South Africa Online Poker

In recent years, online poker has become massively popular across the world. The game of poker is fun and appealing. Unlike other gambling games, it is not entirely dependent on blind luck and it involves an element of skill as well.

Playing poker on the internet can be just as exciting as playing it in person. In fact, some would argue that it’s even more challenging since you cannot actually read your opponents face and micro expressions to call a bluff. Even though the rules of the game remain the same, online poker is a different animal. There are tons of online poker games that you can play anywhere on the internet, some of the most popular ones being poker games integrated with social networking platforms such as Facebook. These games work on a coin system and players don’t actually have real money at stake.

While such “play-for-fun” online poker games and competitions are fun, they simply cannot deliver the tense, adrenaline pumping action due to the inherent nature of the game not involving any real money. If you are good at poker, you can actually play online for real money and make a consistent and reliable secondary income. This would entail having to play online poker for real money.

When it comes to playing poker for real money, South African players usually have a lot of questions. On this page, we put all of these questions to rest. Not only do we reveal some of the best online poker sites for South African players, but we also spill the beans on the legality of real money online poker in SA. You will also learn how online poker works, the different variants of poker you can play, how you can play on mobile, what banking options can be used to fund your poker playing, and more. So, if you’re looking to jump in on some high quality South African online poker action, here’s where you’ll get to know everything you need to get started on the right foot.


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How Online Poker in South Africa Works

If you’re based in South Africa and wish to play online poker for real money, you are not going to find any local options since the South African legislation has currently outlawed online poker. However, this has not stopped hundreds of thousands of South Africans from playing poker online for real money. The question is – how do they do it and how does it work?

Well, the simple solution is to play at online poker websites or apps which are hosted outside the borders of South Africa and therefore not within the legal jurisdiction of South Africa. There are many such websites which accept players from South Africa and are hosted on servers based off-shores. We’ve tested all of the top online poker websites across the globe that accept South African players and shortlisted the cream of the crop in the list above.

Online Poker Real Money South Africa

As we mentioned, you are not going to find any South African online poker real money websites or apps because they are not regulated or legalized by the SA Government. In order to play for real money, you need to select a platform hosted outside the SA borders. The process of finding the right online poker website for your gaming needs and preferences can be complicated because there are hundreds of options in the market today, all claiming to be the best.

As a South African national or resident, if you choose any of the online poker rooms we’ve listed above in our recommended list, you will not go wrong with your choice. The reason we are so confident in these recommendations is because we have meticulously tested and verified every one of the websites rigorously.

Some of the important factors we look for in an online poker website are:

  • Is the operator licensed by a recognized gambling commission?
  • Do they still have a valid license?
  • Do they accept South African players?
  • Is the website mobile friendly?
  • Do they offer 24/7 customer support?
  • Are there sufficient SA friendly banking methods for deposits and withdrawals?
  • Is it 100% safe and secure? Etc.

So, if you’re confused about which online poker website to play at, just pick from any of our recommended poker websites and you can rest assured that you are going to be in good hands. We’ve done all the leg work and back ground checks for you.

Popular Online Poker SA Games

Texas Hold’em Poker:

Arguably the most popular variant of the card game. The main defining factor of Texas Hold’em style of poker is that it is a community card game. Each player is dealt two cards followed by a pre-flop betting round as per the order of play. Three common or community cards are revealed and then followed by a second round of betting.

Prior to the 3rd round of betting, a single card is revealed and finally the ‘river’ card is revealed and the 4th and final round of betting takes place. If there is more than one player in contention for the pool, players show their hands in order of play and the winner is determined as per the hand ranking system.

Omaha Poker:

Omaha poker, like Texas Hold’em, is also a community card poker game very similar to Texas Hold’em except for the fact that each player is dealt 4-hole cards and only 2 of the cards may be used to make the players best possible hand.

Other Varients:

Both of the above variants of poker are community card poker games. Poker variants can generally be classified as one of three types – community card poker games, draw poker games and stud poker games. Other examples of community card poker games are Pineapple and Courchevel. A few examples of variants belong to draw poker games are 5-card draw poker, double draw poker and 7-card draw poker. Examples of stud poker games include 7-card stud poker, Razz, 5-card stud poker and Mississippi stud poker.

How to play Online Poker in SA

So, you’ve made up your mind and want to pursue online poker and win real money. Being located in South Africa, how do you go about it? Worry not, we have put together a simple step-by-step checklist that you can follow in order to play online poker and win real money while doing so.

  • Step 1 – Choose your poker website: Online gambling operators from SA cannot run poker websites since it is not legal. However, offshore operators offer their services to SA players. There are hundreds of offshore websites and not all of them are created equal. Unfortunately, there are also many frivolous websites which are setup with the sole intention of scamming unsuspecting players. Once scammed, an SA player will have no authority to turn to in order to report the crime in hopes of getting their money back. Therefore, it is very important that you choose the right poker website. Safety, security and legitimacy must be number one priority. If you pick one of our recommended SA friendly online poker websites, you’ve already made the right choice and it is time to move on to step 2.
  • Step 2 – Register: Since these poker rooms deal with real money, they will require you to register for an account and provide some information to verify your credentials. Generally, the registration process involves furnishing some personal details and contact details. Once you’ve opened an account at the poker website of your choice, you will be assigned a username and password that you can use at anytime and from anywhere to access your account and play poker to your heart’s content.
  • Step 3 –Fund your account: Given that you’re going to play real money poker, you first need to fund your poker account with some money. In order to add money to your poker account, you may use any of the deposit options provided by the platform. Usually, online poker websites allow you to make a deposit using credit cards, e-wallets, bank transfers and sometimes even via crypto-currencies. So, pick the best suited deposit method and fund your account. You may also get a bonus on your first deposit since such welcome offers are common place at online poker and online casino websites.
  • Step 4 –Play: Now that you’ve created your account and have funds available, you are all set to join a poker table and get playing. Ensure you read the rules of game and understand which variant of poker is being played. We would suggest playing in demo mode for a few times before playing for real money since you get accustomed to the user interface and learn the ropes in terms of how to control your actions.
  • Step 5 – Withdraw your winnings: Congratulations! You’ve just won some rounds of poker and made a decent sum of money, now it is time to withdraw your winnings if you wish to. Alternatively, you can leave your winnings in your poker account and use it to fund future play. If you do decide to cash out, you can use any of the supported withdrawal banking methods and request a cashout. The website may request for copies of your ID card, address proof and proof of payment for security verification purposes before the withdrawal is processed.

