Can you play poker in Philippines? Are the best online poker sites available in the Philippines? The answer to both is yes. However, as you’ll discover, the market is slightly more complex than you might expect. We will say from the outset that poker is legal in the Philippines. That’s important. However, when it comes to online regulations, tax, making payments, and more, there are some nuances you need to know.
This guide to Filipino poker gives you the full picture. From the Filipino poker sites you can use, the laws you need to know, and the casinos you can visit, it’s all covered. So, if you’re ready to play poker in Philippines, try your hand at tournaments, and enjoy a whole lot more, scroll down for a complete guide to Filipino gaming.
Online poker in the Philippines is legal, but not in the way you might assume. Basically, there are now laws banning online poker. However, at the same time, there aren’t any laws that permit online poker in the Philippines. In industry speak, the Philippines is a “grey market” without a formal regulatory framework. That means it’s not illegal to play online poker.
However, at the same time, there are no Philippines poker sites and poker apps. In fact, it’s illegal for any company based in the Philippines to run an online poker site. That means there’s no such thing as a poker license in Philippines. But, and this is important, it’s not illegal for offshore operators to offer their services to local players. Therefore, if you’re in the Philippines, there are plenty of legit poker sites to play on.
As well as poker online in the Philippines, locals can visit one of the country’s 50+ live casinos. The biggest player in the live casino market is the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). This state-owned organization controls the majority of casinos in the Philippines. However, it’s not a monopoly. There are other operators. However, PAGCOR is unique in that it’s an operator as well as the body in charge of gambling in the Philippines.
It might sound like an unfair system but it’s one that works fairly well. Basically, PAGCOR is there to encourage smaller operators to open live casinos and poker rooms. It sets the standards that others have to follow. So, it’s not a strict regulator like the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). What’s more, PAGCOR doesn’t control poker sites in the Philippines. As long as an operator is regulated and licensed somewhere else in the world, it can offer legal online poker in the Philippines.
Manila is the hub for all things poker and gambling in the Philippines. Manila poker rooms host national and international events. For example, PokerStars Philippines has brought the Asian Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) to Manila and other regions.
Large poker clubs in the Philippines located in Manila also host Asia Poker Tour (APT) events as well World Poker Tour (WPT) tournaments. Basically, if you want to know where to play poker in the Philippines, Manila is a great place to start.
Best Poker Philippines Sites
OK, so now we know online poker in the Philippines is legal. The next question is where can you play? More specifically, what is the best poker website in the Philippines? Well, given that poker Philippines apps are all based offshore, it’s hardly surprising that the world’s top operators are in the mix. Basically, when you play online poker in the Philippines, you’re playing on global networks.
That means you can compete against players who are in non-ring-fenced markets. Therefore, anyone that wants to become the Philippines top poker player will have to prove their skills against the best from Europe, UK and Canada, and other parts of Asia. Of course, you don’t have to try and prove you’re the best. As long as you’re having fun in a responsible way, that’s all that matters. With that in mind, here are names to look out for when it comes to poker in the Philippines online.
PokerStars is, arguably, the most popular online poker site in the Philippines. Because you get to play on the international network, there are hundreds of games to choose from. From cash games and SNGs, to some of the best Philippines poker tournament action around, PokerStars is the place to be. You will have to view the site in English and there may be certain currency conversion fees when you make deposits and withdrawals.
888Poker has been active since 1997. During that time it’s not only built up a reputation for excellence but an impressive collection of products. Cash games, SNGs, and MTTs come as standard. However, when you create an account, you’ll also be able to play lottery-style SNGs with jackpots topping $300,000. You can also try your hand at fast-fold poker and unlock a plethora of promotions, including a welcome bonus worth up to £300.
Partypoker is one of the original online poker sites. Although it fell from grace in the mid-noughties, it found its way back to the top through a combination of hard work and dedication to customer service. Indeed, as well as making its games better for novices by banning HUDs, you can play poker with friends in your own private games. Add to this a neat selection of low and mid-stakes games, plus rakeback and a welcome bonus worth up to £400, and Partypoker Philippines is a great place to play.
