Why is poker popular in the United Kingdom?

poker in the United Kingdom

Poker has a special place in the hearts of people in the United Kingdom. Whether you prefer live, online or both, there are hundreds of thousands of UK poker players. But what is it about poker that interests the British public? We will answer that question in today’s article.

Celebrity faces

Like any hobby or past time, it captures interest when celebrities partake in it. It gives it more exposure. People are interested in what celebrities do and like to copy them in their free time. Fortunately for the poker world, there are plenty of famous faces that love poker and enhance its image among the general British public.

Teddy Sheringham is one of the most famous footballing legends to regularly play poker. He’s often seen playing at major live tournaments. Teddy has an army of footballing fans who undoubtedly tried their hand at poker after seeing Teddy and his poker successes that have followed.

Likewise, Stephen Hendy is another famous UK sportsman who has gained poker notoriety among snooker players. It’s quite common for the best snooker players to try poker in their spare time. His earnings aren’t as impressive as Teddy’s but has cashed in a couple of major tournaments before.  Other notable celebrity poker players include Neymar Jr, Matt Damon, Ed Norton, Lennox Lewis and Victoria Mitchell.

The live scene

Another reason why poker is popular in the UK is the amazing live scene. All over the country there are cardrooms and casinos where enthusiasts can play cash games or tournaments. Brits love nothing more than a drink and banter and the weekend poker games provides this in spades (pardon the pun). That’s why live poker in the UK is booming, especially on the weekends.

Playing live on a weekend is a popular hobby for UK residents. Not only do they get the opportunity to play their favourite poker games, but they also have the social aspect. Brits love to chat at the table. This ranges from the weather to local news, recent events and politics. For tournaments, you’ll often see poker players swapping percentages in the UK. This means you might see their friends sweat them as they make a deep run. This enhances the atmosphere and definitely plays a part in the popularity of poker.

Tax free winnings

Few people like forking out money in taxes. The beauty of playing poker in the UK is the tax advantages it affords winning players. The fact you don’t have to document and report your poker winnings in the UK is a huge perk and certainly a reason enthusiasts love the game.

Unlike many countries where poker winnings are taxed, HMRC doesn’t charge anything on what you win from poker. How great is that? It means all the big tournament wins and great cash games sessions you have are yours, in entirety, if you’re a UK resident. For more information on this, read our UK poker tax article.


As you can see, poker is adored by people in the United Kingdom. With celebrities giving poker greater exposure, the amazing live games running and potential tax-free winnings, UK residents have plenty of reasons to try poker. If you’re in the UK and want to learn more about poker, download our free poker cheat sheet or join our mailing list below to receive our monthly newsletter.

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Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: info@texasholdemquestions.com