United Kingdom Poker Sites – List of poker sites for players from UK
As one of the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to online gambling, it is no surprise that it is completely legal to play online poker in the United Kingdom.
This fully regulated market encompasses hundreds of online casinos and poker rooms which offer poker games, so players based in the United Kingdom are certainly not short of options when it comes to finding somewhere to play poker. Even though poker is legal to play in the UK, though, there are still a few things you probably need to know.
Here are the ins and outs of online poker in the UK.
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The Big Question: Can I Play Online Poker in the UK?
Absolutely. Online poker is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have playing casino games online. Of course, this comes with a warning. Firstly, you should have no qualms about playing online poker in the UK – it is legal. Secondly, if you select an online poker site which can showcase a UK Gambling Commission license, you know that everything is above board and totally regulated.
There are a number of different sites to choose from when you live in the United Kingdom. You can choose from big sites, or small sites. As far as online poker goes in the United Kingdom there are some of the biggest sites in the world and some of the smallest sites in the world. The reason is because of expanded player bases and some sites that only let players from a handful of regions play.
Millions of poker players up and down the United Kingdom play poker online on a regular basis, and most of those do so safely and secure in the knowledge that they are obeying the law. Speaking of laws, let’s look at those briefly…
UK Poker Laws, Rules and Regulations
UK poker law is amongst the most flexible in the world. When compared against those of the United States, for instance, players have infinite freedom. The US only permits players to play poker online 3 states, so over 90% of the population cannot play poker online, and in Europe the results are mixed. In the UK, everybody is entitled to play online, provided they are aged 18 or over.
The current UK poker laws stem back to the Gambling Act of 2005. When this bill was passed through the Houses of Parliament, it promised to fully regulate the online gambling sector, which includes poker. You are guaranteed to enjoy fair play gaming in a safe and secure environment, provided you play at a UK licensed poker room or casino.
UK Poker Licence Authorities
All operators must obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) if they wish to offer their services to players based in the United Kingdom.
The role the UK Gambling Commission has in maintaining this healthy gambling industry in the UK is not be underestimated. They frequently check any casinos which have been issued licenses to offer UK gaming (and not just poker) and regularly audit, rest and check-up on those operators.
To maintain their UKGC license (and thus be able to offer gaming to players in the UK), there are several tests an operator must pass.
- Have an opt-out program for “problem gamers”
- Carry a UKGC issued license
- Adhere to the ever-changing laws of the Licensing and Advertising Act
- Adhere to the technical standards set by the UKGC, with software having to be proved to be fair
Whilst it is true that an online poker room can operate with a Malta, Gibraltar or dare we say, even a Curacao gambling license, they would be offering their services to players in the UK illegally. Whilst this generally won’t stop you from being able to sign up and play at those poker rooms, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Online poker operators who aren’t licensed out of the UK, therefore, do not necessarily have to follow the strict requirements of the UKGC. Many will shake off the rules regarding advertising and fair play, and some (albeit a few) are rogue and blacklisted poker rooms, which solely exist to cheat you. These casinos have been accused of having pirated or rigged games and have even gone as far as to not pay out players.
We would always recommend playing at a UK Gambling Commission licensed poker room. They are the only ones who can offer you safe and secure, fully legal online poker games for real money.
UK Tax Policy
Some countries have completely banned the practice of online gambling, including online poker of course. Most of them are predominantly worried about the corruptive possibilities and their anti-money laundering policies which might clash with some of the more liberal payment methods at these gambling sites. On the other hand, there are states which tend to keep online gambling as a grey area. This helps the poker players gain access to literally any gambling site available to them, but it deprives them of any legal rights and protection.
In the UK, this matter is completely regulated and legalized, which enables the country to profit from the online gambling sites’ profits.
In other words, the lawfulness of online gambling has provided the UK government to tax all gambling institutions, online or land-based. That way, these institutions can function without any obstructions – as long as they do it properly – while the country can collect revenues from them. As for UK citizens gambling online, there are no tax policies or requirements. Therefore, your winnings would be completely yours, of course once the transfer fees of your chosen payment method have been calculated.
Even if you choose to disregard most of the points made here, you should be able to end up with a solid poker site as long as you choose from the list of licensed and regulated operators. This is true for both UK-based players and those from other parts of the world who wish to get one of the safest online poker experiences available.
Popular Poker Games in the UK
Given that the UK is so open to online poker, you shouldn’t have any problems finding poker games and tournaments to play. With such a wide selection of poker rooms to choose from, seemingly every major poker title is yours for the taking.
