The prevalence of online poker in Ireland

It would seem that gambling is a popular pastime in Ireland. Data collected in August 2023 suggested that three-quarters of all adults in the country had enjoyed a flutter a month before the survey.

Interestingly, a third of them had played a game online, though it’s not been stipulated exactly what. In either respect, the industry in Ireland is expected to accrue around €1.14bn in 2024.

That’s an annual growth rate (CAGR 2024-2028) of 2.53%, suggesting the market could be worth €1.26bn by 2028. That’s not bad for a population of just over 5 million people.

So, where did this interest in gaming begin?

Way before the emergence of online poker, some sources claim gambling goes way back to the Celts from discoveries of dice carved from wood and bone. But others suggest it was the invasion of the English in the 12th century that really kicked things off.

It’s possible that Henry II obsession with horse racing was the spark of what would become an Irish love affair that survives to the present. It’s also been noted that this was the dawn of card games, though Poker wasn’t really a thing until 600-odd years later.

After starting life in France, a game called ‘Le Poque’ was arguably the origin of modern Poker: French settlers were believed to have taken the game to New Orleans in the 18th Century.

But the Poker game that we know today was probably a result of Le Poque merging with an English game called Brag. It’s believed that it was this version of the game that ended up as Texas Hold ‘Em, for example, and poker was sold back to the rest of the world in the 19th Century.

Having said that, it’s just as possible that poker in Ireland derives from their own game, poca, which means ‘pocketing’. This is quite interesting as it may suggest that the believed story of poker may have a twist in it.

It’s possible that the Irish introduced poca in the Northeast of the USA at the end of the 17th century. Perhaps at a similar time, the French introduced Le Poque’ in the southeast of the country…

These days, casino gaming is still one of Ireland’s most popular forms of betting. And we’re not just talking about online, bricks and mortar casinos are prevalent throughout the country too.

And while legislation is taken to curb slots, poker is legal and online poker in Ireland is as popular as ever. In 2004, about the same time as dial-up moved to broadband, Poker was worth around $55 million a day.

That’s an astonishing figure, especially when we consider how far we’ve come from those crude days of yore. Though this surge in popularity may have been down to Noel Furlong winning the 1999 WSOP World Series of Poker trophy…

It would be remiss at this stage if we didn’t mention some other well-known Irish poker players: Andrew “Andy” Black, Dermot Blain, Donnacha O’Dea, Dara O’Kearney, Marc MacDonnell and Terry Rogers.

Maybe some/all of them were further inspired when, in 2003, Chris Moneymaker won the (WSOP) after qualifying online. Whatever the cause, online poker has grown exponentially, and it seems to have no sign of slowing down.

It’s not hard to see why with 24/7 access, super-fast gameplay, multi-hand and multi-table options, plus all the bells and whistles of an online modern game. But while online poker is popular in Ireland, live poker is still a thing in Ireland.

Poker is legal when played in casinos and gambling clubs, most of which can be found in Dublin. Yes, live poker-playing options are limited, but they’re worth seeking out as players get the opportunity to feel the thrill of a live game first-hand.

Still, this doesn’t explain why it’s still popular, what with all the benefits the online game offers players. The answer to that probably lies in the Irish Open Poker Tournament, which is the largest of its kind in Europe.


Perhaps even more pertinently, it’s the second longest-running venue for No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em in the world. Having said that, most players qualify online, like Mr Moneymaker did in 2003.

So, what should you do if you fancy playing poker online? First off, use a reputable platform.

Every online casino has a certificate and must be legally regulated. In this instance, ensure its covered by the Republic of Ireland or a legitimate offshore concern, which you can verify with the minimum of research.

For belt and braces, find reviews of your preferred casino in forums and take heed of any advice/tips before playing. Finally, use a digital wallet to move money to the casino, not directly from your bank.

And speaking of money, never play with more than you can afford to lose.

Written by YBIG 12

YBIG SHOP 300*250

Famous football players who love to gamble

Game strategies: The importance of communication and adaptability in sporting relationships