How to play poker in Russia: both prohibited and permitted methods

08.05.2024
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Updated 08.05.2024
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How to play poker in Russia

How to play poker in Russia? This is a pressing question for many gambling enthusiasts. The answer in 2024 is that this game is banned in Russia, but not completely.

What does it mean? In our country, poker for money is still allowed in special gaming zones: there are five of them, from Crimea to Primorye, and there are three legal online rooms.

In 2024, you still have an opportunity to play poker in Russia, but there are some nuances. Considering online poker, there’s a 2006 Federal Law No. 244-FZ of December 29 “On state regulation of activities related to the organization and conduct of gambling and on amendments to certain legislative acts”.

From mid-summer 2009, all licensed gambling houses were required to move into official gaming zones. Thus, in Russia it is prohibited to play offline poker for money outside of specially designated areas.

In April 2009, the International Poker Federation was established, where Dmitry Lesnoy represented the interests of Russia. By July 20, 2009, the game was officially recognized as gambling, because of which special gambling zones appeared. Casino owners, who previously hid their business behind the façade of poker establishments, have lost their status as sports organizations.

How to play poker in Russia

Since the beginning of 2015, state control in the field of online gambling and live poker started to restore in Europe and the United States. There are still efforts to make poker a sports discipline at the level of the International Olympic Committee. Many governments are beginning to realize that it is more profitable to tax gambling and poker players than to discourage people from engaging in such activities.

In the field of online poker in Russia, the situation is less clear. Since the end of 2015, the Federal Tax Service, Roskomnadzor and the Prosecutor General’s Office have the right to block gambling sites without court decisions. At the same time, the effect of Law No. 244-FZ is limited to the territory of Russia, while many servers of online poker operators are located outside its borders. The state does not have the right to punish poker rooms and players, but it can block access to poker sites.

This way, the Russian government demonstrates to foreign companies that it can prohibit providers to give Russian residents access to their resources. Enterprises wishing to avoid such problems are recommended to open their representative offices in the country, acquire licenses and pay taxes to the Russian budget. For organizing live gambling for money, you can receive a fine of up to 1 million rubles and get a jail time up to 4 years.

Where can you play poker for real money in Russia?

Do they play poker in Russia? You can enjoy the game without breaking the law in our country. To do this, you need to come to one of the specialized gaming areas. Let us go over some of them:

  • “Sibirskaya moneta”.

Location: Altai region.

Opened: 2014.

Area: 2,300 hectares.

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Casino: Altai Palace.

Series held: Altai Palace Poker Series.

  • “Primorye”.

Location: resort area of the Ussuri Bay.

Opened: 2015.

Area: 620 hectares.

Casinos: “Tigre de Crista”l and “Casino Shambala”.

Series held: Tigre Poker Championship.

  • “Yantarnaya”

Location: near the village of Yantarny (Zelenograd district).

Opened: 2016.

Area: 1,170 hectares.

Casino: “SOBRANIE Casino”

Series held: Amber Poker Championship.

  • “Krasnaya Polyana”.

Location: Adler district of Sochi (Krasnodar region).

Opened: 2016.

Area: 1,650 hectares.

Casinos: “Casino Sochi” and “Boomerang”.

Series held: Eurasian Poker Tour, PartyPoker Million Sochi, PokerStars Championship Sochi.

  • “Golden shore”.

Location: Crimea.

You can put real money bet here and poker competitions are held from time to time.

How to play online poker in Russia in 2024

At the end of February and beginning of March 2022, Russian poker players faced a number of problems. Most prominent was PokerStars and 888Poker exiting the Russian market. PokerStars had the second largest number of poker players among all poker rooms and networks. 888Poker was in eighth place. In addition, PartyPoker, which was in ninth place, left at the beginning of February.

Let’s look at the sites where you can play online poker in Russia.

RedStar Poker

Many poker rooms have complex loyalty programs. Often, even experienced players find it difficult to figure out how to get maximum rakeback. However, RedStar Poker is very simple in that regard. The platform has only two levels in the loyalty program. You can reach the highest rakeback level by even playing micro-stakes. This level guarantees 35% rakeback.

How to play poker in Russia

There is an attractive bonus for Russians – you can easily top up your account using a credit/debit card. In addition, new participants will receive gifts:

  • Double your first deposit up to $2,000.
  • Increase in rakeback up to 45%, thanks to bonuses from the room.
  • When making a first deposit of €25 or more, the player will receive an instant bonus to their account of €25.

