Best Online Poker Sites in South Africa 2021
Poker has been popular in South Africa for centuries. Since the 1600s, so many famous professional poker players have originated from South Africa: Raymond Rahme from Johannesburg, the country’s biggest all-time money winner, has made more than 3.5 million in live earnings.
Ronit Chamani, a high-ranker in the global poker index, has walked away from the table with hundreds of thousands in recent years, the highest earnings in her career. South Africa even holds Rio Casino Resort, the fifth largest casino in the world, yet the country’s laws have been battling the popularity of poker since 1673.
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Current Online Poker Situation in South Africa
The National Gambling Board of South Africa delivered a statement that clarifies the state of online poker; that it is, in accordance with a 2008 Act, illegal throughout the country.
The public was no doubt confused. Online gambling policies seemed to be overall unclear to the public, who carried on with their beloved pastime in the years since, so the board felt the need to come forward recently to explain the National Gambling Amendment Act.
Why now? South Africa has ever-changing gambling laws, the most recent ones from 1996 and 2004. And since the 2008 Act’s creation, the Act couldn’t be fully implemented. The sitting President never ratified it, and thus it was not published by South African press: two important moves to make an Act valid. It was meant to legalize interactive gambling.
That year, South Africa’s president did resign, but according to Wikipedia, the Act had been held up by “interested parties.” The website specifically mentions anti-money laundering authorities and gambling houses, two opposing groups that had the issue at a standstill until the Gambling Board spoke out.
Online Poker Laws
The board made a release for the public that states that all forms of interactive gaming, with the exceptions of licensed horse racing and sports betting, are illegal for both the games’ organizers and the players. Those found practicing in an illegal manner are subject to up to 10 million in fines and the confiscation of all earnings, followed by up to ten years of imprisonment.
What’s more, mass media, banks, and other organizations promoting or aiding individuals in the illegal act will suffer consequences. With that being said, there are, WCGRB (Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board) licensed and state-approved sites that allow sports-related interactive gambling for residents in most parts of South Africa.
Interactive gaming is defined by South African law as “casino, poker, and bingo,” according to a recent Wikipedia article. Some popular sites will not necessarily keep South African bettors away and many news sources interpret the Board’s tone in the release differently. Most of the following sites, include legal and safe ways for South Africans to play.
So make sure that your area of the country approves of online gambling and that you fall under the appropriate guidelines to use the following sites.
Available Online Poker Sites for South Africans
BetOnline is highly regarded by my many poker sites as one of the most inclusive gambling sites. It has been around since the beginning of the century. The prevailing language and currency are American, unfortunately for most South Africans.
It fronts itself as a sports betting site but includes poker and casino gambling as well. You can play from mobile, too, but poker specifically can be downloaded for both Mac and PC. Some games featured include:
- Texas Hold’em
There are quite a few promos for newcomers, one offering a 100 percent first deposit bonus. It doubles your money between 50 to 1,000. There are multiple banking options and currencies, including for bitcoin users. Even better, they offer 25 free rolls a day but only 2 payout transactions are allowed every week.
Intertops Poker is the oldest of all the South African poker sites on the list. This poker site provides instant play and an online poker bonus to new players. Much like the other gambling sites, your deposit is matched totally and then some. Intertops allows for a minimum of 25 in deposits for the welcome bonus. You can use real money and bitcoin on their “poker app,” but only in a browser window.
You get a few initial spins with the welcome bonus, but you have to work for the rest by playing the games and making deposits. A new site user could lose interest quickly. All of these features are available by downloading the software. The site itself is more for informational purposes, which can seem confusing. As a whole, the site is trusted by its long-retained audience and is valuable for the following:
- 200% match-up
- No-deposit bonus via Gold Chips
- Fixed limit, pot limit, and no-limit games
- Option of low-stake gaming
It’s important to note that English and German speakers are the main audiences for both of Intertops sportsbook and poker sites. Moreover, Intertops may seem to primarily be a poker site, but it is not. Its main site is sports-oriented, so naturally there will be a lot of recreational poker players. So if you’re looking for a challenge at the table, Intertops may not be the place to find it.
GGPoker was founded in 2017 as a flagship of the “Good Game Network,” which began in 2014. The site is a 2020 Guinness World Record holder for the largest prize pool online, proudly displayed on GGPoker’s site. The site also supports Russian, Polish, and English players. The onsite blog keeps all audiences updated about upcoming tournaments, charities, and partnerships.
This site does not include sports betting or any form in compliance with SA laws; GGPoker is all poker and casino games. These games (like Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Short Deck) coincide with daily promotions to keep new audiences coming back. Such promos include:
- Monthly cash giveaways
- Daily freebies
- Daily leaderboard cash games
There’s also a choice to choose your welcome bonus of either 100 in rewards or up to 600 in matched deposit. So there’s a wide range of interesting options that will have you coming back for more, but in specific areas, you may not have access to the real-money games.
Overall, the daily benefits and inclusivity of these long-standing poker sites make for some of the best gaming experiences out there. Of course, these poker sites are not WCGRB-approved, but most have provided sports betting and horse racing since the 90s. So if you’re a South African looking for inclusivity, you can play safely within legal limitations.