European Online Poker Sites
If you live west of the Atlantic Ocean and love to wager on card games, Europe poker sites may be just what you’re looking for. Some are practically household names among the gambling community, while others are only available in a specific country or state.
Regardless of which option you have access to, you’ll find that playing poker in Europe is both fun and challenging. With the right amount of skill and a little luck, it can also be surprisingly profitable.
Leading Poker Sites for European Players
European players have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to online poker. The following is a brief rundown of some of the leading sites, although dozens more can be located with a little research. Before you sign up at any virtual card room, I suggest reading in-depth reviews to make sure it offers what you’re looking for.
- PokerStars – The largest online poker room on the planet. Based in the Isle of Man, they recently re-entered the U.S. market on a limited basis.
- PartyPoker – This site has been around since 2001. Traditional games are available, but the site also places an emphasis on achievements and missions to keep longtime players and social media junkies interested.
- 888 Poker – Aimed at casual players, this is the second largest poker site. Offers webcam tournaments, an impressive number of cash games, and much more.
Playing Internet Poker in Europe
While people from other parts of the world may regard Europe as one big homogenized landmass, locals realize that there’s often a great deal of difference between the 50+ countries that make up the continent. These variations often crop up in areas such as human rights, religion, and general social attitudes, but they can also have an impact on Internet games such as poker.
Below, I’ve included a small number of European countries and their current attitude towards online poker. This should give you an idea about the diversity of Europe, as well as the importance of doing more in-depth research before opening an account at an online card room.
- France – Poker, along with horse racing and sports betting, are legal online gambling options in France. If a poker room wants to accept French players, they’re supposed to receive a license from a governing body known as ARJEL.
- Spain – As long as they’re licensed for operation within the nation, poker sites can accept Spanish players without breaking local laws.
- Russia – Current laws forbid Russian citizens from participating in online gambling, although plenty of offshore sites still accept customers from the country. Recently, officials have looked at the possibility of legalizing online poker as a way to stimulate the economy.
- United Kingdom – All forms of online gambling are legal, and sites can operate within the law by receiving a license from the UK Gambling Commission.
- Germany – While online gambling was once illegal except for state monopolies, the laws have changed to allowed licensed outside companies to provide a variety of betting options.
- Italy – Licensed sites can legally provide poker, sports betting, and casino gambling to the citizens of Italy.
- Norway – With the exception of two state-run companies that offer lotteries, keno, and sports betting (as well as a few other options), gambling within Norway is prohibited.
Differences between American & European Sites
While all poker sites have certain elements in common, a closer looks reveals a world of difference between sites specializing in American and European customers. In this section, we’ll look at a few of the most prominent variations.
When it comes to software and support, sites that cater to American players tend to have superior navigation. While this isn’t always the case (especially among larger Eurocentric sites), it’s worth noting, as poorly-designed navigation features can lead to misreading the board or clicking on the wrong option in the middle of a hand. As far as customer support goes, smaller European poker sites can sometimes make you wait 24 hours or longer for a response.
Player rewards are strong on both sides of the Atlantic, but European poker sites have an advantage if you’re looking for high rakeback, points for cash, and bonuses for deposits and reloads. For those who like to use their accounts to buy merchandise, you’ll often find a larger selection of items at American-friendly poker rooms.
As far as the actual style of play, U.S. and European poker players are quite different. American sites tend to have games that focus on the traditional style of play, with lots of preflop action. Europeans love to call, and you’ll find a greater amount of action after the flop. Players trying to transition from one style of play to the other can often encounter a fair amount of difficulty in making the adjustment.
European poker sites are available in abundance, although the general style of play can differ greatly from what players on American-friendly sites are used to. Since most nations in Europe tend to be more liberal than other countries, you’ll find that online poker is usually legal, licensed, and easy to find. Combine this with the presence of leading sites such as 888 Poker, PartyPoker, and PokerStars, and you’ve got a combination that’s hard to beat.