berman leads the Maltese lifetime earnings list on Hendon with a modest $159,237. His biggest accomplishment is finishing 2nd in a $600 tournament in the Venetian in Vegas in 2015 for $45K. He also has 3 WSOP cashes, the biggest one being a 10th place in the $1,500 Eight Game event for $10,526 from 2017.
– Playing Live Poker in Malta –
Live Poker Legislation in Malta
One needs a separate approval for different kinds of games in Malta when applying for a gaming licence. That are 4 different types.
The MGA classifies live poker as “Type 3 – Games of chance not played against the house and wherein the operator is not exposed to gaming risk, but generates revenue by taking a commission or other charge based on the stakes or the prize”.
Only 4 poker rooms are operating in the island nation – although if you consider the population of 460,297 the proportions aren’t all that bad.
Live Poker Venues in Malta
The Casino at Portomaso is probably the most well known casino in Malta. It even hosted European Poker Tour events recurringly until 2016.
Their cash tables start running at 6 pm each day. The stakes are usually €1/€2 at the tables. They also offer tournaments daily, usually 1-2 per day. The buy-ins range from €500 to €5,000. Most tourneys are NLHE but there are some PLO events on the schedule as well.
Casino Malta at the InterContinental Hotel in St. Julians hosted Unibet Poker Open in September 2019.
The Dragonara Casino Poker Room is also located in St. Julians. They host low stakes tournaments every day of the week. You can get a seat in one of them for as low as €15, but even their biggest buy-in event on the schedule is only €50 – this is not the place for the high roller tourney players. The cash tables are running every night on €1/€2 stakes. Their website states that the players can request higher stakes, however.
The fourth poker room in the country is in St.Paul’s Bay – it’s inside the Oracle Casino in the New Dolmen Hotel. They offer €1/€2 Hold’em and €2/€2 Pot Limit Omaha cash games for their patrons. Their tournaments are also low buy-in events, ranging from €15 to €60.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Malta –
The Casino at Portomaso
The Dragonara Casino Poker Room
Online Poker Legislation in Malta
Malta has one of the most permissive laws when it comes to online poker. The company doesn’t even have to hold a Maltese licence in order to have players from Malta legally play on their servers. This is in stark contrast to what we see in some other European countries, where the government does everything to keep foreign gambling businesses out, thus increasing the state-owned gambling companies’ revenues.
This, evidently, means that players from Malta can choose from any available online poker rooms on the global market.