Poker underground is bigger than many people think

Poker is a popular game that you can play both in a real casino and online. Even a live version is already possible online. Then it’s usually legal (provided you choose a reliable casino) but there are also plenty of sites and locations where Poker can be played illegally.

This is a phenomenon that has been around for a long time but is still common today. Poker nights are also organized privately but are often permitted.

Want to gamble illegally?

Quite a lot can be won with the game of Poker, especially if you are good at it. Many players find it attractive to gamble in an illegal game of Poker because you don’t pay taxes on your winnings. And doing something that is actually illegal is always very exciting. As a player you can then choose to play online Poker but most find it attractive to participate in games that are organized illegally or in anonymity. The stakes are often high and the games are played as much as possible in anonymity. Especially if people are well known, they don’t want it to get out that they are also taking a gamble from time to time.

Rules differ per country or state

In the following continents you will encounter underground Poker tournaments and parties, or organized illegally. You will find them in Asia, Europe, Australia, the United Kingdom as well as in the United States. Not everywhere are the laws about this the same and they even differ sometimes within a country. We have listed the main issues for you.

Poker in Asia

Let’s first take a look at what’s going on in Asia. In countries such as China, Macau and Hong Kong, underground poker tournaments and clubs are strictly regulated. It does happen, but the main criteria are that taxes are paid and that there are permits. In Japan Poker is also very popular and widely played. In Singapore, an underground or illegal Poker tournament is not allowed and should you organize an illegal tournament, you run a great risk of being arrested.

Poker in Europe

If we look at Europe, we can roughly divide the countries there into different groups when it comes to Poker. In countries like Spain and Italy, Poker is regulated. In countries such as Bulgaria, Albania and the Czech Republic, this is not yet the case, but a law is being drafted. In the vast majority of countries belonging to the EU, Poker is allowed by law, and you may just organize private parties of Poker.

Especially if the game is not available to do elsewhere where it can be done in public, you may arrange it yourself. Poker is by no means equally popular everywhere and in casinos you will usually find few special areas where it can be played. Little distinction is made between Poker in a real or online casino.

Poker in Australia

In Australia, all gambling games, including Poker, are regulated. It doesn’t matter whether it’s gambling in a real casino or online gambling. There are plenty of casinos where you can therefore participate in the game of Poker. Underground Poker also occurs here but is only allowed under certain circumstances. For example, you may not do this in public places, but only somewhere where you can hold it privately. You may not charge an entry fee for it and you may not organize it for commercial purposes.

Poker in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, gambling legislation is good and well regulated. It is not for nothing that the UK Gambling Commission, which issues gambling licenses, was set up there. Most players in the country prefer to play a game of poker in one of the online casinos because they are easily accessible. Don’t think that playing poker underground is impossible, but it will be illegal in almost all cases, so watch what you do. Having a nice game of poker at home with friends is allowed but make sure it doesn’t become illegal, as it soon will be.

States in the US where it is legal to play Poker

In the United States, there are quite a few differences between the states when it comes to Poker. A distinction can therefore be made between different groups to which certain states belong when it comes to Poker.

  • The first group consists of the states in the USA where it is legal to play a game of Poker at home. Here too there are specific rules such as that you may not charge an entry fee, that it must be done privately and that everyone must have an equal chance of winning. Look carefully to see which states in the US this applies to. You can find an overview online.
  • There is also a group of states in which organizing private parties is allowed but some special rules apply. For example, in these states you need to be able to show what your relationship is with (some of) the other players or show that you knew them before, and not just from the game. There are even states where there are no laws at all regarding Poker because it is not considered a game or skill. Then, of course, it is legal.

States in the USA in which it is illegal to play Poker privately

There are states in the USA in which playing Poker is considered an illegal activity. It is allowed under very special circumstances, but practically always prohibited. For example, it may be permitted if no more than $5 dollars is wagered per round. Sometimes you need to ask permission from the local authorities to host a game. Certain other gambling games may be legal there but Poker is not.

Few casinos offer poker, but all other casino games do.

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Molly’s Room

Now in every country there are illegal venues where you can play Poker but how many there are and where they are exactly is not always clear. After all, they are rather secret because it is not allowed. They usually only come into the public eye when they are raided, so you don’t really know about them at the time of their existence. One example that is well known to many people is Molly’s Room. This was the largest illegal Poker establishment out there. However, when Molly’s existence became a public secret, the occasion was soon over.

The athletic ambition of Molly Bloom

Molly was ambitious as a child. A condition prevented her from skiing again, but she didn’t give up and at age 20 she joined the U.S. Olympic team. Unfortunately, she fell hard while competing and was never able to compete again. By the way, she just fell through brutal bad luck so that was pretty sour.
Molly's Game is the movie based on the story of Molly Bloom
Molly’s Game is the movie based on the story of Molly Bloom

Doing well in her studies

Sports was not her only motivation because she was also doing well in school. She earned a degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado and was allowed to attend Harvard because of her good results. After her fall at the Olympics she decided to postpone her career and went to Los Angeles to start a new life.

Organizing poker tournaments herself

And Molly wouldn’t be Molly if she didn’t go for it full force. She entered the world of gambling and quickly figured out how to organize underground Poker tournaments. At that time she was already working as a dealer in the casino but also as an assistant to someone in Hollywood who let her organize the private Poker games at his home. This is how her career started in this business and Molly’s Room became a phenomenon.

Making your own money with Poker

She quickly became known to all sorts of celebrities and wealthy people in Hollywood who almost begged her for a place at the Poker table. Because her boss had huge debts, he decided to let Molly go but hadn’t taken into account that the Poker games were her earnings and that people kept coming. And so she did become stinking rich from it.

Achieve anything you want

She also got the necessary enemies through the mafia but she managed to win and is famous in the Poker world. Molly is an example of someone who knows what she wants and that you can achieve something as long as you want it and go for it. No matter how lousy something can go sometimes, it can always turn out positive, you can see that with her.

Some facts about underground Poker

To make things clearer, we’ve listed a few facts for you.

  • Underground Poker is not necessarily a criminal activity. The term is also used for private games in people’s homes where the players simply know each other.
  • Read Molly Bloom’s story and learn how you can make money from underground Poker. It does sometimes involve illegal and criminal matters such as prostitution or drugs, but this is far from necessarily the case.
  • Interested in underground Poker? If you are familiar in a certain area, the meetings are often easy to find because people talk about them. If not, inquire with people in the area or at a casino or bar when and where you can gamble.
  • Where exactly it is possible is not always clear. This is because it is often in a secret location. The chance is greater in the big city but remember that it can be illegal. Playing poker in an online casino? No problem because that is allowed.
  • It can be illegal if no tax is paid or if high stakes are placed. Legislation varies greatly from country to country, so always check how this works.