Currency: British Pound (GBP)
Casinos with Poker
- Aspers Casino
- Dusk till Dawn
- Empire Casino
- Grosvenor Casino
The UK is famous for its avid and ample betting men in the country. From time to time, the international media picks up a strange bet that can be placed on a British bookmaker site, usually having to do with the royal family. There can be stranger things found to bet on – for example, on Paddy Power you could wager money on whether the world would end in 2012.
The UK Gambling Commission publishes their report semi-annually. According to the latest one, there’s 8,406 betting shops operating in Britain. Meanwhile, the number of casinos is 152 – fewer than, for example, in the Czech Republic (175) which is a country with 1/6th of the UK’s population.
So the main focus in the British gambling life is sports betting. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a rich poker culture in the country as well.
Many big gambling companies have their headquarters in the United Kingdom. However, they are usually outside the mainland, with the Isle of Man and Gibraltar being the most favorite choices for locations. This is because of the favorable tax laws. For instance, Gibraltar gives companies VAT exemptions on marketing costs. Also, because these territories have semi-autonomy within the UK, they can give out their own gambling licenses that are easier to obtain than one form the UK Gambling Commission.
Some of the world’s most famous land casinos and poker clubs are also located in the UK. Even the biggest tournament in poker history, the £1,050,000 Triton Million took place in London, at the London Hilton on Park Lane in August 2019.
Famous British Poker Players
Sam Trickett is a very successful player in the high roller tournament scene with over $20 million in lifetime live tournament earnings. He’s also known for putting on super high stakes promotional PLO cash games on partypoker, the online poker room he’s an ambassador to. The highest stakes cash tables on partypoker were called “Trickett’s Room” for a while. Stephen Chidwick is another great British live tournament player, a constant feature in the highest buy-in events from around the world. He has won more on live poker tournaments than any other British player, over $23 million.
WSOP bracelet winner Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott is a true legend of poker. In 2017, he was posthumously inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. Liv Boeree is one of the best female poker players in the world. Will Kassouf made a deep run in the 2016 WSOP Main Event where he caught the public’s attention with his ceaseless banter at the table. His chip palming scandal in 2018, however, has tarnished his reputation severely.
Chris Moorman held the record for most lifetime online MTT earnings for a long time. As of the writing of this article, the British poker pro is #3 on this list with over $16.5 million in online tournament winnings. He’s behind Sweden’s Niklas “Lena900” Astedt and Hungary’s Peter “Belabacsi” Traply.
– Playing Live Poker in the United Kingdom –
Live Poker Legislation in the United Kingdom
The Gambling Commission states in its guidance for licencing that “poker is a card game which involves elements of both chance and skill and is therefore classified as a game of chance”.
Thus, you need to have permission from the GC to host poker in your casino. Other venues who don’t hold a gambling licence can get so-called “temporary use notices” (TUN’s) if they wish to put on an occasional poker tournament.
Live Poker Venues in United Kingdom
The best known British poker club is probably Dusk Till Dawn, located in Nottingham. Owner Rob Yong frequently plays high stakes cash games and tournaments against the best players in the world, drumming up publicity for his casino in the meantime.
DTD offers £1/£1 and £1/£2 cash games running 24/7 – the games types available are No Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha and Dealers Choice. The highest stakes tables are £10/£25, although there isn’t always a game running on those stakes.
The casino also hosts WSOP Circuit and partypoker LIVE events – two of the biggest poker tournament series in the world.
Grosvenor Casinos is a big gambling franchise with an online and dozens of land casinos across the UK. The biggest venue in the franchise is The Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London. In there, you can find NLHE cash tables from £1/£1 up to £50/£100, as well as PLO (£1/£1-£10/£25) and Dealers Choice (£1/£3-£10/£25) tables.
They put on 1-2 tournaments a day. They are exclusively NLHE and the buy-ins range between £37 and £1,100. One of the best known UK poker tournament series is hosted by the same company, the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour – events are held in numerous cities in Great Britain year-round.
Other popular live poker rooms in the country are in The Casino at the Empire in London; and the Aspers Casino in Stratford City.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in the United Kingdom –
Grosvenor The Rialto
Grosvenor The Rialto
Dusk Till Dawn
Dusk Till Dawn
Online Poker Legislation in the United Kingdom
The Gambling Act of 2005 essentially made online poker fully legal in the country, granted the company offering poker gets a licence from the Gambling Commission, the regulatory body which was set up by this legislation. Amendments added to the bill in 2014 allowed even foreign companies to apply for licences, which means that UK residents truly have 100% freedom of choice if they wish to play some cards online.
There is an abundance of online poker rooms to choose from, the biggest one being pokerstars.uk. There are some that are specifically for UK and Ireland players only, such as Sky Poker.