Currency: Euro (€)
Casinos with Poker
- Maestral Resort & Casino
- Merit Casino
Montenegro is one of the youngest independent nations in Europe. They broke out of the former country of Serbia and Montenegro after a 2006 referendum.
Prior to that, they’ve been part of communist Yugoslavia. Unlike most other countries behind the Iron Curtain, Yugoslavia had legal gambling thanks to the 1964 Gambling Act. After the former communist country broke apart, gambling in Montenegro was under the control of the Serbian government’s Games of Chance Administration. Right before the referendum on Montenegrin independence, in 2011, the government of Serbia and Montenegro passed a new online gambling law restricting online gambling sites that don’t have servers within the country.
After becoming independent, Montenegro adopted its main gambling law from Serbia, the Law on Games of Chance 2004 – a piece of legislation passed that didn’t include the new online gambling restrictions yet.
As for more recent history, the 2017 opening of the Maestral Resort & Casino in the city of Budva made Montenegro a major factor in international poker. The Triton brand’s super high stakes cash games and tournaments are often played there, featuring poker’s biggest stars. Just to mention a few, Tom Dwan, Tony G and Phil Ivey have played poker in front of cameras in Montenegro.
What’s more, the country of Montenegro is an important location in poker fiction as well. In the 2006 blockbuster movie Casino Royale, James Bond travels to Montenegro to the titular venue of the film to battle the villainous banker Le Chiffre in a $10 million No Limit Hold’em tournament.
Famous Montenegrin Poker Players
Vlado Banicevic sits on top of Hendon’s Montenegro All Time Money List with just a little over $1 million in live cashes. His biggest result is coming in 3rd place in a €3,000 NLHE event for €80,430 at the 2016 Poker EM at Casino Baden in Austria.
Second on that list is Pregrag Lekovic with $519,050 in career earnings. He came in 2nd in the HK$250,000 Asia Championship high roller in Macau for $316,207 in 2013. That is his biggest single live tournament score to date.
Usually players can rack up a lot more in winnings in live tournaments than online. That is not the case for Montenegrin players. Adrijan Sinishtaj, who has the screen name “adrijan_s” on PokerStars, has won over $3.042 million in MTT’s. That is more than double what the country’s biggest live tournament winner has.
– Playing Live Poker in Montenegro –
Live Poker Legislation in Montenegro
As we mentioned in our intro, land based gambling laws are mostly dictated by the 2004 Serbian Games of Chance Act. Licencing and regulation are under the purview of the Games of Chance Administration in Montenegro. Foreign companies can apply for licences as well.
Live Poker Venues in Montenegro
According to the European Casino Association’s website, only one casino operates in Montenegro – they date their data to 2017. However, a simple Google search can contradict that – you can find a number of places for some gambling action in the country.
As we wrote in our intro, Maestral Resort & Casino in Budva is home to the world-famous Triton high roller series and super high stakes cash games. To give a feel of how important this casino is in the poker world, Tom Dwan attended the grand opening party.
When the Triton brand hosts events in the venue – which usually happens once a year in the spring – you can find some of poker’s biggest names playing cash games on stakes as high as €2,000/€4,000.
As for Triton high rollers, the buy-ins ranged between €11,000 and €110,000 in the last time the series took a stop in Montenegro.
However, unfortunately, they do not provide any information about their year-round poker games on their website. You can contact and for inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the capital city, Podgorica, the Merit Casino is located. According to their website, they host No Limit Hold’em cash games – however, they don’t display the available stakes.
Their tournament schedule is much clearer, although the action is scarce. About once a month, they hold a poker festival with a few events on the schedule. For example, they hosted the “Montenegro Poker Cup” in December 2019.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Montenegro –
Maestral Resort & Casino
Online Poker Legislation in Montenegro
The Montenegrin Games of Chance Administration gives out online gambling licences to foreign companies – it’s not a state monopoly like in some other European countries.
However, the prerequisite for an online gambling permit is a land based gambling permit. So technically only companies who have brick-and-mortar casinos in Montenegro could host online poker games.
Thankfully, the online poker situation isn’t as dire. Most online poker rooms, for example partypoker, Unibet or Natural8, do not restrict players from Montenegro from playing on their servers.