Reviewing the Best Poker Sites in Australia

Poker was popular in Australia for many years before the poker boom, and Australians found their way to online poker sites in the early 2000s like many others around the world. But one player winning one tournament changed everything and prompted the market to explode.

It was in 2005 at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, and Aussie Joseph Hachem captured the coveted WSOP Main Event title, along with $7.5 million for his first-place prize. Hachem proudly waved the Australian flag and boasted of the great love of poker in Australia. When he returned home, players took to the live and online poker tables like never before, and Australians created their own poker boom. Not only did tournament series like the Aussie Millions grow exponentially, sites like PokerStars developed series like the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT) specifically to cater to that region. Players online won satellites to play in those events as well as others around the world. Australia became a prime online poker market.

Recent changes in Australian laws have prompted some poker sites to leave the market. Players there dealt with the same uncertainties as did US players when politicians who didn’t understand the skill level in poker began to tangle the game with other online casino games and try to stop it. The laws complicated matters and left players unsure of their options.

There are some sites, however, that continue to offer Australian online poker players the games they have loved for decades. Sites like Ignition Poker bring everything from Hold’em to pot-limit Omaha to the internet players, along with tournaments and satellites.

Aussies may not have the plethora of options that they once did, but all real-money poker rooms did not abandon them.

 


Best Rooms for Australian Players

Australian players are finding out what US players have known for several years; BetOnline is a fantastic alternative for the best online poker games and tournaments. The site shares tables with other sites on the network, thus improving traffic to give players more guarantees and cash game stakes. Paired with a solid deposit bonus and payment options, Ignition has never been readier to take on new Aussie customers.

Legal Happenings in 2018

The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 was long the prevailing law under which poker players played online. It was an ambiguous and imperfect law, one that left many loopholes and uncertainties about legal online poker. The government was unable to enforce it and seemed to care little about doing so. Meanwhile, poker online continued to grow in popularity among players of all stripes.

In 2016, however, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge took a hard stance that offshore gambling sites – including poker sites – should be banned. He pushed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 through the Senate, where it found little support until the following year. Ultimately, it passed through to the upper house of Parliament and passed in the summer of 2017. The law called for sites to be licensed in Australia in order to cater to its citizens, but there is no regulatory agency in place to establish a regulatory framework or issue licenses.

Some online poker sites left the market before the bill even passed. PokerStars, still somewhat fresh from the United States crackdown on Black Friday, was the first major site to leave Australia. PartyPoker followed, while others considered their options and spoke with legal advisors. Most of the major sites did leave Australia in 2017.

A movement continues in Australia to exempt internet poker from the new laws due to the prevalence of skill inherent in the game. Hachem and many other professional poker players have lobbied the government to reconsider poker. The fight was still ongoing at the start of 2018, and it is unclear how it will end.

Sites like BetOnline, however, still maintain a virtual presence in the Australian market. Players in Australia and the US, who were left behind by many other sites, are still welcome on BetOnline and can play poker with others around the world. The shared liquidity of these sites offers some of the largest tournament guarantees that players have seen since the major sites exited the market. Aussies still have poker choices online.

Important Aspects of Australian Poker Websites

Australians have high expectations of online poker sites, so those offering services to Aussies must not only give them the best games, a range of stakes, and big tournament fields and guarantees, the sites must also provide a safe and secure playing environment. Operators with many years of experience can do that, and we recommend those poker companies.

How to Choose an Online Poker Site Open to Australian Players

With the exits of so many operators from the Australian market in the past several years, players wonder which sites will give them poker online options. There are a few ways to check sites quickly to find out if they are safe for Aussies.

  • Visit the site and try to create an account from your home computer.
  • The home page of the site should show a deposit bonus in AU dollars.
  • Check the cashier page for deposit options specific to Australian banks.
  • Search the help, contact, or FAQ section for information about market restrictions.
  • Call, email, or live chat with a customer service representative.
  • Check our reviews from this page for sites recommended for Aussies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:  Am I in danger of prosecution from the Australian government for playing online poker?

Answer:  No. The Australian government, like most others around the world, will not target or prosecute players for accessing games online. Any concerns are with operators only.

Question:  What can I do to advocate for online poker in Australia?

Answer:  The Australian Online Poker Alliance is working hard to pursue fully legal online poker for all Australians. They are active in speaking with government officials and can be contacted via social media channels or their website.

Question:  How can I deposit and withdraw funds?

Answer:  Skrill and Neteller have the lowest deposit minimums and tend to be quick with transactions. Visa and Mastercard may process deposits as well. There are options on the cashier page like money orders and wire transfers, though the most common way to handle both deposits and withdrawals among new players today is through bitcoin and other cryptocurrency methods.

Question:  Are there other sites available to Australians?

Answer:  Our staff is consistently monitoring online poker sites to find out which ones are open to the Australian market. As we find more that we feel confident recommending or if sites re-enter the market, we will make it known to Australian players and update this page and other relevant sections of the OnlinePoker.net website.