Playing online poker in France has been popular since the moment French poker sites debuted. But the activity wasn’t always legal (we’ll explain this in more detail in a moment). Today, as long as you have access to a checking account, and live in a European country, you can log into your favorite poker room and play.
KickAssPoker.com’s Recommended French Poker sites with Bonus Codes:
- Bet365 Poker (EU)
If you’re currently living in an EU country, and have yet to play at any of the top poker sites in France, you’ll want to do so soon. The tables are still relatively fishy, though this is becoming less the case as players from around the EU continue to filter in. We’ll provide a few recommendations below, so you’ll know where to start. First, however, let’s take a quick look at France online poker history.
Online Poker In France: A Brief History
Because there are so many French online poker rooms, it’s tempting to assume the country’s online gaming market is unregulated. In reality, it is closely regulated by the government-sanctioned agency ARJEL (Autorité de Régulation des Jeux En Ligne). In order for a poker site to open its doors to French and EU citizens, it must have an ARJEL-granted license.
It wasn’t always this way. Years ago, online poker was essentially illegal in the country. Poker sites could operate, but were forced to do so under the umbrella of a black market. Despite the illegality of playing the game online, it was very popular. The problem was, the French government lacked a way to tax the poker sites’ profits. So, in 2009, seeing a new and potentially lucrative revenue source, they tried to address that issue.
That year, the National Assembly created a bill that laid the groundwork for making online poker legal in France. In June 2010, the Assembly passed it. This allowed Party Poker, PokerStars, and many other sites to finally operate in the open. One of the requirements was that they had to register for an official license in order to open their doors.
France Online Poker: Cash Games And Tournaments
Following passage of the 2010 bill that made online poker in France legal, most of the tables were very fishy. There were a lot of people who were playing poker for the first time, and thus lacked the skills of the regular grinders. Even though the influx of players from other EU countries has changed the dynamic, there are still plenty of fish.
The best time to play is during the weekends and evenings, and preferably as late as possible. This is when “hobby players” log in after spending a tough day at the office. They are there mainly to blow off steam by playing a few hands. By contrast, the good players typically show up during the day, and will often grind for hours.
Tournaments at the French online poker rooms tend to attract a lot of fish. This is likely an extension of the fact that many of the players are still relatively new to the game. So, if you decide to play at these sites (and we recommend that you do), be sure to participate in the multi-table tournaments as well as the Sit and Go’s.
Taxes And Rake At The French Online Poker Rooms
One of the downsides to playing online poker in France is that ARJEL (the regulating agency) imposes large fees for licensing as well as a sizable tax on the sites. This translates into a higher rake. It has become such a big problem that PokerStars has told the government they plan to leave the French market unless changes are made. There’s very little you can do about this issue, but it is worth mentioning.