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Over the last decade, the situation for online poker in Australia has changed drastically. The land down under has always enjoyed a reputation for having free speech and their love of having a punt. So in 2017 when the Interactive Gaming Bill was passed, it was met with outcry from many in the population.
The main problem with the legislation that was put in place, lies in the fact that Poker, which has been proven to be a game of skill, was included in the games to be banned. The main purpose of this law, was so the government can stop overseas operators doing business without paying the required tax.
One controversial issue with this new legislation is the government's refusal to address the number of slots machines (Pokies). These addictive machines are in clubs, hotels/motels, and bars across Australia. Some people have lost everything to these machines, but because the government collects a huge slice of tax revenue, they stay in place. Meanwhile, people who want to play a game of cards online aren't allowed to. The dynamics of this system seem very flawed and could benefit from some changes.
Usually, when a situation like this happens somewhere in the world, people accept the decision and then get creative in coming up with ways they can still enjoy their favorite game. A classic example is the situation that's been taking place in America. While online poker has been banned in this country since 2013, loads of players still enjoy the game every week, they've just shifted to poker rooms that are more friendly to their current circumstances.
The Interactive Gambling Bill was passed in 2017 and made amendments to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. This act aims to regulate online gambling in Australia. The changes they made to this legislation made it illegal for domestic or foreign businesses from offering online poker without a valid Australian license. It's important to remember that it is not an offense for Australian's to access or use online gambling services.
It's important to remember that online poker is not an illegal activity. Companies can be in breach of the Australian legislation for offering real money poker to Australian residents. There is no writing in the bill that states it's illegal for Australian residents to play poker.
The rooms that currently allow Aussie players can do so as they are established & licensed? offshore, and operate using Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin & Ethereum. This differs them from traditional rooms that accept payments via Bank & credit card. We go into more detail about Cryptocurrency later in this article.
For people looking to play online poker in Australia, there are still a number of great rooms that you can play on. We've listed the two best options below and given an introduction into each one, their features and the action you can find there. To get the best overall value, we suggest joining them both, as each one has its own unique style and different tournament prizes & schedules.
America's Card Room is a great choice for anyone looking to play online poker in Australia. The site was established back in 2001 and are based out of San Jose, Costa Rica. They are owned & operated by the Winning Poker Network and are famous for offering services to USA residents. This established reputation has made them a top choice for many Australian poker players.
The room features a great selection of games, stakes, and tournaments. It doesn't matter if you only play $0.01/$0.02 cash games or you're a regular high roller jumping in the daily $530 event, ACR has games of all sizes, suitable for all bankrolls. The site is famous for their regular & large guaranteed prize tournaments. They routinely run a Million Sunday event, with over $1,000,000 in the prize pool. With over $3.8 Million in guaranteed prizes each week, America's card room is a wise choice for the tournament grinders out there.
Cash games are very popular on the ACR platform and stakes range from $0.01/$0.02 all the way up to $25/$50. The site's standard rake back is set at 27% and is payable each day directly to your player account. Standard Sit N Go's as well as unique Jackpot Sit N Go's offer great game variety and excellent chances to share in large prize pools.
The site features a lucrative 100% First Deposit bonus up to $1000 and fun ongoing promotions. The bonus is unlocked by earning loyalty points. The more hands/tournaments you play, the more points you can accumulate and be used to unlock $ amounts of the bonus. This is a great way to get your grind on and boost your bankroll.
Depositing & withdrawing on America's Card Room is easy thanks to cryptocurrency. Digital transactions are often processed very quickly and incur no admin fees from the site. Players can withdraw up to $10,000 in each transaction. Other traditional methods are available, but Bitcoin & other cryptocurrencies remain the most popular & often easiest to use. For more information on Bitcoin & how to use it, continue reading this article
One site that has grown since the Interactive Gambling Act was changed, is Ignition Poker. While most operators closed their doors to the Australian & American markets, Ignition has thrived in these countries and a large percentage of their players are from these countries. Ignition is quite different from other poker rooms, most notably with their anonymous usernames and random seat selection. This makes is a much harder environment for professional grinders to target the weaker recreational players. This unique setup seems to have helped level the playing field on this poker room.
Players can find action at all levels on Ignition. While their weekly tournaments aren't quite on the level the America's Card Room offer, they still have a fantastic selection of weekly events including the $100K Sunday main event with an entry of $162. The poker room often runs promotions for tournaments with large prize pools often reaching over one million dollars.
No Limit Holdem Cash games are available at a variety of stakes from $0.02/$0.05 all the way up to $10/$20. They also offer Limit holdem and Limit Omaha up to stakes of $30/$60. If you like playing different styles of poker then you will enjoy the 'Zone Poker' offered by Ignition. This is a fast-paced style of game where you can either play the hand you are dealt, or fold and be moved onto a new hand at a new table. This style is great for players who have a good strategyand benefit from getting more hands per hour than traditional tables.
