Introduction to Pub Poker
Did you know that poker is played in British pubs? They have grown in popularity since the early noughties and have continued to this day, with various regional and national leagues. Texas Hold’em is usually played in tournament format and whilst the essence of Texas Hold’em doesn’t change whether you are in Vegas, playing online or in a pub, the rules and regulations do.
Pub Poker Law
The Gambling Act 2005 governs the laws around pub poker. Like most laws it is quite exhaustive and wordy, but certainly worth a read if you are a pub owner considering opening a poker league. Here are some key points to remember.
£100 Maximum Prize Limit Per Person Per Tournament
A player cannot win any more than £100 in each tournament. This is why leagues are popular as it affords a player to win several hundred, over weeks. The prize may be awarded at the end of the league and can exceed £100, provided the player played the required number of events e.g. 3 tournaments would result in a cap of £300 for said player.
The great thing about poker leagues is that multiple tournaments and weeks of play mean less variance and generally the better players will come out on top. This is not always the case in a single tournament with a fast structure.
£5 Maximum Stake
The most a player can spend in a pub poker tournament is set at £5. That is about the cost of 1 pint in the South of England. The threshold is set so low to dissuade any chance of “high stakes” action developing. Perhaps it is also set low to remind players and pub owners that it is not a casino or card room with a gaming license.
No Rake, No Fees, No Charges
Pubs cannot charge entrants a rake or house fee for hosting a tournament. They are not supplying dealers and are not a casino thus are not permitted to charge entrants for the privilege. Their custom in buying alcohol and food and repeat business is what they are after. Poker is merely a means of advertising their services and to get footfall. With so much done online these days, poker at the pub can be a fun social activity and help local business too.
Pub poker is a cheap fun. You get the camaraderie amongst the other players, cash rewards and entertainment while you have a cold beer and chips. I love the idea of pub poker leagues. It is a neat way for friends to get introduced to poker and see what it’s about, in a relaxed setting. The most you can lose in a night is £5 and you gain experience and have a lot of fun too. The friendly rivalry and banter amongst those in the league are awesome too.
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