It used to be that if you wanted to play poker, you needed a poker room, a casino, or a group of friends who were ready to set up a game. Now, poker is accessible and whether someone is riding a train, relaxing at home, or sitting in a waiting room, it is an option to log in and play online.

Every country sets its own rules on poker, as well as other forms of gambling. Of course, our list of countries where poker is popular is dominated by those who have long accepted poker and other forms of online gambling.

So, which countries have embraced poker the most? We all think of places like Las Vegas when we consider poker but there are hundreds of casinos all over the world as well as poker rooms where gamblers can play, leading to some thriving poker scenes.

Online Casinos Make Poker a Global Game

If somebody logs into a poker site and joins a tournament or a cash game, there’s every chance that there will be players all over the globe sitting around this one virtual table.

Playing poker for real money online even means that many poker players are attempting to “go pro” with America being the most popular country for poker professionals. We see that big tournaments boast some huge prizes. Justin Bonomo, Bryn Kenney, and Phil Ivey are all Americans who are in the top 10 for all-time winnings in poker tournaments, but in the top 20, we also see players from Germany, Canada, England, and Belarus.

Winnings tend to be bigger for in-person tournaments, but online casinos can also provide some appealing prize pots, connecting people all around the world.

There are some countries, such as Germany, where poker is a popular online search, and plenty of people are interested in the game, but there is heavy legislation on the game. This makes it harder for some people to play online, but poker is still popular at in-person venues.

A lot of countries where poker is regulated online, like France, are seeing pressure to legalize online gambling as a way to raise funds and boost the economy.

USA

The USA is arguably the most influential and successful country when it comes to poker. Where would the industry be if the USA hadn’t taken the game and given the world variations like Omaha and the most popular variety, Texas Hold’em?

We know that the USA has continued to evolve when it comes to the poker industry. To play now, you don’t need to go to one of the casinos with a poker room. Many states now allow online poker, with more considering the switch.

Canada

One of the biggest names in poker, Dan Negreanu, is arguably flying the flag for the game in Canada and beyond. He even has a Masterclass online for people who want to learn how to get better at online poker.

Out of 10,000 entrants to the World Series of Poker in 2023, over 100 of them were Canadian. Many Canadian players take the game very seriously and continue to build their skills in the hope of becoming the next Negreanu!

UK

The United Kingdom has more than 60 poker rooms. One of the reasons that poker is thriving is the fact that the UK was quick to regulate the industry when the online poker boom began. Under the Gambling Act of 2005, only commercial high-stakes poker is restricted. Online poker is allowed, along with many other forms of gambling, meaning the UK has a huge poker scene. The European Poker Tour has also visited London, where there are many casino venues and poker tournaments.

France

At the epicenter of the French poker scene is its famous capital, Paris. The World Poker Tour has been held in Paris before, and there have also been European poker events at casinos in the city. This is a romantic spot and the city is known for elegance, glitz, and glamor, earning the nickname the “City of Lights”. It’s perfect for poker.

France has also been relaxing its gambling laws in recent years and while online gambling is still heavily regulated, there have been new bills introduced within France’s National Assembly to try to legalize casino games. Sports gambling is already legal in the country.

A look at Google Trends shows that French interest was huge in the early 2000s, during the poker boom, but with new proposals to legalize online gambling, it could be the start of another industry boom.

Conclusion

Though these countries are the most popular for poker and are driving the industry, there are emerging markets in Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia, and in South America. Poker’s interest is growing once more, after a dip following the Poker Boom of the early 2000s, and plenty of countries are regulating the industry and getting in on the poker action.