Top 10 Portuguese Poker Sites 2019 : For Portuguese Players
Portugal may be one of the most overlooked countries on the Iberian Peninsula as far as the poker scene goes in Europe, but you can bet that the game has its local adherents.
In fact, some of the most qualified players on the international circuit are Portuguese and the relaxing of local laws and regulations will likely result in many more excellent players in the future. Let’s take a look at what poker is like from the Portuguese perspective.
Poker and other types of casino games have long had its share of aficionados in Portugal, although the freedom to enjoy such activities hasn’t always come easy.
As recently as 2014, local regulations have resulted in a few international firms pulling out of the local gambling market, or simply refusing to allow access to Portuguese players.
But the changing times and attitudes have resulted in the relaxing of policies toward gambling, which means that many type of games are now allowed in the country. Most such games are restricted to licensed casinos and card rooms to be sure, but you certainly won’t be lacking in opportunities to play a few rounds of poker.
Recommended Portuguese Online Poker Rooms
My list of the best poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2019:
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- Recommended Portuguese Online Poker Rooms
- Is poker legal in Portugal?
- Laws And Regulations In Portugal
- What Should You Look for in an Online Portuguese Poker Site?
- Popular Poker Tournaments Hosted In Portugal
- Portuguese Poker Players To Watch Out For
- Banking Options for Portuguese Players
- FAQs when playing poker in Portugal
- Is poker considered a game of chance in Portugal?
- Is poker one of the approved online gambling activities in Portugal?
- How do I determine whether or not an online gambling website is allowed in Portugal?
- Can I play at any online poker site in Portugal?
- What are the risks of illegal online gambling in Portugal?
- Who do I play against at PokerStars?
- Can I claim bonuses and promotions from legal online poker sites in Portugal?
- Am I able to track other players?
- I want play using my smartphone, is this possible?
- When is the best time to play poker online?
- How long does it take to get my winnings after I request a withdrawal?
- Will I be required to download software to play poker online?
- Are any winnings earned from online poker taxable?
Nowadays, there is an absolutely vibrant poker scene, spearheaded by top young players on the international circuit such as Joao Barbosa, Fernando Brito, and Nuno Coehlo. Even globally-renowned brands have gotten hip to the vast potential of the game in the country, hosting events locally, and in some cases, even creating exclusive events for the Portuguese market. The EPT has held an event in Villamoura for instance, and the Portuguese Poker Tour has recently been established to rave reviews from the local crowd.
Is poker legal in Portugal?
The government of Portugal has made the country a gambling-friendly zone when it comes to playing online.
All forms of gambling, including online gambling, is currently being regulated by the Portuguese government.
The primary goal of the authorities is to provide its citizens with a closely-monitored, legal, and more importantly, safe gambling experience.
The government of Portugal even operates several online casinos themselves and work closely with numerous privately owned web-based gambling operators to offer reliable and trustworthy services to the residents of Portugal. The government of Portugal have successfully blocked offshore casino operators that aren’t licensed within Portugal and regulates all gambling activities via the Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa Games Department, more commonly known as SCML.
However, this policy changed in 2013 when the government announced that online gambling planned to be legalised in Portugal. The reason this took place was due to the government realising that online gambling is actually a source of additional income and could be used as an additional measure of taxation revenue and used to benefit the country socially. The taxation and licensing of online gambling was one of the most important priorities for the Council of Ministers in the country. The plans included taxation and licensing on a broad range of online gambling activities, including online poker, horse racing, sports betting, and online casino.
The most significant developments in the country in terms of local regulation of the gambling industry took place in 2015, when a serious effort was made to regulate the online gambling market. New laws were approved by the Portuguese government to advance with the expansion of the current legislation in Portugal. The gambling activities and online gambling legal framework was once again approved by the Council of Ministers to create more stability and new gambling regulations for the country. This essentially prevents money laundering and fraud as well as ensure online gambling is safe and secure for all players involved. When it comes to taxation, Portugal requests 16% on turnover from all sports betting operations and 30% from casino operations which include online poker. By 2016, the country opened its doors to international operators.
At present, efforts are underway to amend existing gambling legislation in the country. The primary regulatory body for gambling in the country–the SRIJ–is set to present the government a reassessment of the gambling regulatory framework in 2018. This will result in a review of the country’s gambling laws, with amendments expected soon afterward.
Laws And Regulations In Portugal
There are several laws in Portugal pertaining to the gambling industry.
