Poker sites not on Gamstop are out there, and UK players can sign up and play, but you might not know about it! That’s likely down to the UK’s gaming regulator, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), which is renowned for being one of the strictest in the world. In order to be granted a licence by this organisation, gaming sites must abide by the Gamstop system, which has been known to block some users from multiple gaming sites after a single impetuous decision.
For poker players or gamblers who have changed their mind, or whose situation has since changed for the better, Gamstop can leave them out in the cold and unable to find a game. Luckily there are a variety of sites which are not licensed by the UKGC but will still accept UK players (even those on Gamstop’s register).
These non Gamstop poker sites often feature all the games and options you’d expect to find at some of the world’s biggest online poker operators – and a lot more besides. We’ve checked out the best and sorted them from the rest, so if you’re interested in finding a new place to play online poker not on Gamstop, read on!
Best Poker Sites not on Gamstop UK
What does Gamstop do for poker players?
Gamstop is a scheme aimed at helping those with gambling addiction abstain from gambling and poker. It can be a great help to those that need it, but many UK players feel the measures Gamstop takes can be too restrictive and all-encompassing.
UKGC-licensed poker sites are all signed up to the Gamstop scheme, which means that when you opt in for a self-exclusion via Gamstop you are automatically barred from all these poker sites. What could have started as an annoyance or an issue with one particular site could therefore leave you facing a blanket ban from all online gambling in the UK!
We’ve got nothing against Gamstop – it’s done good work to help those who cannot control their gambling or manage their bankrolls properly. However, if you feel you are in control of your gambling and want to keep playing despite a Gamstop ban hanging over your head, it is possible and perfectly legal to do so.
How do I Stop Gamstop?
Put simply, you can’t. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play. Poker sites not on Gamstop can continue to accept players because they do not fall under the jurisdiction of the UKGC; any sites which are licensed by the UKGC must adhere to the Gamstop scheme, and it is not possible to remove yourself from the scheme until your pre-determined exclusion period has ended.
Difficulties can arise when a player has changed their mind about Gamstop, whether their personal situation has changed or they have improved their powers of self-control, but are unable to get back into action. It can also be the case that players are unable to register with sites even once a Gamstop exclusion has ended. At this point, to play online poker for real money it is necessary to look beyond the UKGC-licensed sites to find a great place to play. Luckily, we’ve found plenty of them!
Why Play at a Poker Site not on Gamstop?
In most cases, playing poker not on Gamstop is an awful lot like playing on a regular UKGC-licensed site. Poker is probably one of the greatest card games ever invented, allowing skill and nerve to come to the fore while maintaining just enough elements of luck so that anyone can get lucky for a big score! When the internet came along, it turned out that poker was perfect to be adapted for online play. Not only does the interface of cards, chips and simple actions (check, bet, fold, etc.) lend itself well to the screen, but when you play online you never have to worry about having the perfect ‘poker face’!
Like many other types of gambler, poker players tend to love the freedom that comes from making your own luck and outplaying your opponents using nothing but your wits. So in a way it makes perfect sense that so many poker players would enjoy the freedom of playing at non-UK poker sites.
Gamblers should always be aware of all their options, and playing at non Gamstop poker sites is something that’s available to you. If you’re on the Gamstop register, the appeal of non-Gamstop poker sites is obvious, but these sites also often feature other games and activities which can be a whole lot of fun! Slots, casino table games and much more are often just a click away from your favourite poker table.
Site Ratings – What We Look For
When evaluating the options available to non-Gamstop poker lovers out there, we look at every site we can find to make sure we can bring our readers the latest and best new casinos and poker rooms to be found anywhere online. We know exactly what we’re looking for, because at the end of the day we’re keen poker players just like our readers! Here’s a quick rundown on what separates the ‘aces’ from the ‘muck’.
Maybe you’ve only played a few hands of Hold’em round the kitchen table, or maybe you’re a regular at the World Series of Poker. Either way, you should know that poker games come in all shapes and sizes, with variations in the rules depending on which poker variant you’re playing. We think the best poker sites without Gamstop should feature a range of different games, like Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Draw poker, and ideally in both ring game and tournament formats. More traditional poker-based casino games, like Caribbean Stud, are also fun and broaden a site’s offerings and appeal.
Good Payment Methods
It’s all well and good finding the perfect site, but what’s the point if you can’t load any money into your account? We know our readers are primarily based in the UK, and so we’re always looking for sites that make it easy for UK players to get into the action with as few hurdles to clear as possible. By offering a wide range of recognisable payment methods, sites make it faster for players to get money into their accounts and, crucially, easier to make withdrawals too.
You only sign up with a new site once, so you always want to make sure you get the best value at this stage. These sites know they have one chance to make a first impression, so will very often give you their best value offers right off the bat. It’s important to read between the lines a little here, though, as some bonuses can seem big and attractive but are actually quite difficult to clear in full, while others can initially seem less generous but actually be easier to cash out in the long run. Either way, as a new player you should expect some excellent treatment from any new site, and we’re here to make sure you get it!
For us, a great customer experience is a combination of several things including a pleasant, smooth user interface, a good choice of games and activities, fast processing of deposits and withdrawals, and of course good quality customer service. You want a site (and/or an app) that is easy and intuitive to use; systems for managing your account and gameplay that make sense and don’t require lengthy instructions; and helpful and easy-to-reach customer service agents that can help you if things go wrong. The customer is king, so only give your business to those sites that can earn it!
Recommended Site – SportsBetting.AG Poker
UK players have a lot of choice when it comes to non-Gamstop poker sites, but one we can’t help but recommend to our readers is SportsBetting.AG Poker.
