Gambling related articles

Underground Poker: Everything You Need to Know

From Kyle Mcadams.

July 2019.

Poker is one of the most popular ways to gamble, available at land-based casinos worldwide. But it's not just limited to licensed venues: underground poker is an alternative way to play, without the standard rules or regulations.

Underground poker games may take place in the back room of a bar, in a club or even in someone's home. The definition is fairly loose: not all underground poker games are illegal, depending on the jurisdictional laws. In some cases, underground poker may be legal provided the host makes no money and charges no entry fees.

People organizing underground poker games can earn money by selling alcohol and snacks to guests too.

While it may seem like a fun, informal way to enjoy gaming with friends, underground poker can be risky - even dangerous.

Losing Money from the Rake

One of the biggest dangers of underground poker is losing money to 'the rake' (commission).

This means the host will take a percentage from the pot, profiting from players' bets. The size of the rake will vary from one underground poker game to the next, and during sessions with low stakes, the host can end up taking significant amounts from potential winnings.

As a result, yourself and fellow players could all lose a lot of money without realizing.

The Risk of Robbery

Land-based casinos traditionally employ security guards, install surveillance equipment and remain vigilant against potential criminal activity. Money is stored in a vault and preparations are in place to handle robbery attempts.

Underground poker games, though, are much more vulnerable to theft. Even if they're held in a venue with one or two people watching for suspicious activity, a gang could still overpower them and rob players.

Your money wouldn't be insured, so you would lose everything with no way to get it back.

No Guarantees of Payment

Taking part in an underground poker game means you have no guarantee of payment when you win.

The host(s) could refuse to hand over your cash and leave you out of pocket, without needing to offer a valid reason. In some environments, refuting their claims may put you in physical danger.


Another obvious risk of underground poker is cheating. Other players could resort to unethical behavior to win your money, and the lack of regulation or security means it could go unnoticed.

And if it's your word against the cheater's, how can you prove what they were doing? Again, you may place yourself at risk.

Online Poker is Safer and More Secure

Playing online poker is a far safer, more reliable, more secure way to enjoy this timeless game.

A vast range of online casinos offer a variety of poker games, allowing you to play against the software or other players and live dealers. Licensed online casinos employ Random Number Generators (RNG) to ensure fairness and use high-grade security to protect your details too.

There's also no risk of robbery or being arrested.

As you can see, the risk versus the reward of underground poker shows it's simply not worth taking the chance. Stick to licensed venues only.


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Note: Opinions expressed in the 'Articles' section of Smartgambler are those of the authors and are not implicitly endorsed by the owners of Smartgambler.




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