Currency: Euro (€)
Slovenia gained independence in 1991. During the 20th Century, it was part of two larger countries prior to that.
Until 1918, it was governed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During that time gambling was seen as a privilege of the nobility. The peasantry and the working class weren’t allowed to take part in games of chance. However, in the Slovenian town of Gorica, a popular holiday destination at the time, the noblemen could spend their downtime in casino clubs – this is according to a research paper by Dušan Luin and Janja Hojnik.
During the time of the communist Yugoslavian regime (1918-1991) gambling was completely outlawed. All former states of the communist block went through a very similar chain of events: after the regime failed, the gambling ban was lifted and a transitional period followed until the new government set up the legal framework for gambling.
In Slovenia, that came about relatively early with the passing of the Slovenian Gambling Act in 1995. Since then all forms of gambling – evidently, poker too – has been fully legal and regulated in the country.
Games of chance are quite popular with the Slovenian people. For example, 25% of the tourism revenue for the local governments come from land casinos.
Famous Slovenian Poker Players
Despite that, we haven’t had a breakout poker star from Slovenia yet.
On top of the country’s Hendon all time money list is Casey Kastle with $1,997,589 – quite a small sum to be a nation’s best live tournament earner. His biggest score is $137,985 for finishing 2nd in the WSOP $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event in 2008.
Online, Blaž Žerjav who plays under the screen name “Scarmak3r” has collected a respectable $1,454,529 in online tournament cashes during his career.
Many online sources point out that the Slovenian TV personality and journalist Jonas Žnidaršič appeared on Late Night Poker, a former popular poker TV show in Great Britain.
– Playing Live Poker in Slovenia –
Live Poker Legislation in Slovenia
The Ministry of Finance is in charge of regulating the live casinos and giving out licences. Private companies can also apply. However, the company operating 7 out of the country’s 17 casinos is the HIT group which is 60% owned by the state.
Supervision is done by the Tax Administration.
Live Poker Venues in Slovenia
As we wrote in our intro, during the time of Austria-Hungary, Gorica was known for its casino clubs. The town, now named Nova Gorica, remained true to its traditions and has 4 casinos located in it. The largest one is the Casino Perla Casino & Hotel.
They have 2-3 tournaments per day on their schedule. Many of them have Day2’s scheduled as well, which suggests that large fields are not uncommon. The buy-ins range from the €60 for a satellite and €70 for a regular event up to the largest, €690 event.
Because of these multi-day tournaments, the hotel actually has special offers for poker players who wish to book a room. If you can prove you’re registered for one of the tourneys in the casino, you can get a single-bed room for just €60.
In March 2017, Casino Perla hosted a stop for the Cash Game Festival.
If you’re looking for reliable cash game action year-round, Casino Bled in the town of Bled is running €0.5/€0.5 PLO and NLHE cash tables 7 days a week.
In the capital city, Ljubljana, you can choose where to play at between Casino Lev and Casino Rio Central.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Slovenia –
Perla Hotel & Casino
Online Poker Legislation in Slovenia
Online casino licences are granted by the same authority as land casino licences, the Ministry of Finance.
In 2016, major online poker rooms, such as PokerStars and partypoker pulled out of Slovenia. In their official statements to the press they didn’t give a clear reason, a PokerStars rep simply saying:
“Our management team regularly review our operations market-by-market to assess commercial opportunities and business risks for our brands. Following a recent review, we have decided to stop offering real-money games to players (…) in Slovenia”.
Partypoker has returned to the Slovenian market in September 2017 and is still available to date.
Casino & Hotel Mond
Casino & Hotel Mond is a glitzy hotel with casino, near Maribor. It’s a modern establishment that includes dining and entertainment options.
Perla Hotel & Casino
The Perla Hotel & Casino is open every day and so is the poker room. Cash games and daily tournaments are being offered