Some of the more popular poker games you can expect to find in UK online poker sites include:
The same is true of tournaments and competitions. There are main satellite tournaments for the WSOP (World Series of Poker) and other major poker tournaments across the globe to be found at UK poker sites. If sitting down and trying your hand at the main events isn’t your cup of tea, though, you can also find a sizeable array of Sit & Go’s, Guaranteed Pot, and High Stakes tournaments open to players, with varying blinds and buy-ins.
One of the most popular forms of online poker today is live dealer casino poker. The ability to play poker in as realistic an environment as possible (whilst sitting at home) has caught the UK poker scene by storm. Live dealer games are streamed directly from a land-based casino or studio and feature a real-to-life human dealer. That dealer the acts out the poker game via a video and audio link, whilst you make your moves from the on-screen digital betting menus.
You can even play poker games on the go if you prefer. Most of the major UK poker sites now carry mobile-friendly poker titles, and even a handful of live dealer poker games can now be played on the move. The very best UK poker sites will be able to offer you access to both live dealer and mobile poker games.
Online Poker UK Promos and Bonuses
Just like any major casino domain, there are options aplenty when it comes to promotions and bonuses for UK players to claim at poker sites. We’re sure that you are aware of the standard welcome bonus, offered to all newbies who choose to sign up at a poker site and make their first deposit.
In many cases, these bonuses are paid out in instalments (as opposed to the lump sum bonuses issued at online casinos), and thus many are free of wagering requirements. However, there are other poker promos and bonuses you can claim at UK poker websites, such as…
- Redeposit bonuses
- Loyalty bonuses (points are issued per wager, which can be used for free chips)
- VIP deals for high-rollers
It can also be worth checking out customer support, as they often carry bonuses and promos which are specifically for you. Any bonuses which require promo codes to be entered to claim the offer should have their codes available on the promotions page of a poker site.
Depositing/Withdrawing Options Available To UK Players
There are many countries out there which make depositing and withdrawing difficult for their poker players, either because they don’t want players to play poker online, or because there isn’t a wealth of banking options available in that country. There’s none of that in the UK, though.
Players have access to full selection of deposit and withdrawal options, which include credit cards such as VISA and MasterCard, e-wallets such as Skrill, PayPal and Neteller, as well as pre-paid vouchers, wire transfers, bank transfers, and even the ability to deposit via your phone bill, which admittedly isn’t available at every UK poker site.
In the UK, most poker sites will not charge players for depositing or withdrawing. There may be different limits on how much you can deposit or withdraw at any one time, though. Moreover, whilst most deposit options tend to be instantaneous, the withdrawal times vary depending on banking option chosen. E-wallets tend to be the quickest, as 1-2 days. Credit card options take up to 5 business days, and other options can be anything from a week to 2 weeks, varying from option to option.
The Future of Online Poker in the UK
As mentioned, the UK is currently undergoing several changes to its gambling industry. As mobile poker grows in popularity, it would not be surprised if we saw this median take over. Many UK gamblers are opting to place sports bets, spin slot machines and play poker via their favourite tablets and smartphones. This could certainly be the path for UK online poker in the future and is a market many take advantage of right now.
Similarly, the live dealer casino sector is also rapidly growing in the UK. Although the poker games you can play at UK live dealer websites make for a pretty petite list, that, too, could rapidly grow in the immediate future. Tournaments and competitions, access to satellite tournaments and bigger and better sit and go’s are other aspects of the UK online poker industry which may experience growth over the coming years.
My Final Thoughts
Players are going to have no issues playing online poker in the UK. Whether you like to play live dealer, mobile or online poker games, the world is your oyster. You’ve got every type of possible poker game open to you, bonuses and promos to boot, and 100% secure poker rooms to play at. You couldn’t ask for more, and the UK online poker scene is rightly the envy of the world.
FAQs On UK Online Poker You May Like To Know
The first things players should look for is a license from the UK Gambling Commission. If a poker room carries a UKGC license, they are safe and secure. An eCOGRA certification wouldn’t hurt either, though.
Yes and no. It is true that the UK Government and the UKGC are tightening restrictions on advertising, bonus terms and money laundering techniques, but that affects operators, not players. There are no law plans set to affect online poker players in the immediate future.
Not really. There is no need to. Bitcoins are used by poker players in countries where poker is not legal. Since poker is legal in the UK, and the legality of bitcoins is up for debate, we wouldn’t see why you’d need to go down this route.
There is no definitive list of mobile phones you can use to play online poker. As a general rule of thumb, though, you should have an iOS or Android powered smartphone which isn’t more than a few years old. Of course, if you wish to play live dealer poker, you may want one of the newer models.
Online poker rooms in the UK and all over the world can be played either through Instant Play version or downloadable software, or both. It all depends on the site you have chosen.
This option normally depends on the poker room and their software setup. However, most UK poker sites are equipped with high-quality software which normally includes this option.