Online poker is one of the world’s most popular hobbies, played by people in all four corners globally – including Ireland. The Emerald Isle has thousands of keen poker players who flock to the various poker sites to test themselves against others for real money or play online poker free for some entertainment. What’s more, Irish poker players are some of the best around, excelling in tournaments, from local poker tournaments in Dublin to huge MTTs held at online poker sites.
On this page, we aim to show you everything you need to know about online poker, from the best poker sites in Ireland to how to play Texas hold’em. Once you’ve finished reading through this detailed page about online poker in Ireland, you’ll be more than ready to head online and start playing against players from around the world.
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How We Review Online Poker Sites
We’re here primarily to point you in the direction of the best online gambling websites, including the top online poker sites. To do this, we provide detailed reviews of many top online poker websites, discussing everything from the games available to the bonuses on offer. You can find out more about how we review Irish poker sites by reading below.
Bonuses and Promotions
For many, the most important aspect of any online poker site is the selection of casino bonuses and promotions. Of these, the welcome bonus is the most important, so that’s where we concentrate most of our attention. We’ll tell you how much the welcome bonus is worth, but we’ll also dig deeper, letting you know about the terms and conditions, including the wagering requirements, winnings cap and game restrictions.
Once we’ve looked at the welcome bonus, we’ll also talk about the other bonuses, including reload bonuses, cashback and free tournament entry, the latter of which allows you to play free online poker and still usually have the chance to win money. We’ll also see if the site in question has a loyalty scheme and a VIP program.
The best way to find out if an online poker site is reputable is to look at its licence. If a site is licenced by a reputable regulatory body, you can be sure that it treats its players fairly and protects player funds. Some of the best online gambling licences are issued in the UK, Malta and Gibraltar. We’ll always tell you about the licence held by an online poker site in our reviews, so you can be sure that the site really is a safe and secure place to play.
Every online poker site uses software to host the entire poker playing experience. Many people don’t think about the software used when choosing a place to play poker online, but we do. We’ll take you through everything you need to know about the online poker software in use at the site we’re reviewing, looking at how easy it is to use, the best features on offer, and the drawbacks of using the software in question.
Compatibility with Mobile Devices
Nowadays, more people gamble online using a smartphone or tablet than ever before. This means that online poker sites must work seamlessly with all mobile devices, including those running on iOS and Android.
Our reviews will tell you all about the best mobile casino online on offer, plus we’ll also discuss any apps the poker site has released. You’ll find out whether your device can be used to play, the range of games available to mobile players, and much more. We’ll also talk about any exclusive bonuses offered to mobile poker players in Ireland.
The traffic of a poker site is a great indicator of how good its offering is. Quite simply, the more players choosing to spend time there, the better the site is likely to be. After all, why would so many choose to play there if they were offering a poor playing experience? What’s more, the more players at a site, the easier it is to find a game, so you won’t be waiting around for ages before you get to play.
We’ll find out the statistics surrounding the number of players at a site and let you know, so you can decide whether to join the crowd.
Wide Game Selection
Here’s perhaps the most important part of every review: the selection of games on offer. If you’re looking to play Texas hold’em, you’ll be happy at most online poker sites. However, if you’re looking for something different, you’ve got to pick the right site. In this section of our reviews, we’ll run through all the different types of poker found at a site, allowing you to pinpoint the sites that offer your preferred form of the game.
When looking at the game selection, we’ll also let you know about the game formats on offer. You can find out about all the various forms of cash games, plus you’ll also be able to see the different tournament formats too. Once you’ve finished reading, you’ll not only know what you can play but in what format you can play it.
Security and Data Protection
What’s the point in signing up with an online poker website if you can’t deposit using a method available to you? By reading through our reviews, you’ll find out which payment methods are accepted at online poker sites, as well as how money can be withdrawn. In addition, we’ll also tell you about fees for depositing and withdrawing, as well as the speed of transactions. Maximum and minimum casino deposit and withdrawal amounts are also discussed.
Customer support isn’t something that most think about until they need to use it. We’ll analyse the customer support offered by a site in detail, telling you about the different methods offered and how well the customer support responds to queries and complaints.
How to Play Poker
Once you’ve found the right site for you, you’ll probably want to start playing poker. But how exactly do you play the game? That’s what we’re about to explain, focusing on Texas hold’em poker, which is the most popular version of poker in Ireland, by some considerable distance.
Before looking at how to play, it’s important to understand the goal of each game. In Texas hold’em, you’re trying to do one of two things: be the last player left in the pot or have the highest hand ranking once the final round of betting is complete. Hands are formed of five cards from the seven available to each player.
