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Poker in pubs

Rules for poker in pubs

Poker in pubs

Poker games are subject to strict criteria

The premises must contain a bar from which alcohol is served for consumption on the premises and the sale of alcohol must not be restricted to only those customers consuming food (restaurant condition).

Games can only be played at times when alcohol can be supplied in reliance on the premises licence or sold for consumption on the premises in reliance on a Scottish premises licence.

The designated premises supervisor is expected to effectively manage and oversee all gaming on the premises and becomes the gaming supervisor, ensuring that gaming limits are adhered to.

No participation fee, whether voluntarily or compulsorily, may be charged. This includes requiring players to buy drinks or food, or pay for entry to the pub, or pay in any way as a precursor to playing poker.

The maximum stake per person per game is £5.

The maximum aggregate or total stakes per premises per day is £100. Therefore, 20 people can stake £5 maximum or the stake can be reduced to permit more players.

The maximum prize per game must be no more than £100 (including money or monies worth, free drinks, donated prizes or a free stake in the next round of a tournament).

No deductions may be made from the pot and all money staked must be returned to the players in prizes. Additional prizes may be added to the pot to increase total prize fund to a maximum value of £100.

Games cannot be linked across premises whereby players situated in more than one premises compete in the same game and the total prize fund is determined by the total number of people participating.

Under 18s must be excluded from participation and age verification procedures must be in place.

Appropriately trained staff members can be nominated to supervise gaming.

The rules of the game must be readily available to all players.

Poker in pubs

Gambling Commission’s Code of practice for equal chance gaming in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence

Compliance with the code should be the responsibility of Designated Premises Supervisor.

All gaming must be supervised by staff members whose duties include supervision (can include bar and floor staff).

Procedures should be implemented to prevent underage gambling.

All gaming should be ‘low level’ and the DPS is expected to ensure that this remains the case.

Gaming in pubs should be ancillary to the main purpose of the premises provided as an additional entertainment activity.

All payments for the gaming should be paid in cash before the game begins and no credit may be offered.

All equipment should be supplied by the premises and should be secured when not is use. Equipment should be replaced when damaged or marked.

The DPS should ensure a ‘pleasant atmosphere’ and deny participation to customers who cheat or collude with other players or employees, threaten other players or employees, or damage equipment.

Poker in pubs


It is an offence to advertise unlawful gambling and if any advertising is produced displaying higher prizes that may be available at another premises, you should ensure that premises is appropriately licenced by the Gambling Commission.

All gambling advertising must be compliant with the UK Codes for broadcast and non-broadcast advertising and the gambling industry has produced a code for socially responsible advertising.

All advertising should be carefully considered and a brief summery of some of some of the advertising criteria is listed below:

  • Advertising must be legal and not misleading
  • Advertisements and promotions should be socially responsible as described in the CAP and BCAP rules
  • Care must be taken not to exploit children and other vulnerable persons in relation to gambling activity
  • Advertisements should not be specifically and intentionally targeted towards people under the age of 18

Poker in pubs

Poker Leagues

Players can be part of a league but maximum stakes and prizes continue to apply. The diagram below details the maximum prizes that can be won in pubs. It is common for national and regional finals to be held at licensed casinos where the prize limits listed would not apply for those events.

Games can be played where the winner is awarded points and an overall tournament prize is awarded to the highest scoring player. The maximum tournament prize available will be determined by the number of games played by the winner, therefore no prize would be awarded following each game and at the end of the tour- nament the winner’s prize is calculated relative to the number of games played (3 rounds/games = maximum tournament prize of £300).

Poker in pubs

For more information

To see how we can help you with your licensing needs contact the gambling team on 0115 953 8500

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