Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH)
Casinos with Poker
- Full House Kyiv
- EIGHT VIP
- Sparta Poker Club
In June 2009, the Ukrainian parliament outlawed gambling as a whole in the country. It’s not a promising start for a poker review. However, fortunately, there have been some positive developments since then.
The 2009 act titled “On Prohibition of Gambling Business in Ukraine” was passed because of a fire that broke out in a gambling hall in Kyiv, which ended up killing 9 people.
However, thanks to the concentrated efforts of poker players in the country, the legal battle to exempt poker from the ban was won. In 2013, the Supreme Court of the former Soviet country ruled that tournament poker qualifies as a game of skill and thus can be legally played in Ukraine. Cash game poker, however, remains prohibited.
More good news for the betting men and women of Ukraine: in October 2019, igamblingbusiness.com reported that the former comedian and newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky came out in favor of legal and regulated gambling within hotels in his country.
However, if you heard a mention of Ukraine in connection with poker recently, it most likely was for nefarious reasons. During the bot scandal that broke out on Americas Cardroom in February 2018, popular poker YouTuber Joe Ingram noted that a lot of the cheating bot accounts on the site are from Ukraine.
Famous Ukrainian Poker Players
Ukrainian poker can boast a 2-time WSOP gold bracelet winner. Oleksii Kovalchuk won the $2,500 No Limit Hold’em 6-Handed event for $689,739 in 2011; as well as the $2,500 Omaha/7-Card Stud Hi-Lo event for $228,014 the next year, in 2012.
But he isn’t the Ukrainian player with the most live tournament winnings. That title belongs to Eugene Katchalov with $9.242 million in career earnings. In December 2009, he won the $15,000 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic event for $2.483 million. That is his biggest single live tournament cash to date. In January 2011, he finished first in the $100,000 PCA Super High Roller for $1.5 million.
Yevgeniy Timoshenko is currently in second place behind Katchalov on Ukraine’s Hendon list with $7.718 million. He has a 22nd place from the 2013 WSOP Main Event; as well as a victory at the 2014 A$100K Aussie Millions High Roller for A$2 million, and another victory at the $25K NLHE Event at the 2009 Five Star World Poker Classic for $2.150 million.
Ukranian Roman “Romeopro” Romanovsky is one of the greatest online MTT players of our time. He has cashed for more than $12.5 million, mainly playing on PokerStars.
– Playing Live Poker in Ukraine –
Live Poker Legislation in Ukraine
We wrote about the 2009 gambling ban in our intro. Soon afterwards, plans to create so-called “gambling” zones with licensed and regulated land casinos were made in the Ukranian parliament. However, the armed territorial conflict with Russia started in 2014, and therefore Ukrainian legislatures had too much to deal with. The gambling zones in Ukraine never came to fruition. However, Russia created its own gambling zones a few years later.
Another crucial takeaway from the intro: live tournament poker is legal in the country, but cash games are not.
Live Poker Venues in Ukraine
In the capital city of Kyiv, the Full House Kyiv poker club is located. There, you can play events with buy-ins ranging between UAH200 ($8.40) and UAH2,000 ($84). They also run some freeroll satellites to bigger events as well.
Another popular poker club in the capital is called EIGHT VIP.
Outside Kyiv, you can find some poker action in the Sparta Poker Club in Dnipro. They run 1-2 events per week, with UAH150 ($6.30) to UAH300 ($12.60) buy-ins.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Ukraine –
Full House Kyiv
Sparta Poker Club
Online Poker Legislation in Ukraine
The 2009 gambling prohibition includes online gambling as well. Tournament poker is recognized as a game of skill on the other – however, online poker rooms offer cash games too, as well as usually all other kinds of gambling, such as sports betting and casino games.
It’s a complicated situation. In practice, Ukrainian players have no trouble accessing any online poker site of their choosing. Very few poker sites restrict Ukrainian players, and all the biggest ones – partypoker, PokerStars, Unibet, 888 etc – do not.