Before each hand starts, the blinds are paid. The person to the left of the dealer button will pay the small blind, and the next person to the left will pay the big blind, which is generally double the small blind. These are mandatory bets designed to encourage action once the game starts. The blinds move one space to the left on each hand, meaning everyone pays their fair share.
Cards Are Dealt and First Round of Betting
Every player is now dealt two cards, which are personal to them and not seen by anyone else. A round of betting then follows. The player to the left of the big blind can call the big blind, raise the big blind, or fold. All other players then take their turns in a clockwise direction. Once the betting gets to the big blind, they can check, meaning they place no bet, providing nobody has raised their initial bet. The game continues when all players have bet the same sum of money or folded.
Flop and Second Round of Betting
Next comes the flop, which is when three cards are dealt into the middle of the table, which can be used by all players. Once the three cards are dealt, players will have a better idea of the strength of their hands. It’s then time for another betting round. First, the player to the left of the dealer button starts. Next, they can check, meaning they pass the opening bet to the next player or raise. Following players can then check, providing no bet has already been made, call a previous bet, raise a previous bet, or fold. Play continues when all players have bet the same sum or folded.
Turn Card and Third Round of Betting
One more card is now dealt into the middle of the table, and it’s called the turn card. Once this has been dealt with, another round of betting takes place, which follows the same formula as the previous round of betting.
River Card and Final Round of Betting
Now the final community card, called the river card, is dealt into the middle of the table. All players who haven’t folded will now know exactly what the value of their hand is. A final round of betting then commences. If more than one player is left in the game once this final round of betting is finished, the remaining players show their hands. The player with the highest hand is then declared the winner and wins everything in the pot. If two or more players tie, the pot is shared.
Best Online Poker Variations
There are many different online poker variations, all of which can be played for real money at several online poker sites. You can also play all versions of online poker for free, giving you the chance to experience the game and learn the rules before risking your own cash.
This is the most popular version of online poker, played online and in most poker tournaments in Ireland, including during the Irish Poker Series. Most play no limit Texas hold’em, meaning that there’s no limit to the number of bets that can be made in a round, however, limit Texas hold’em is also offered. This sees a limit placed on the number of bets per betting round and bet values. The goal is to make the best five-card poker hand from the two hole cards and the five community cards. So whether you’re looking to play free poker online or play for real money, you’ll easily find a game of Texas hold’em to take part in.
Omaha is the second most popular poker variation, both with those playing for real money and those who prefer to play poker online free. You’ll receive four hole cards, and there will be five community cards. The goal is to get the best five-card poker hand. Therefore, your hand must consist of exactly two hole cards and three from the community cards.
Omaha hi-lo works in the same way as regular Omaha, however, each hand has two winners. Half the pot will be given to the player with the highest hand, while half the pot will be given to the player with the lowest possible hand. The same player can win both prizes, as various hands can be made from the combination of cards, and if there’s just one player left standing in a hand, they win the entire pot.
Seven Card Stud
In this version of poker, no community cards are dealt. Instead, by the end of the game, each remaining player will have three face-down cards, which only they can see, and four face-up cards, which can be seen by everyone. The seven cards can be used by the specific player only, and they need to make the best five-card hand from the seven cards available.
Finally, we come to razz. How cards are dealt in this game is the same as seven card stud. However, what differentiates razz from seven card stud is that in razz, the winning player will be the player with the lowest eligible hand.
Best Online Poker Rooms
Irish online poker players will find many places for them to enjoy poker online, from huge poker rooms to smaller names with fewer players. You’ll find that we’ve reviewed many of the best online poker sites in Ireland, so take a look through our detailed reviews to find the best place for you to play.
