Can You Play Poker in Israel?

Are you a poker enthusiast and planning to visit Israel for your next vacation? You might be wondering whether you can play poker in the country.

The answer is yes, but with some restrictions. In this article, we will discuss the current status of poker in Israel and what you need to know before playing.

Firstly, it’s important to note that gambling is illegal in Israel. The government considers gambling a form of addiction and aims to protect its citizens from the potential harm caused by excessive gambling. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Poker falls under the category of “skill-based games,” which means that it’s not entirely based on luck. In 2018, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that poker is a game of skill rather than a game of chance. This ruling allows for private poker games to take place as long as they meet certain criteria.

Private Games:

According to Israeli law, private games are legal as long as they meet specific requirements. Firstly, the game must be held in a private residence or any other location not open to the public.

Secondly, no rake or fee can be charged for hosting or participating in the game. Finally, only players who have been invited beforehand can participate.

The Israeli police do not actively seek out individuals playing private poker games unless they receive complaints from neighbors or other sources. However, if they do find out about such activities, they have the right to confiscate any money found on the premises and charge those involved with illegal gambling.

PRO TIP:In Israel, poker is a popular game and can be played in casinos, private clubs, and online. However, it is important to note that playing poker for money is illegal in the country. As such, it is best to check local laws before joining any game for real money.

Casino Poker:

In contrast to private games, casino poker is illegal in Israel. There are currently no casinos operating within the country’s borders due to strict laws against gambling establishments. In 2016, Sheldon Adelson proposed building a $5 billion casino resort complex in Israel but faced opposition from religious groups and political leaders who were against expanding gambling opportunities.

Online Poker:

Online poker falls under the same category as casino poker and is therefore illegal in Israel. The government has taken steps to block access to online gambling sites, including poker sites, by working with internet service providers. However, some players still manage to access these sites using virtual private networks (VPNs) or other methods.


In conclusion, you can play poker in Israel as long as it’s a private game that meets the legal requirements. However, casino poker and online poker are not legal in the country. It’s important to note that breaking Israeli gambling laws can lead to severe consequences, including fines and imprisonment.

If you’re a tourist visiting Israel and want to play poker, we recommend joining local poker communities or clubs where you can find games that meet the legal criteria. It’s always important to follow the law and respect the culture of your host country.

We hope this article has provided you with valuable information on playing poker in Israel. Happy playing!