Poker in Latvia
In Latvia there are approximately three hundred gambling establishments – mostly slot machine halls used also for playing poker. Most of them are concentrated in Riga.
After the collapse of the USSR Latvia remained alone. As a bottle thrown into the sea, this small Baltic country was slowly approaching a thriving gambling industry.
The first slot machine halls appeared in Latvia in the early 90s. At the beginning entrepreneurs acted carefully – gambling legislation did not actually exist. After the passage of legislation there were made a lot of amendments to it. Through trial and error, Latvian gambling business came to consensus in the issues of gambling industry development.
On the background of the European financial crisis, with significant problems in the gaming world Latvian casino market is notably developing. Every year new gambling halls appear, a number of large networks compete with each other, creating more and more competitive advantages.
The lion’s share of more than 300 gambling establishments in Latvia are gambling machines. Slots is the most popular form of gambling in the country as well as in the Baltic States.
Among the largest gaming networks we can name Olympic Casino and DLV with its twoscore halls under the brand «Zilais Dimants» («Blue Diamond»). Olympiс Casino has almost the same number of halls. Last summer Olympic Casino bought 17 gambling houses from the Latvian company Altea SIA.
Naturally, Riga has a larger half of the casinos and clubs. Notable are also the Europa Club and Royal Casino.
Olympic Voodoo Casino (Riga) is considered to be one of the few poker centers in Latvia. Regular tournaments are held there, including cache playing.
By the way, Riga hosted the stages of Russian Poker Tour twice – in 2010 and 2011. Both times the guests played in Royal Casino. The prize fund of the Main Event of the second stage was € 217,134. A couple of years ago the stage of Eureka Poker Tour was also held here, with the Main Event buy of € 1,100 and three hundred players.
Where to play poker in Latvia?
Cache tables with low limits (up to € 2-4) can be found in Olympic Voodoo Casino and Royal Casino. Friday and weekend games are much more active: many foreigners (not very sober), quite a lot of locals.
Regular tournaments are designed for a few dozen people, buy-ins usually do not exceed € 100. In local series like Baltic Hold’em Series you can play events with buy-ins of several hundred euros. Poker Riga is all about this series.
There are also “poker circles” – small semi-closed groups of poker enthusiasts (about 10 people), who meet once or several times a week. They are not high rollers, but rather “comrades in spirit”, who can easily organize themselves on Skype, rather than wait for opponents in the near casinos.
High Rollers, of course, are also available, but to get into their circle is much more difficult. On the other hand, Latvia is a small country (1.5 million people, half living in Riga), so everyone knows each other.
Thus, poker players should go only to Riga, here the sweetest casinos and clubs are focused. Choice, however, is small – Olympic Voodoo Casino, Royal Casino, maybe a few more places with small bets. High Rollers will have to look for opponents “on the side”. Poker in Riga has places to turn to.