Regular Sit & Go's are also featured at Ignition and action can be found at a range of different levels raning from $1 up to $200+. They also of 'Jackpot Sit & Go's' that allow players to spin for a prize that can be 1000's of times the entry fee. These are popular with players looking for a quick & fast-paced game & the chance to win a large prize.
Ignition Poker can be played via their downloadable software or from the web browser. Their site is responsive and allows you to play from a mobile or tablet device, great for enjoying a game while on the move.
New players can enjoy a generous welcome bonus at Ignition Poker for 100% up to $1,350. The bonus is unlocked by earning loyalty points from playing in poker games. The bonus can be collected directly from the Cashier lobby and added to your player account. If you're looking for a unique room to play online poker in Australia then we recommend you check out Ignition Poker.
Bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency. This is a type of digital cash. The currency is decentralized and not owned/controlled by a central bank or authority. This revolutionary currency can be sent directly from user to user via the Bitcoin network, also known as the Blockchain. There are only 21,000,000 Bitcoins in existence and as they grow in popularity, the price has started to rise as demand grows.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies allow for quick & efficient transactions. You can send a payment to someone on the other side of the world and they can receive it in minutes. When you compare this to traditional bank transfers that can take up to 5 days, this new system is more beneficial for consumers & businesses.
There are many different places that you can buy Bitcoin. As with any currency, you have to be careful and ensure the company your purchasing from is reputable and legitimate. We've listed a few established sites below that are trusted around the world.
Each place has different requirements, verification, and limits. You can read more details about each site on their websites.
When using Bitcoin for transactions, you will need to have a Bitcoin wallet. This is a secure digital wallet, that can be used to store, send and receive Bitcoins. You can send the crypto you purchase from the exchange to this wallet which you own & control. There are many different wallet providers online, one of the most trusted & recognized is Blockchain.com
Once you have your funds stored in your wallet, you can then use them to deposit to an online poker room. In the cashier section of the lobby, you will see a deposit option and the ability to generate a bitcoin address. This address is your unique wallet address specific for only your account. Copy the Bitcoin address and paste it into the "To" address when you send from your Blockchain wallet.
Transaction times can vary depending on the level of activity on the bitcoin network. Typically they arrive within 15-25 minutes. After you've had a win at the poker room, you can withdraw your winnings back to your personal bitcoin wallet. To do this go to the cashier section in the lobby, select Withdraw. You will be asked to enter your Bitcoin address, you will need to open your personal wallet and copy+paste the address across, double check that it's correct. You can then submit. Each room differs in their withdrawal times, but you will usually be asked to confirm via email and then they will notify you once the transaction is complete.
Once you have your winnings back in your own wallet, you can then send them to the exchange you purchased them from or a variety of different sites that can help with cashing out into USD/EUR/AUD, etc. One of the most popular and trusted methods is through LocalBitcoins. They offer a peer to peer platform, where users are reviewed and ranked. You can find trusted local sellers/buyers that will accept your Bitcoin and pay you using Bank, Cash, PayPal and a variety of other methods.
While it' important to remember that playing online poker is not an illegal offense in Australia, some people find that using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to secure their internet connection provides them with some peace of mind.
Put simply, a VPN allows you to connect to a secure network over the internet. This allows you to browse the web and do other activities online through a secure encrypted network. This is helpful for those who don't want their Internet Service Provider from seeing their day-to-day activities.
Using a VPN isn't required to play on ACR or Ignition poker, but for anyone looking to add some extra security & protection to their gaming setup, a solid VPN can be a great asset. One of the most trusted & recognized brands is called NordVPN. They have an outstanding reputation around the world and are famous for their 'No Logs Policy'. This means they don't keep records of the traffic on their network and is ideal for any privacy based business.
Online poker in Australia is a topic that will constantly be debated until the government decides to make amendments to the interactive gambling act. The situation over the last few years has been bleak for the Aussie players of this game, but as the community sticks together and time passes, the situation will hopefully improve.
It's surprising that no business has stepped up to the plate and acquired the necessary licenses and permits to start a site offering online poker in Australia. The market is definitely there and surely there could be a way to link an Aussie room to the international player pools on the big rooms like PokerStars, 888 & Party Poker.
If you're a fan of online poker and want help change the way the game is viewed in Australia then we invite you to join the live petition over at Change.org. It currently has nearly 3000 signatures and is constantly growing. Every person on that list has played their part in helping online poker in Australia and we invite you to join them.