Decree-Law No. 422 – Passed in December 1989, this laws pertains to land-based games of chance, whether in casinos or other establishments. The law was amended by Decree-Law No. 114 passed in 2011 and Decree-Law No. 64 passed in 2015.
Decree-Law No. 66 – Passed in April 2015, this law pertains to online gambling activities, which in Portugal is known as RJO. The law was amended by Law No. 13 in May 2017 and Law No. 101 in August 2017.
There are also a number of acts aimed at addressing specific aspects of the gambling industry. These include:
Law No. 83 – Passed in August 2017, this pertains to AML/FT measures.
Law No. 68 – Known as the Data Protection Regulation, this was passed in October 1998.
Portugal’s Governing Body For Poker
The main regulatory agency for gambling in Portugal is Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo (SRIJ).
This body is tasked with the monitoring, inspection, and regulation of the following activities:
Land-based games of chance – This includes poker and most other types of casino games.
Online gambling – Includes games of chance and fixed-odds sports and horserace betting.
The SRIJ also works with and provides support to police and law enforcement agencies in the identification and prevention of illegal land-based games of chance. As part of its mandate, the SRIJ may coordinate with ISPs with the goal of preventing access to and engaging in online gambling activities.
Legal Age To Gamble In Portugal
In Portugal, entry into casinos and card rooms is restricted to those 18 years and older. Similar restrictions apply to online gambling establishments that accept players from Portugal.
In addition, some land-based casinos allow entry only to players aged 25 and older if they are Portuguese natives.
What Should You Look for in an Online Portuguese Poker Site?
In February 2018, online poker players in Portugal received the green light to share liquidity with their counterparts in Spain and France, after Portugal approved the regulations. The regulatory body of Portugal, the Servico Regulacao e Inspecao Jogos do Turismo de Portugal, approved regulations that governed the technical requirements for licensed online poker sites in Portugal, namely PokerStars, to share liquidity with online websites in the regulated markets of Spain and France.
Although Portugal recently joined the player pool of Spain and France, there still a hitch for Portugal players as some games won’t be provided to them due to certain discrepancies regarding the rake. While online poker tournaments will be much larger thanks to the addition of a new market, Portugal will be absent from all standard cash games. Obviously, Zoom cash games are included, but regular ring games won’t be provided to Portugal at the moment.
This resulted in the fact that Portugal would not permit PokerStars to apply a rake percentage of 5.75%. However, to make life a little easier for Portuguese players, the company agreed to decrease the rake on Zoom cash games to 5% to meet licensing stipulations within the country. Apart from Portugal, Spain, and France, the player pool has grown recently as Italy also joined the fold to share liquidity among its neighbouring countries. This means tournaments now offer larger prize pools, and the quality of service is improved as additional agents have been assigned to cater to the Portuguese player base.
Apart from PokerStars being the first official online poker room to offer its services to the players in Portugal, you will also find a handful of other online poker rooms that gladly accept players from the country. However, you won’t find the same leading poker rooms on the list as most of them retracted from Portugal a few years ago.
Popular Poker Tournaments Hosted In Portugal
In 2017, Portugal was the site of the WSOP International Circuit tournament. The event took place from May 2 to May 7 at the Casino Estoril.
During the same year, PokerStars held the MEGASTACK series events in Portugal and Spain. The series took place during the fall and winter in Valencia, Estoril, and Madrid.
Portuguese Poker Players To Watch Out For
Some of the finest players on the international poker scene have come from Portugal. These include such familiar names as Nuno Coelho, Henrique Pinho and Joao Nunes, all of who are Team PokerStars Pros. Players such as Joao Barbosa, Fernando Brito, Antonio Matias and Ricardo Sousa have also made waves in the local poker scene as well as abroad.
Here are some of the most respected names in Portuguese poker:
The winner of the 2008 EPT Warsaw, Barbosa has earned nearly $1.3 million throughout his tournament career.
In 2010, he won the $2k NLHE tournament at the EPT San Remo, and was the champion in the 2011 EPT Deauville High-Roller and 2008 Unibet Open Madrid events.
A member of the Team PokerStars Pro, Coelho was the Portuguese representative to the 2007 PokerStars World Cup of Poker.
Primarily an online player specializing in high-stakes events, he only participates in live tournaments in Portugal and nearby countries.
Also a member of Team PokerStars Pro Portugal, Nunes is a former pro basketball player who has since taken up pro poker.
