Poker in Portugal

History of Poker in Portugal

Portugal, the overlooked country on the Iberian Peninsula, is a relatively new player on the poker scene, but like many countries has quickly taken to the game. Portugal can now lay claim to some of the top young talent in poker including Joao Barbosa, Fernando Brito, and Nuno Coehlo.

Poker has come a long way in just a short amount of time in Portugal, evidenced by the EPT stop in Villamoura, as well as the creation of the Portuguese Poker Tour. As more and more tournament stops are added throughout Portugal it’s quite likely that the country will see more and more top poker players emerge from the ranks.

Considering how new the Portuguese are to the poker world, it should come as no surprise that they have yet to leave the mark on the poker tournament scene. Currently Portugal has yet to win a WSOP bracelet, and only Joao Barbosa able to lay claim to a major tournament title; the 2008 Polish Open Main Event.

Famous Portuguese Poker Players

It’s actually quite astonishing at the sheer number of Portuguese poker pros that have been thrust onto the world stage in the past few years. Not only do you have three members of Team PokerStars Pros Nuno Coelho, Henrique Pinho, and Joao Nunes, but also the aforementioned Joao Barbosa and Fernando Brito, as well as Antonio Matias and Ricardo Sousa.

Perhaps the best known Portuguese poker player is the enigmatic Jose “Girah” Macedo. Macedo gave Portuguese poker a slight stain when he conned his way into the high-stakes community –including a major sponsorship deal and a deal with an online poker training site—only to be revealed as a fraud when he was caught scamming some of his high-stakes peers.

Here is a look at some of the most well known poker players from Portugal and their career accomplishments:

[sws_grey_box box_size=”510″]Joao Barbosa poker Joao Barbosa

  • 2008 EPT Warsaw Winner
  • Nearly $1.3 million in career tournament earnings
  • Won the $2k NLHE tourney at the EPT San Remo in 2010
  • 2011 EPT Deauville High-Roller Champion
  • 2008 Unibet Open Madrid Champion


[sws_grey_box box_size=”510″]Fernando Brito poker Fernando Brito

  • Won two $10k EPT High-Roller tournaments in 2010: Vienna and Barcelona
  • Over $800k in career tournament winnings
  • Full name: Fernando Antônio Fontoura Brito
  • EPT Player of the year in 2010


[sws_grey_box box_size=”510″]Nuno Coelho poker Nuno Coelho

  • Team PokerStars Pro
  • High-stakes online player
  • Represented Portugal at the 2007 PokerStars World Cup of Poker
  • Only plays live tournaments in and around Portugal


[sws_grey_box box_size=”510″]Henrique Pinho poker Henrique Pinho

  • High-Stakes cash-game player
  • Member of Team PokerStars Pro
  • 3rd place at 2010 SCOOP PLO event
  • Plays a very sparse tournament schedule


[sws_grey_box box_size=”510″]Joao Nunes poker Joao Nunes

  • The third member of Team PokerStars Pro Portugal
  • Former professional basketball player in Portugal
  • Founded one of the most popular Portuguese online poker portals in 2004
  • One of the FACES of Portuguese poker


Online Poker in Portugal

At the current time Portugal has not passed legislation either expressly forbidding or allowing online poker to be played inside the country. Because of this online poker in Portugal is allowable to the players themselves, while at the same time sites are forbidden to offer games –which as we’ve seen elsewhere in the world is the most unenforceable law in existence!

Portugal’s state-run monopoly on gambling has been trying to get online poker under its thumb for years now. But lacking the gumption to flat-out ban online poker they have been unable to prosecute the foreign companies offering online poker to Portuguese citizens.

Here is a look at the Top 3 online poker sites in Portugal:

[sws_blue_box box_size=”560″]pokerstars PokerStars

  • Largest online poker room
  • Team PokerStars Portugal: Nuno Coelho, Joao Nunes, and Henrique Pinho
  • THE most respected poker site around the globe

everestpoker Everest Poker

  • Located in nearby France
  • One of the largest independent poker rooms in the world
  • Fully translated software for multiple languages

lock poker site Lock Poker

  • Peak cash-game traffic 1,800
  • Became wildly popular with Portuguese players after :Lock Poker signed Jose Macedo (who was subsequently released by the site)
  • Massive first-time deposit bonus for Portuguese players, 200% up to €1,200


Where to play poker in Portugal

As I mentioned above, the Portuguese government controls most of the gaming in the country. Even with the government go-ahead, Portugal does not have a deep tradition of gambling in casinos, so you will find only four casinos throughout Portugal with card-rooms.

The most famous card-room in the country is the site of the EPT stop in Portugal in Villamoura, a lavish vacation destination that brings in high-rollers from around the world.

Poker laws in Portugal

Portuguese citizens looking to get together for a private poker game can do so with little fear of repercussions from law enforcement. So long as the game does not take a house collection the players are not in violation of any Portuguese laws. Even smaller local games, where the house may take a small collection, are not high on the priority list –although you should always realize you are playing at your own peril in these instances.

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