Currency: Euro (€)
Casinos with Poker
- Casino Estoril
- Casino Liboa
- Casino Figueira
Gambling is heavily regulated in Portugal. The Gambling Inspection and Regulation Service (Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos) is the gambling authority in the country. According to their mission statement on their website, they are responsible for everything gambling related from bingo to online sports betting, and that, evidently, includes poker. They are under the purview of the Tourism Secretary of State.
It is very hard to obtain a license from them. Only 9 facilities are allowed to offer gambling services in the whole country of over 10 million people.
In 2016, the most famous Portuguese person in the world, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in a number of ads for the biggest online poker room, PokerStars.
Famous Portuguese Poker Players
Francisco Da Costa Santos became the first Portuguese player ever to win a WSOP bracelet – although he got that victory in a WSOP Europe event, not in Vegas during the summer. He triumphed in the €1,500 six-handed PLO event in 2012.
Diogo Veiga took home a gold bracelet from Las Vegas in 2018, from the “real” World Series. He won the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em championship for over half a million dollars. Meanwhile, Pedro Oliveira made a deep run in the 2017 WSOP Main Event, finishing 11th and winning $675,000. Oliveira is also a successful online MTT player, under the screen name “skyboy69” he has cashed for over $1.4 million total over his career.
Professional basketball player turned professional poker player Joao Vieira is also from Portugal, with over $3.8 million in live tournament earnings. In 2019, he took down the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em – 6-Handed event at the WSOP for $758,011. In April 2021, he became the biggest online tournament of all time after overtaking the Swedish Niklas “lena900” Astedt on PocketFives’ list. Vieira currently has $23.533 million in online MTT winnings. He plays under the screen names “naza114” on PokerStars and “Joao Vieira” on Natural8-GGNetwork.
– Playing Live Poker in Portugal –
Live Poker Legislation in Portugal
As we mentioned in our intro, it is very hard to obtain a gambling license in Portugal. And even if a company does go through the trouble of getting a permit, they then have to deal with the high taxes imposed on gambling companies. For all these reasons, only 9 casinos are operating in the country and 5 of them have poker rooms…
Live Poker Venues in Portugal
All of these casinos are simply named after the town they are located in.
Casino Estoril offers its patrons NLHE and PLO cash games, running only from Thursdays to Sundays. The stakes for Hold’em range from €1/€3 up to €25/€50; while for PLO they range from €2/€2 to €25/€50.
They only host a handful of tournaments a month, with a standardized €150 entry fee for each. However, many of these tournaments are scheduled to have a Day2, which means they usually have large fields with large prize pools.
In Casino Lisboa, the cash game selection is the same as in Casino Estoril. So are tournaments – €150 per buy-in each, all NLHE. They do offer bounty tournaments too, though.
Casino Figueira hosts an annual tournament series, the Figueira Poker Fest. There, you can find higher buy-in tourneys than the usual €150 events you find at the other casinos. The Main Event, for example, had a €400 buy-in and the eventual winner last time took home €12,298.
The other two casinos with poker rooms are located in Espinho and Monte Gordo.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Portugal –
Online Poker Legislation in Portugal
In June 2017, Portugal, along with 3 other countries – France, Spain and Italy – signed a major deal which was prominent industry news for months and months on. It was the liquidity deal.
The liquidity deal entails that the four countries agree to allow online poker operators to share their player pools from those countries. So the law allows Portuguese players to play against French players on PokerStars, for example.
Spanish and French players started playing at the same tables on PokerStars in January 2018. The Portuguese joined in May 2018. As of now, May 2019, the Italians are lagging behind because of trouble with setting up new licensing procedures.
The gambling regulators of the three nations who have implemented the liquidity deal released a joint statement in January 2019, saying that the first year under the new rules has been a success. They say it had a positive effect on the industry and the safety issues some had suggested might arise have been avoided.
So, online poker is fully legal in Portugal with a wide selection of rooms available to choose from for the Portuguese residents. The most popular choice is PokerStars.