Basic Poker Rules

The rules of poker can vary slightly or significantly depending on which variant of poker you are playing. Therefore, you need to familiarize yourself with rules of the variant you are interested in. The most intuitive and quickest way to understand the game play and rules is to simply play lots of demo rounds where you play for fun and not real money. This way, you can risk losing while learning the intricacies of the games and the rules that structure it.

Irrespective of the variant of poker you are playing, the ranking of hands remains the same. In order of highest to lowest, below are the different poker combinations or hands.

  • Five of a kind –This is highest value hand you can have. It is only possible in poker games that include a wild card. An example of a hand which is considered a five of a kind is – 4 kings and 1 joker (wild).
  • Straight Flush – If the game is using a standard deck of cards without any wild cards, the straight flush would become the highest value combination theoretically and practically possible. Having a straight flush implies that you have five cards of the same suite in sequence, for example – A, K, Q, J and 10 of Clubs.
  • Four of a kind – This is the hand where you have four cards in your five-card combination which either have the same ranking or the same suite. For example, 4 hearts or 4 Queens would count as four of a kind.
  • Full House – If you have a five-card combination which includes 3 cards of the same rank and 2 cards of another rank, then you have a full house. An example would be having 3 kings and 2 10s.
  • Flush – The flush is like a straight flush expect for the fact that the cards don’t have to be in ranking sequence, they just need to be of the same suite. An example of a flush would be having 5, 9, 10, A and J all of hearts.
  • Straight – The straight is like the straight flush except for the fact that the cards don’t have to belong to the same suite, they simply need to be in an unbroken sequence in terms of ranking. An example of a straight would be 3,4,5,6 and 7 where the cards don’t all belong to one suite.
  • Three of a kind – If you have three cards in your combination which all belong to the same rank, then you are said to have a three of a kind. Example would be having 3 jacks, a 9 and a King.
  • Two pairs – If you have a pair of cards belonging to the same rank and the fifth card is of a completely different rank. For example – 2 queens, 2 jacks and an Ace.
  • One pair – When your hand has two cards belonging to the same rank, you have a pair. For example, 2,2, A, J, 7.
  • No pair – You basically have nothing, not even a pair. If you decide to play on and show this hand at the end, the value of the hand in comparison to another no pair would be determined by highest ranking card in the hand. If both hands have the same highest-ranking card, the second highest would be taken into consideration and so on.

Mobile Poker South Africa

All of the online poker websites that we have listed in our recommended top list are mobile friendly platforms. These websites have been developed using the latest technologies such as HTML5 and JavaScript which enables it to be responsive and adapt to varying screen sizes automatically. Therefore, you can access these websites from PC or mobile and it will work seamlessly.

Some poker rooms even offer dedicated mobile apps that you can download for Android or iOS or any other mobile operating system. If you going to play on a mobile handset regularly, we would suggest choosing a real money online poker service that offers a dedicated mobile app as well.

Payment methods available for Online Poker South Africa

When you choose one of our recommended online poker websites, you get many South African friendly features and this includes banking methods. Players from SA will be able to make deposits and withdrawals via a number of secure banking options such as Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, EasyEFT, Instant EFT, Bank Transfer and maybe even crypto currencies like Bitcoins. All transactions are SSL encrypted for added layer of security.

Is online poker legal in South Africa?

Technically, it is not illegal for South African residents or nationals to play online poker at online poker websites hosted outside of South Africa. However, operating an online poker website for real money within South Africa is not allowed at the moment.

Can I play online poker on my Mobile?

Yes, the recommended online poker websites in our list are all mobile friendly. Some of them even offer dedicated mobile apps that you can download. As long as your mobile device has internet connectivity, you can play on mobile.

What’s online poker’s popularity in South Africa?

The televised broadcasting of nail-biting professional tournaments has added fuel to the fire in terms of further boosting the popularity of the game. South Africans certainly aren’t immune to the charm of poker. The success of South African professional poker guru’s such as Raymond Rahme on the international stage and the fact that the second edition of the annual WSOP (World Series of Poker) was held in South Africa has propagated an infectious enthusiasm amongst amateur players, both online and in person.

Can I play poker in Rand?

This would depend on which poker website you are playing on. Many poker websites support South African Rands, but some others don’t. In case, South African Rands are not supported, you can always pay with Rands and it will automatically be exchanged to USD or EUR on the platform at the current exchange rate.

Can I play online poker in South Africa for free?

Yes, there are many online poker websites where you can play for fun without any real money. In fact, even real money online poker websites allow for their games to be played in demo mode where you play with dummy credits and not real money.