Pokerdom

Among the online platforms, Pokerdom stands out, because it’s a room where people play for Rubles only. Thanks to this, Russians can avoid overpaying for double currency conversions.

This service has several advantages:

  • You can make a deposit using Russian credit/debit cards.
  • Deposits and withdrawals via crypto wallets.
  • Two loyalty programs: jackpot and classic, designed for experienced players.
  • There is a bonus for the first deposit up to 50 thousand rubles.
  • You can play Chinese pineapple.

JackPoker

This is a promising project. Fans of the game of poker learned about its existence only in 2023. During this short time, many Russians registered here. The platform provides a welcome bonus that doubles your first deposit up to $1,000. In addition, a poker player can easily receive rakeback of up to 35%. As is the case with other rooms, the site allows you to top up your account and withdraw money using credit/debit cards supported by the MIR system.

Mobile applications for playing poker

Mobile apps provide a great opportunity for modern poker players. PPPoker and PokerBros are almost as good as the market leaders in terms of traffic volume. One of the advantages of PPPoker is access to players from different parts of the world: USA, China, Canada and Australia. However, some poker players find it difficult to learn how to work with mobile device software.

It is possible to top up your account via various payment systems, cryptocurrencies, as well as transfers from credit/debit cards of Alfa Bank, Sberbank and Tinkoff. More information about mobile poker can be found in GT+.

For connoisseurs of night games, PokerKing (WPN) and TigerGaming (Chico Poker) are fine options. The traffic is highest in these rooms during night, Moscow time. PokerKing features a lucrative rake race for grinders, while TigerGaming is the only room besides PokerStars that offers 9-max tables.

PokerKing offers an exclusive bonus of +20% rakeback from the first deposit bonus. Both platforms support cryptocurrency. Poker trackers and HUDs are available on the Winning Poker Network and Chico Poker Network. TigerGaming and other network rooms require the use of a converter.

Peculiarities with payments in Russia in 2024

Russia has introduced restrictions on the use of QIWI and YuMoney (formerly Yandex.Money), prohibiting them from making transfers from individuals to foreign companies, including poker room accounts. Therefore, Russians have to adapt to innovations.

Payment systems and their availability:

  • YuMoney – not supported.
  • QIWI – not supported.
  • Neteller – available for deposits and withdrawals.
  • Visa – available for deposits and withdrawals.
  • Mastercard – available for deposits and withdrawals.
  • ecoPayz – available for deposits and withdrawals.
  • MuchBetter – available for deposits and withdrawals.
  • WebMoney – available for deposits and withdrawals.
  • Cryptocurrency – not supported.

Frequently asked questions about playing poker in Russia

Is poker a game of luck or strategy?

A person who has never played real poker is inclined to believe that in this card game everything happens by chance. Allegedly, in poker everything depends on the cards you get. However, this is a misconception. Achieving results in any field requires effort. Poker is no exception.

This game is based on tactical decisions and mathematical calculations. To achieve success, you need to develop strategies and develop skills in analyzing your opponents’ cards.

What are Windfalls in poker?

Windfalls are a type of tournament often held in a fast poker format. One of their features is the random determination of the prize fund before the start of the game. These tournaments differ significantly from traditional ones, since the prize pool guarantee can be hundreds or even thousands of times higher than the buy-in amount.

What is Sit & Go?

Sit & Go is a format of fast poker tournaments held within just one hour. This variation is ideal for inexperienced poker players, as a minimum buy-in is required to participate.

What consequences are possible for violating gambling laws?

A striking example is the verdict of the Ozersky City Court of the Chelyabinsk Region. Several people decided to organize poker games for money, rent a room, and equip it with a table and cards. They’ve created a closed community with limited access to games, which were illegal.

How to play poker in Russia

The organizers were found guilty of committing a crime and received suspended sentences of two to two and a half years for illegally organizing and conducting gambling outside the gambling zone (see Part 3 of Article 171.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

How to play poker in Russia without breaking the law?

Poker involves money bets, which is the main indicator of gambling. However, by replacing money with any analogues (for example, ranking promotion or conditional points) that cannot be exchanged for real money, you can avoid breaking the law.

Now you know how and where to play online poker in Russia. If there are no monetary or property stakes, then there is no gambling component. The possibility to play for money only occurs in special gambling zones.

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