A 100% welcome bonus worth up to a huge €1,000 is waiting for new players (just enter the code ‘NEWSB’ when making your first deposit), so you’ll be able to try out a lot of what this site has to offer without putting too much of your own money on the table. Got to love playing with house money, right?
Another thing we love about SportsBetting.AG Poker is the mobile-friendly layout, which makes it super-easy to play the game you love anywhere you happen to be (although we definitely recommend somewhere with a mobile signal or WiFi!).
Freerolls are another great feature of a good poker room, as they allow you to play real poker tournaments, against real players, in order to win real money. But like the name suggests, ‘freerolls’ are free to play.
SportsBetting.AG Poker boasts of $10,000 in freeroll prizes available exclusively to new players, so if you’re already an experienced player with an edge, these freerolls could add a serious boost to your bottom line. And if you’re at the other end of the scale and just learning the game, freerolls let you do so without any financial risk to yourself. Together with the built-in odds calculator available on the site, the result is a decent site for beginners to learn more about the game.
With features aimed at satisfying everyone from the novice to the experienced poker player, we have to give SportsBetting.AG Poker top marks!
Poker Games Available at non Gamstop Sites
Whether you’re a young blood or an old hand, poker is a great way to challenge yourself and others for real money. In most games you’ll be facing off against real opponents rather than the house, so to be a big winner you don’t need to be the best player in the world – just better than a few others at your table! Here’s a few of the most common poker games you’ll find at non-UK poker sites.
This is the most common poker game you’re likely to find anywhere, whether online or live. Each player receives two hole cards, private to them, before a community board of five more cards is spread which every player can use to make their best five-card hand. If you’ve watched poker on TV, you’ve probably seen Texas Hold’em being played, as it is the world’s most popular poker format as well as the game used to select poker’s world champion every year at the World Series of Poker.
This game plays almost identically to Texas Hold’em, above, but with the crucial difference that each player receives four hole cards instead of two, and must use exactly two of those hole cards to make their best five-card hand. Omaha is often played ‘pot limit’ instead of ‘no limit’, and can also be played as a ‘Hi/Lo’ game for even more action!
Five Card Draw
The ‘granddaddy’ of poker formats, this is the game you’ve probably seen cowboys playing in the saloon in Western movies. Each player bets on the strength of their five hole cards, and is able to re-draw new cards to replace them if they wish. While still fun, Five Card Draw has passed out of favour for many players since Texas Hold’em came along.
There’s one crucial difference when it comes to Casino Hold’em and other variants, and that’s because this game doesn’t pit you against fellow players, but rather against a dealer. It’s also a lot more simple and straightforward, and faster to play: simply make a better Texas Hold’em hand than the dealer does to double your stake! There are other options to win more based on the strength of your hand, and the dealer has to make a hand of a certain strength to even qualify. This a great casino diversion for poker players, rather than a true multiplayer poker game, but is great fun and perfect for when you’re looking for some solo action.
Pros of non Gamstop Poker Sites
- Good selection of different poker formats
- Worldwide, non-segregated player pool means potentially more players, more games running, bigger tournaments and bigger prizes
- Great selection of other games, including slots, video poker and casino poker variants
- Sites may also feature sportsbooks so you can bet while you play
- Good choice of sites, each with different welcome bonuses
- Sites may offer unlimited deposits
Cons of non Gamstop Poker Sites
- UKGC-licensed sites are among the most trustworthy in the world – other licensors are not as famously strict
- Fewer tools available for responsible gaming
- Games rarely available in GBP
- Unlikely to be able to win entry to land-based poker tournaments, as on UKGC sites
FAQ Poker Sites not on Gamstop
What kinds of poker can I play online?
Online poker is as versatile as its real world equivalent – or more so, as you don’t need to all be in the same room to play – so pretty much any format of poker you can think of is available online. The most popular variants are usually Texas Hold’em and Omaha, but you’ll also find old favourites like Seven Card Stud and Five Card Draw, newer variants like 6+ or Short Deck Hold’em, and even casino games like video poker, Caribbean Stud, Three-Card Poker and much more.
Does Gamstop include poker?
In a word, yes. Self-excluding via Gamstop will result in you being barred from all UKGC-licensed gaming sites, which includes online poker operators. Luckily, there exists a world of possibility for poker players willing to look beyond the jurisdiction of the UKGC.
Is non Gamstop poker safe?
The UKGC is probably the strictest licensor in the world, but it’s important to realise it is not the only such organisation. Jurisdictions around the world, from Curacao to Malta and Gibraltar to Cyprus, also issue and enforce gaming licences, so there’s no need to worry if a site is not licensed by the UKGC – you will still get a fair game. If playing on non-UK online poker sites, we would recommend using a site which is licensed elsewhere rather than a completely unlicensed site.
Am I legally allowed to play on non Gamstop poker sites if I have signed up with Gamstop?
Yes. Gamstop is not a legally-enforceable measure (you signed up for it voluntarily, after all), and acting to circumvent Gamstop’s restrictions by playing on a non-UK site is not a crime: you are merely exercising your right to choose.
Is PokerStars available to Gamstop players?
PokerStars is one of the biggest online poker operators in the world, but is very highly regulated as a result. It is licensed in the UK by the UKGC, and players in the UK are obliged to use its dedicated .UK software client, so there is no legal way to play at PokerStars when registered to the Gamstop scheme. Using a false name and/or a VPN could be a way around these restrictions, but you should be aware that these are both serious violations of the site’s Terms & Conditions, for which they could (and likely will) seize your entire balance and close your account. Luckily, as we detail above, there are plenty of alternatives for poker lovers looking for non Gamstop poker action online.