888Poker is one of the biggest names out there. You’ll find plenty of bonuses to claim, including an exceptional welcome bonus, plus the site has a large number of players. You’ll also find that there’s a large selection of different game types on offer at 888Poker, including, of course, many chances to play Texas hold’em. There aren’t many online poker sites better than 888Poker. Pros:
- Huge name in the poker world
- €20 no deposit bonus for new members
- 100% first deposit bonus
- Huge range of tournaments
- Lots of freerolls offered
- Exceptionally rewarding loyalty scheme
- High level of players
- No live chat or phone support
PartyPoker is one of the oldest online poker rooms around and was once the largest poker room in the world – something that changed when the US left the market. Nowadays, it doesn’t have as many players as names like GG Poker and PokerStars; however, it’s still a site you should consider. It has some decent bonuses, plus the desktop site looks superb, making your experience that much more enjoyable. Pros:
- 100% welcome bonus up to €500
- Fantastic looking desktop website
- Cashback offered every day
- Anonymous games offered
- Easily create private games
- Casino and sports betting also offered
- Other sites have more players
- No anonymous tournaments
LeoVegas is not a traditional online poker site, but it does offer a range of different casino poker games. These include Caribbean stud poker, three card poker and casino hold’em. Various other table games are also offered, including blackjack, roulette and baccarat. New players will receive a welcome bonus worth up to €1,000 and 200 free spins. Pros:
- Huge welcome bonus
- €500 live casino bonus also offered
- Sports betting available
- Well-trusted name
- Various casino poker games
- No standard poker games offered
- No phone support
GG Poker is now the busiest online poker site in the world. It’s home to many of the world’s top professional players, including Daniel Negreanu, plus there’s a massive number of different bonuses and promotions to claim, including two welcome bonuses. As a result, you’ll find plenty of different poker variations to enjoy, plus the high number of players ensures you’ll never have to wait long for a game. Pros:
- Busiest poker site in the world
- Two different welcome bonuses
- Huge number of other promotions
- Various poker variations available
- Large number of cash games
- Many innovative tournaments
- High level of play
- Higher rake than most other sites
PokerStars was the largest online poker site globally for many years until it was overtaken by GG Poker. For many, it is still a byword for quality, thanks to the many superb games offered, as well as the large tournaments. PokerStars bonuses are also known to be exceptionally generous. Both sports betting and casino games are also offered at PokerStars, making it a great choice for those who enjoy various types of gambling. Pros:
- Incredibly well-regarded name
- Two different welcome bonuses
- Many large tournaments
- Fantastic loyalty scheme
- Superb mobile gameplay
- Casino and sports betting also offered
- No live chat or phone support
- Level of play is usually high
Playing Poker in Ireland
As you might know, the laws surrounding online gambling differ from country to country. Some places, such as certain US states, where online gambling is banned in all forms, while other places, such as the UK, have very liberal online gambling laws. Luckily for Irish online poker players, Ireland is in the latter category, meaning that it’s easy – and legal – for those in the country to play poker online and carry out various other types of online gambling.
Online gambling is made legal in Ireland by the Betting (Amendment) Act 2015. Once this law came into effect, many poker rooms began to legally accept Irish players – although many players had already been playing at offshore sites for years.
But what about the legality of playing poker offline? Well, until recently, casinos were banned in Ireland, thanks to the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956. However, this didn’t stop some, who found a loophole in the law and opened members-only gambling clubs, which were not illegal. Attempts are being made to modernise Irish gambling law, leading to an expansion of land-based gambling in the country.
Is online poker legal in Ireland?
- Yes, online poker is completely legal in Ireland, thanks to the Betting (Amendment) Act 2015. However, you will need to be of legal age, meaning you must be 18 or over to play.
What is the best online poker site in Ireland?
- There are loads of different online poker sites available to Irish poker fans, including GG Poker, PokerStars and 888Poker. All have their own advantages and disadvantages, which means that different sites are perfect for different players. To find the site that’s best for you, we recommend reading through our detailed reviews and learning about each site’s important features.
Is online poker popular in Ireland?
- Yes, online poker is massively popular in Ireland, with huge Irish players heading online every day to play the game. Many Irish players also head to members-only clubs to play in person. If casinos are legalised, poker should only become even more popular in the country.
How much can be won playing poker online?
- There’s no limit to the amount of money that can be won when playing poker online. Of course, the more you risk at the table, the more money you could find yourself winning. The biggest prizes come in major tournaments. GG Poker holds the record for the largest ever tournament prize pool, holding a tournament that had a prize pool worth an astounding $27,559,500.
Is it safe to play poker online?
- It is safe to play poker online, providing you only play at properly regulated sites, meaning that they’re overseen by reputable government regulatory agencies. These include the Gambling Commission from the UK and the Malta Gaming Authority. You should also check to make sure a site uses SSL encryption. We only recommend poker sites that we’ve verified are safe and secure.
How do poker sites make money?
- Poker sites generally make money in two ways. First, during cash games, they charge what’s called a rake. This is a small percentage of each pot. Second, when it comes to tournaments, they charge a fee, which is generally about 10% of the buy-in.
Can poker be played using a mobile device?
- Yes, poker can be played using a mobile device. In fact, many people now choose to play poker using a smartphone or tablet, allowing them to enjoy the game wherever they are. To play, most poker sites offer an app, which should be free to download. Providing you already have an account with the poker site, you won’t need to create a new one to play using your mobile