With the US is still developing its regulated market, European poker players can access most online poker sites. And their wide variety of poker tournaments and cash games. Even better, signing up and depositing is a breeze thanks to the many online poker deposit options available. With a combined player pool across France, Spain, Portugal and Italy and several more cross-border poker sites available among EU countries, a true poker community has grown across Europe and the game has become as much a European one as an American one.
We’ve compiled a list of the best European online poker sites below. These are the top poker sites open to European players with superior sign-up bonuses, software and potentially life-changing prize pools. You can also get fantastic qualifiers for the best live European poker tournaments - including the European Poker Tour! The best online poker sites now are European poker sites, for (almost) exclusively to European players.
Read on for a quick guide to the best attributes of online poker in Europe and what European poker sites can offer.
If you're looking specifically for UK Poker Sites, check our toplist with top UK poker sites here.
1. Online Poker for Real Money in Europe is Different
If you've ever sat down for a poker game on both sides of the pond you know that Europeans and U.S. players just play the game of poker differently. And players within various countries in Europe play very differently amongst themselves. In the past you'd find that U.S. players (at the highest level, anyway) played a tighter, more aggressive poker game with most of the action pre-flop while European players loved to see the flop and try to outplay their opponent.
In other words there were more loose calls, more wild play and in general some riskier players. That's changed a bit more in recent years with the rise of the German wunderkinds like Fedor Holz but still, in general, solid players can take advantage of the looser play on online poker sites in Europe. That's not to say Europeans are bad players, because there are tons of good ones, but it's safe to say the willingness to gamble is generally higher. Some of the loosest and more profitable poker games in the world run on European poker sites.
2. European Poker Site Software
While PokerListings-recommended sites have modern software like 888, some smaller European poker sites are known for their less-than-stellar poker apps. Some of these sites are harder to navigate, slower and downright buggy in some cases. The flipside is that you’ll tend to find some very weak competition on the wide variety of Euro poker sites and it can sometimes make financial sense to play on them.
European poker sites can follow in either category. Most of the time it's the same software you'll find anywhere else in the world but there are a few skins that have been specialized for Europe however. Stick to the most popular standalone online poker sites in Europe - or a solid poker network like the iPoker network with skins like Bet365 Poker, etc - and you'll be fine.
3. Online Poker Traffic Volume
It goes without saying that European poker sites are much, much busier during peak playing times in Europe. During the off-hours the sites can have dramatically less traffic than some of the international poker rooms, however. No-Limit Hold’em games are usually easy to find at all hours of the day but it can be difficult to find other games. The one exception is Pot-Limit Omaha, which is a big draw for European poker sites. You might need to sign up for two Euro-only rooms if you want to be 8-tabling at all times of the day as their overall volume tends to be slightly smaller.
4. Promos & Rewards
European online poker sites tend to offer some huge rewards to loyal players. In general the sign-up bonuses tend to be higher and the loyalty programs tend to require less player points to receive perks. The best poker sites for European players have been making a huge push for more sign-ups lately and the sign-up bonuses are reaching record highs. Make sure to shop around a little before signing up for an online poker site as there are some huge differences in the various bonuses from site to site. A good sign-up bonus can make a huge difference in building a fledgling bankroll. Check here for our current poker bonus codes for European players.
5. European Poker Tour Tournaments
Europe plays host to some incredible live tournaments including the European Poker Tour, WPT International, Irish Poker Open and even PokerListings' own Battle of Malta. Fortunately almost all European poker sites offer some fantastic ways to qualify for live tournaments that take place in Europe. Some of the best satellite tournaments have buy-ins that start at less than $1, which could make for a remarkable poker vacation. The best European poker sites like PokerStars, partypoker, 888poker and Unibet Poker all offer satellites and packages for their own live tours so your opportunities to get out there and play a real-money live poker tournament in an amazing locale are plentiful.
6. Real-Money Poker In Your Own Currency
Another positive feature of most European poker sites is the way that they display local currencies. The international global language is of course USD but European poker sites usually offer the chance to display your account balance in your preference of euros or the pound. It's not completely necessary but it's a nice feature for players who don't want to do a little extra math.
7. Deposit Options for European Poker Sites
Playing on one of the best European poker sites dramatically increases both your deposit and withdrawal options. If you're playing on a licensed and regulated site in the UK, for example, well, Bob's your uncle. You can pretty much pick and choose between any payment method you would normally use to make an online transaction from your standard debit and credit cards to any eWallet provider.
Other countries like Russia have specific payment methods unique to their banks; check the local poker site FAQ or cashier for more on all of your deposit options or see our Online Poker Deposit Options page here.
European Poker Sites FAQ
Can I deposit and withdraw in my local currency?It depends on the poker site but most online poker sites in Europe will have options for local currencies. The Euro is of course widely available as is the British Pound on UK websites, which is a big advantage over playing at a US-centric poker site where you'll need to pay a fee to exchange your currency and makes deposits and withdrawals. If you want to play in your own currency in Russia, for example, you should look into a site like Lotos Poker which has a lot of local banking options
Can I play against American players on European poker sites?Usually, no - although there may be the odd rogue American playing from overseas on a VPN. There are also many professional online poker players who have moved away from the US to play and now live (or travel often) to Europe. You won't be able to play against an average opponent logging on from, say Kansas, though.
Can I play against Asian players on European poker sites?See above answer about the US. Most European poker sites are restricted to either the EU, the Scandinavian countries, the UK or a shared poker pool like the recent agreement between France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
What are the Tax Rules for European poker sites?That really depends on the country you live in. Some poker sites in Europe are subject to both European Commission (EC) taxation and taxed by their home country. Some are just subject to the local tax authorities. Some European poker sites and countries are exempt from both EC taxation and home-country taxation. It can really come down to where the site is licensed and regulated and its physical location. It's best to check with your local tax authorities to know exactly what taxes, if any, you need to pay on poker earnings.
Can I Play on PokerStars.com?That depends on the country you live in. Most Europeans can only play on PokerStars.eu or the the restricted country market (eg. PokerListings.dk). Players in Sweden and Finland can play on the full international PokerStars client. It's best to check directly with PokerStars in the country you live in.