Poker in Italy


The Roman Empire exists nowadays. No, the shores of Mediterranean Sea are not under its power. In the beginning of the third millennium it consists of tens of poker clubs spread all over Italy.

Why do we recall The Roman Empire? Well, because it was the start of gambling on this territory. Legionnaires dealt with boredom with the only way possible – by playing a game of Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum (backgammon predecessor).

It was a long time ago. The first casino in Italy appeared in the first half of the 17th century. A hundred years before that some game recalling todays bingo was popular.

Well, Italy is a place for gambling establish by Gods themselves! However, country administrations opinion on that matter is the opposite. Straight (but not always correct) separation of gambling games on those based on luck and those based on skill was interfering with development of gambling industry in the country.

In the end of 2000s full-scale legalization of gambling has begun. Texas Hold’em was defined as a game of skill in 2007.

Nowadays we can call Italy a poker reservation, at least online poker reservation for sure. The game in the country is only for locals. That is the reason PokerStars has it’s own section with Italian domain and separate pool of players.

Where do they play poker in Italy?

Italy has only five casinos, and one of them (Venetian) is of two “affiliates”, one of which works in the summer and the other on winters.

To tell you more, there are no casinos in Rome. Yes and not all the five gambling houses have poker rooms.

The most popular poker directions are San Remo and Venetia.  In the first case it is Casino Municipale di Sanremo, where European Poker Tour takes place for many years.


Casino di Sanremo

World Poker Tour often comes to Venetian Casino Municipale di Venezia. Then there is Italian poker tour.

And here is an interesting part. Italy is one of few countries, where poker life is burning away from traditional casinos. There are about 80 poker clubs and they are spread all over the country. Rome, Milan, Florentia, Catania, Bologna, Parma, Salerno are just few of the places where poker clubs are situated. So poker live in Italia lives and thrives.

The biggest number of clubs is in Rome and its suburbs – about 10 of them. Kinky ClubDonkey’s RoomCotton Club and other clubs are situated in the capital.

Tournaments and cash games in Italy

Buy-ins to Italian tournaments in practically all the cases are not bigger than €100.. Those who like bigger stakes can go to Italian Poker Tour, EPT и WPT.


Casino di Venezia

Stake in cash games are not very big either: from €1/€2 to €5/€10. Casino Di Campione for example is very suitable place for it.

Who plays poker in Italy?

Many compare poker in Italy with aquarium. In a sense that fish swims in closed space there – a little bit of fish food – and you caught it. Well, it’s not quite like that but there is come sense in such logic.

Italy is a very popular country for tourists. Florentia, Rome, Venetia, San Remo are the cities where  a lot of “fresh blood” appears daily.

Italians have never been good at poker. Ni, there is a bunch of famous players, among whom are Mustapha Kanit, Antonio Buonanno, Luca Pagano, Dario Sammartino, Andrea Dato, Rocco Palumbo, Giacomo Fundaro and others, but there are no top  stars. And there are none in online poker of course.


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