Poker ZingPlay Philippines
For something a little different, you can try ZingPlay. This is a free-play social poker site similar to Global Poker and Zynga. The only game in town on ZingPlay is Texas Hold’em and the overriding theme is part anime, part Vegas showgirl. There are free-play cash games and tournaments. You also get free gold coins every day and you can take part in competitions and promotions to earn more.
Poker Games in Philippines
Sit down at a virtual poker table in Philippines and you’ll find all manner of games. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing cash games, SNGs, or MTTs, there are plenty of variants to choose from. Naturally, Hold’em and Omaha dominate. The former is available in Limit, Pot Limit, and No Limit formats. The latter can be played as Pot Limit or Hi/Lo.
There may also be some Stud and Draw games running online, but there won’t be much action. It’s the same for Short Deck Hold’em aka 6+ Hold’em. This variant actually originated in Asia and became popular because it’s action-packed. Basically, all cards lower than a six have been removed. This messes with the hand rankings which makes it harder to make a flush than a full house. The altered dynamics make for a lot more gambling and, therefore, bigger pots. You should be able to find Short Deck Hold’em among the leading poker sites in the Philippines.
Live Events in Philippines (Mainly Manila)
Scroll through the Philippines poker tournament 2021 schedule, or any year for that matter, and you’ll find a variety of events. From live showdowns in the country’s largest casinos, to online MTTs and satellites, you’ll never be short of action if you’re a fan of poker tournaments.
If you’re looking for a poker tournament in Manila, you can count on the Asia Poker Tour, the Asian Pacific Poker Tour, and the WPT to be in town throughout the year. There will be online satellites as well as local live qualifiers for the main events. You’ll also be able to play in small side events with buy-ins of $100 or less.
When it comes to poker Philippines online tournaments, PokerStars and Partypoker are the top options. Although 888Poker has a solid selection of MTTs, it’s no match for its two rivals. Partypoker hosts some fantastic festivals, including the Online Millions.
PokerStars leads the way when it comes to weekly action. From the $11 Sunday Storm to the $109 Sunday Million with its $1 million guaranteed prize pool, there’s no better place to play online poker tournaments in the Philippines than PokerStars.
Poker Bonus Offers and Promotions in Philippines
Every poker player in the Philippines can get more for less when they go online. The best Philippines poker sites not only give you access to great games and software but a steady stream of added value. Regardless of the level you play at or the games you prefer, there’s something for everyone. Some of the Philippines poker bonuses to look out for are:
All news customers can get welcome bonuses when they join a Filipino poker site. The rewards will vary from site to site but, in general, you’ll receive a certain amount of free cash based on the size of your deposit. This money is released incrementally each time you contribute a certain amount of rake.
These are the same as welcome bonuses but open to existing players. Basically, you’ll receive extra credits based on the size of your deposit. For example, if a Filipino online poker room was offering a 50% reload bonus and you deposited $50, you’d receive $25 in free credits (50% of $50 = $25).
Loyal players can pad their bankrolls with rakeback and VIP rewards. These poker promotions give you something extra based on the amount you play each week/month. You’ll earn points each time you pay a certain amount of rake. These points can then be converted into free cash, tournament tickets, and exclusive prizes.
Freerolls and Free Tournament Tickets
The final way to get more for less at Philippines poker sites is MTT tickets. Freerolls are free to enter but have cash prizes or tournament tickets up for grabs. These tickets can be used to enter more lucrative MTTs where you can win money that’s yours to keep. Therefore, you can play free Philippines poker tournaments and, if you’re able to go deep enough, bank some cash prizes without spending any money.
By now you should know how to play Filipino poker. You should also know where to play and what’s on the menu. All of this is useful information but, if you don’t know how to buy online poker chips in the Philippines, you’ll struggle to win cash prizes. Fortunately, the way you pay is pretty simple.
Now, we have to be honest and say that you won’t be able to make deposits or withdrawals in Philippines Peso. Because you’ll be using offshore operators with international networks, the onsite currency will always be USD. This can incur currency conversion charges, which isn’t ideal. However, this is a result of Filipino poker laws preventing local companies from offering online gambling.
The good news is that you will have plenty of secure payment options to choose from. For example, the PokerStars Philippines deposit page lists reputable processors like:
Possible cryptocurrency options.