He is responsible for founding one of the most popular online poker portals in the country “PokerPT“.
Banking Options for Portuguese Players
All tradition deposit/withdrawal methods are available to Portuguese residents. This includes e-wallets, direct bank deposits, prepaid cards and credit cards if allowed by your financial institution.
It should be noted that some withdrawal methods may incur withdrawal fees so it ideal to check before withdrawing.
Portuguese players that wish to play poker online may make deposits and withdraw winnings via the following methods:
- Credit cards and debit cards
- E-wallet services
- Prepaid cash vouchers
- Bank wire transfers
- Wire transfer services
Currencies Used In Portuguese Poker Rooms
The Euro is the sole form of currency in Portugal.
Keep in mind that under Portuguese law, crypto currencies such as Bitcoin may not be used for gambling.
Playing poker in Portugal is about as simple and as trouble-free as you would expect from any country in which the gambling industry is subject to regulation.
From land-based casinos and card rooms to online gambling establishments, there are certainly more than enough opportunities for you to enjoy your favourite game whether you are a native of the country or you are simply in town for a visit. And with more and more globally recognized brands holding tournament stops in the country, it is safe to say that poker is alive and well in Portugal.
FAQs when playing poker in Portugal
Is poker considered a game of chance in Portugal?
Games of chance are those wherein the result or outcome is solely dependent on luck. Because poker involves a certain degree of skill, it doesn’t belong to the category of chance-based games.
Is poker one of the approved online gambling activities in Portugal?
Certain types of online gambling activities are allowed under Portuguese law. In addition to card games such as blackjack, the law also allows games of poker played in tournament mode, non-banked variants of poker such as Omaha, Texas Hold’ em, and synthetic poker, and stud poker.
How do I determine whether or not an online gambling website is allowed in Portugal?
All legit online casinos and card rooms will be listed on the Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service website. Any site that is accessible from Portugal but is not on the list should be considered illegal, and should be avoided.
Can I play at any online poker site in Portugal?
Yes. The Portuguese government banned all online gambling websites not licensed within Portugal. Therefore residents can only access those licensed within the country and are unable to access international online poker sites without using a VPN. The only online poker room that is officially licensed in the country is PokerStars.
What are the risks of illegal online gambling in Portugal?
Playing on an illegal gambling site opens you up to certain risks, even if you aren’t likely to be prosecuted for such activities. You there is no assurance of the safety and security of your money for starters, and you will have no legal recourse if something goes wrong. There is also a significant risk of data theft and/or unauthorized access of your personal and financial information.
Who do I play against at PokerStars?
Currently, those residing in Portugal are only able to play against residents of France, Spain, and Italy. This makes the cash tables and tournaments far softer when compared to the international player pool, and PokerStars frequently establishes an exclusive online poker tournament aimed towards this unique European market.
Can I claim bonuses and promotions from legal online poker sites in Portugal?
Yes. The same sign-up bonuses made available to others at PokerStars is available to those in Portugal. In addition, other promotions as assigned by PokerStars will allow participation from those residing in Portugal. This includes reload bonuses, rakeback, bonuses and satellite promotions.
Am I able to track other players?
Yes and no. This will depend on the poker room you are playing with. Some will allow you to search for other players, while others will not. If allowed, it will show all tables an individual player is seated at or tournaments they are playing in.
I want play using my smartphone, is this possible?
Most poker sites will offer a mobile poker app, or access via a mobile web browser. It should be noted that not all sites will offer an app for all smartphones. Generally, most will support android, windows and iOS devices.
When is the best time to play poker online?
That will depend on the poker site, and the geographical location to which you reside. As a general rule, those poker rooms with high traffic will always have acceptable traffic numbers so that finding a cash game or tournament will not be difficult.
How long does it take to get my winnings after I request a withdrawal?
This will depend on the method of payment you have requested. It will also depend on the poker room as each will have different withdrawal times. E-wallets are the fastest method to receive payment, bank and credit card withdrawals will take longer, in some cases up to 7 business days.
Will I be required to download software to play poker online?
Depending on the poker site you are electing to register with, yes and no. However, most sites, but not all, will offer access via a web-browser for those who prefer not to download software. This can apply to desktop and mobile devices.
Are any winnings earned from online poker taxable?
All winnings earned from playing online payment from Portugal are not subject to taxes. The appropriate taxes are the responsibility of the licensed online casino operators.