Currency: Bahamian dollar (B$)
Time Zone: UTC-4
Casinos with Poker
- The Atlantis Paradise Island Resort & Casino
- Baha Mar
The Bahamas, despite being a small island nation in the Caribbean with less than 500,000 residents, plays a significant role in the world of poker.
That’s not because of the phenomenal players they’ve produced – we have yet to see the first high stakes crusher come from there, and perhaps we’ll never see one. However, the Bahamas was home to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, one of the most famous poker tournament series taking place in January of every year – until its 2019 cancellation.
Still, many millions were won at the tables of PCA with some of the biggest names in poker vying for glory. The Bahamas has also hosted partypoker LIVE events.
However, outside the PCA, you can have trouble finding action in the Bahamas. The country is a popular tourist destination, especially for Americans, and thus there are some casinos targeting those tourists – however, none of the major ones have “real” poker rooms. They offer games like Caribbean Poker, or Ultimate Texas Hold’em – versions of poker in which you play against the dealer, not other players.
The Bahamas is a prominent location in poker fiction as well. In the 2006 blockbuster hit Casino Royale, James Bond plays a session of high stakes NLHE cash game in the Bahamas – and wins an Aston Martin off of his villainous opponent with a set of Aces over a set of Kings.
Famous Bahamian Poker Players
As we wrote in our intro, there hasn’t been any Bahamian islander poker pros who conquered the highest stakes games – understandable, given the small size of the population.
The country’s all-time money list on Hendon only has 13 players listed. On top of that list is Michael Garraway with $89,877 in live tournament winnings. In April 2014, he came in 11th for $66,313 in the $3,500 No Limit Hold’em Championship at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown in Hollywood, Florida. That is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date – in fact, it’s more money than any other Bahamian players have cashed for in their lifetimes.
As for online poker, a player from Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas, playing under the screen name “Staniz” on PokerStars and “ShoveAndPray” on partypoker, has cashed for over $160K in online MTT’s during his career.
– Playing Live Poker in the Bahamas –
Live Poker Legislation in the Bahamas
The Bahamas has fully legal land based gambling.
The relevant legislation currently in place is the 2014 Lotteries and Gaming Act. Licencing and regulation are under the purview of the Gaming Board of the Bahamas. You can visit their website here.
Live Poker Venues in the Bahamas
The famous PokerStars Caribbean Adventure series used to be hosted by The Atlantis Paradise Island Resort & Casino – except for the first installment in 2004, which took place on the Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas cruise ship.
At the series, the buy-ins ranged from $330 up to the $25,000 High Roller. The event with the most buzz was always the $10,300 Main Event which would draw hundreds of entrants – thus the winner would usually take home 7-figures. Such poker legends have claimed the PCA Main Event title as Gus Hansen or Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier.
Unfortunately, all of this needs to be written in the past tense. In 2019, PokerStars announced that they’re discontinuing their famous live tournament series. The PCA ran for 15 seasons, between 2004 and 2019.
What’s worse, The Atlantis Casino doesn’t have a regular poker room running year-round. Your only options there are to play Caribbean Poker or Ultimate Texas Hold’em, versions of the game in which you play against the house.
The second largest casino, Baha Mar, hosted partypoker LIVE’s Caribbean Poker Party in November 2019. There, the only two events on the schedule were the $25,000 High Roller (won by Daniel Dvoress for $4.080 million) and the $5,300 Main Event. However, they don’t have an “everyday” poker room either.
Meanwhile, another popular gambling hub on the islands, Bet Las Vegas, has been shut down by the Gaming Board for operating without a licence.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in the Bahamas –
The Atlantis Paradise Island Resort & Casino
Online Poker Legislation in the Bahamas
Online gambling is technically illegal in the Bahamas. However, unlike with land based gambling, an online gambling ban always has a few loopholes to exploit.
In this case, it’s a completely legal one. So-called “web cafes” can offer in-house online gambling on approved local gambling sites.
Even though the major online poker rooms aren’t included, none of the major online poker sites restrict players from the Bahamas from accessing their servers. Perhaps the reason behind this is that the online gambling law doesn’t specifically mention poker – thus it could possibly be viewed as a game of skill and be played legally.