These aren’t commonly available at the leading online poker sites. However, this is an evolving part of the industry, so don’t be shocked if you see the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin offered in the future. Finally, in terms of limits, the average minimum deposit is $10. It’s usually the same on the way out and withdrawals are typically processed within 24 hours.
Top Philippines Poker Players
The Philippines might not be a hotbed of poker talent like the US, UK, and parts of Europe. However, plenty of skilled players are starting to emerge. Indeed, if you look through the GPI Philippines poker database and Hendonmob all-time money list, you’ll see the top-ranked pros have enjoyed success on the international stage. To give you an idea of who you can aim to beat, here are some of the best poker players from the Philippines:
Rivera is one of poker’s true underdog stories. In fact, he could be described as the Filipino equivalent of Chris Moneymaker. Why? Well, because he turned PokerStars Platinum Pass into a series of wins worth more than $2 million. OK, so it’s not quite the same as Mr Moneymaker.
Rivera was a strong Omaha player with just over $300,000 in live tournament earnings before he won an APPT Manila National event. However, that win propelled him to the next level. As well as the $86,000 top prize, he bagged a PokerStars Platinum Pass. That allowed him to travel the world playing tournaments and, most notably, finish third in the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Players Championship for $2.1 million!
Like Rivera, Takayama also picked up a PokerStars Platinum Pass on route to become a national icon. However, unlike his Rivera, Takayama’s breakout performance didn’t come at a PokerStars event. Instead, he did something no other Filipino had done before: he won a WSOP bracelet. That’s impressive but so too is the way in which he won. Takayama had to beat over 2,000 entrants in the $1,000 Super Turbo Bounty event. That win in 2018 was worth $198,568 and earned Takayama a place in history. He’s since gone on to cash in other events and take his lifetime earnings above $1.4 million.
Francisco is one of the original hot shots when it comes to Filipino poker. He was flying over to Las Vegas and cashing in WSOP events long before the game became an online hit. In fact, if you look at his record, Francisco’s first tournament cash was a seventh-place-finish in a $1,500 event at the 1982 WSOP. Sadly, he passed away in 1975 aged 75. However, Francisco is a certified legend within the Philippines poker community and (at the time of writing) still the third biggest winner with $1.3 million in tournament earnings.
Yes. Live poker is legal in just over 20 casinos in the Philippines. There aren’t any laws permitting online poker, but neither are there any laws banning it. Therefore, offshore operators are legally allowed to serve local players.
Is casino legal in Philippines?
Yes. There are more than 50 casinos in the Philippines. Most are controlled by the state-owned entity known as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
Are there casinos in the Philippines?
Yes, there are plenty of legal casinos in the Philippines. Some of the biggest Filipino casinos are Resorts World Manila, Solaire Resort & Casino, and Casino Filipino Bacolod.
What is the best poker website in Philippines?
The best poker online poker room in the Philippines is PokerStars. However, you can also find great games, products, and promotions on 888Poker and Partypoker.
Is PokerStars Philippines legal?
Yes, it is. As a legal and licensed offshore poker operator, PokerStars is able to offer its services to Filipino poker players.
Is 888poker Philippines available?
Yes, you can play on 888Poker in the Philippines. The site will be in English and USD is used at the tables. However, as an offshore operator, it’s allowed to serve local players.
Where to play poker in the Philippines?
When most people want to play, they think of three words: “poker Manila Philippines”. In other words, Manila is the place to go if you want the best poker action in the Philippines. Live games are available elsewhere, as are online poker sites. However, Manilla is the hub of Filipinio poker.
How do I play Filipino poker?
You can play Filipino poker any way you want. You can pick up a poker set in the Philippines and play at home. You can visit a local poker room or you can go online and play. The choice is yours.
Who’s the best poker player in the Philippines?
Marc Rivera and Mike Takayama are two of the best Filipino poker players. The former has more than $2 million in live earnings, while the latter became the first WSOP bracelet winner from the Philippines in 2018.
Do you pay taxes from poker winnings in Manila?
Tax on poker winnings is a tricky subject in the Philippines. Local sources say that few players actually declare their profits. However, as per the tax code, wins of PHP 10,000 or less are taxed at between 5% and 10%. Wins over PHP 10,001 are taxed at 20%.