Online Poker in the United Kingdom

Online Poker UK

The online poker boom of the early 2000s had an influence on nearly the entire the world but the UK in particular was a hotbed for online poker activity.

Texas Hold’em may have been born in the US but it has certainly found a welcome home in the United Kingdom.

Prominent UK players started making an annual journey to the World Series of Poker and eventually the European Poker Tour and WSOP Europe brought big buy-in tournaments to the UK, a lot of them having started playing heavily online as well.

Hold’em, Seven-Card Stud and especially Pot-Limit Omaha all found a home in the UK.

These days it’s a bit of a golden age for UK with access to more online poker sites than ever before and massive pools of opponents to face off against. Thanks to the UK’s progressive online gambling laws its easy to get started with online poker and start raking in pots immediately.

There’s never been a better time to be a UK-based online poker player!

Where to play online poker in the UK

Rank Poker Site Rating Best Sign-Up Bonus Why? Play Now
1. 888poker UK 8.9 100% up to $888 Regular: 100% / $400
  • Great promos
  • Award-winning software
  • Diverse tournament schedule
Play Now Free Download
2. PokerStars 8.5 100% up to $600
  • Superior selection of cash games and tournaments
  • Amazing software and selection of poker variants
  • Zoom Poker makes it easier to generate player points
Play Now Free Download
3. Unibet Poker 8.2 100% up to £500 Regular: 100% / £400
  • Easily completable "challenges" with actual awards
  • Lots of soft small-stakes tournaments for beginners
  • Available for OSX and Windows
Play Now Free Download
4. Tiger Gaming 7.9 100% up to $2,500 Regular: 100% / $1,000
  • Great community and games for beginner players
  • Wide variety of soft games with average-to-bad players
  • Massive Bad Beat Jackpots
Play Now Free Download
5. 7.8 100% up to €1,500 Regular: 100% / €1,000
  • Great value with a very weak player base
  • Wide variety of games
  • Substantial sign-up bonus
Play Now Free Download
6. Full Tilt 7.3 100% up to $1,200 Regular: 100% / $500
  • Millions in guaranteed prize money each week
  • Excellent loyalty program called Edge
  • Backed by PokerStars
Play Now Free Download

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Is Poker played online Legal in the UK?

Poker legal in UK

Online poker is not only legal in the United Kingdom but the market has actually served as one of the benchmarks for the entire industry.

Quite simply: The UK is one of the best places in the world to play online poker.

In some countries it’s nearly impossible to get money onto online poker sites but in the UK it’s incredibly easy to get up and running in no time.

You have access to a wide variety of deposit options, a ton of different games and poker sites and some of the most lucrative promotions. There are even special free tournaments for UK players where you can win something for nothing.

As long as you are 18 years of age or older, you’re pretty much good to go within minutes.

Is Poker Tax Free in the UK?

poker taxes

Yes. In fact the UK’s tax laws have attracted numerous professional poker players to live in London including famous Scandinavians like Viktor Blom and 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Peter Eastgate.

In the UK it’s the operators that carry the responsibility to pay taxes. Both domestic and foreign online poker sites are taxed at 25% but that doesn’t affect the individual player.

Interestingly UK players also get some of the best tax breaks when they play prestigious live tournaments like the World Series of Poker. Unlike Americans they pay no tax on their winnings.

There have been rumblings for years that professional poker players would be taxed but for now online poker remains blissfully tax free in the UK.

How Will Brexit Affect Online Poker?

Brexit and Online Poker

It’s tough to say. So far there haven’t been any drastic changes although a few operators are considering leaving the market to operate in the EU.

Some of the biggest online poker sites in the world are based on the Isle of Man and Gibraltar, which are both special territories.

It seems likely that the UK will continue to be a hotbed for poker activity although some of the operators may move their bases of operation away from the country.

There’s a very good chance all UK players would still be able to play on sites that aren’t located in the country since that’s how it works now.

Can I Play Online Poker in London?

Online poker in UK cities

You can definitely play online poker in London. You can also play in Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow or even Wales if you so choose.

Online poker is fully accessible to anywhere in the UK where you have access to a computer and a passable internet connection. Actually, you don’t even need the computer.

As long as you have a mobile device (aka smart phone) you can literally play anywhere in the UK where you get cell service.

Of course London is also a good place to get in live poker as well if you’re looking to switch things up.

Where can I play online poker in the UK?

where to play online poker

UK poker players have access to more poker sites than nearly anyone else in the world so picking one to play on can actually be a bit of a challenge.

There are large poker sites with massive player bases and tons of games to play and then there are smaller sites with aggressive promos and sometimes worse players. It’s really up to you to decide what you would prefer to play. The only thing you really need to make sure is that you’re playing on a safe and secure site.

These days that isn’t too difficult as all the sites that are featured on toplists (such as the ones here) must go through an auditing process. Therefore it all comes down to personal preference. If you’re a high-volume player then you’ll likely be right at home on one of the high-volume sites.

On the other hand if you’re a part-time poker player you might enjoy getting a crack at the sometimes softer games offered on smaller sites.

There are also a few online poker sites that are based in the UK. There isn’t really a huge advantage to playing on these sites but there are some good ones and it’s worth looking into.

We suggest doing a little bit of research and reading a few online poker site reviews. If you really want to get started ASAP just pick a popular site listed on a toplist.


Can I Satellite into UK Live Tournaments?

live tournaments

Absolutely. Pretty much every domestic UK tournament offers a qualifying schedule online.

Qualifying online is actually one of the best ways to circumvent the cost of a big buy-in live tournament.

For some tours you’ll be restricted to qualifying on a particular online poker site but there are other live tournament tours that offer satellites on a wide variety of sites.

There are a few different ways you can go about it as many sites run big MTTs where they award a set number of seats. There are also what’s called “Steps” programs where you can start at the bottom, sometimes for as little as a pound or less, and work your way up to a live tournament seat by winning a series of Sit & Go’s.

There are very few risks in playing online satellites as you can start as low as you want.

How Long Have People Been Playing Poker in the UK?

poker in the uk

Poker actually has a rich history in the UK.

It’s not exactly clear where the modern form of poker began but historians believe it started as the 17th century French game called Poque or the Persion game of As-Nas.

Regardless the game was popularized in the United States and then Canada but then made its way back to Europe, specifically to the UK.

It was actually the Irish who helped popularize the game in the UK as Terry Rogers, Noel Furlong and Donnacha "The Don" O’Dea found success at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas in the 1980s.

In 1999 the UK poker scene got arguably its biggest boost ever thanks to the introduction Late Night Poker, which introduced many players to the game.

Over the years David “Devilfish” Ulliott, Roland de Wolfe, Vicky Coren, Sam Trickett and Liv Boeree have helped make the game even more popular.


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