While Serbia may be known to the world for its ski resorts, orthodox monasteries, and soviet-style architecture, what few are aware of regarding the largest country of former Yugoslavia, is that it holds a pretty liberal stance when it comes to gambling.
This activity first got regulated post-WW II as a way to stimulate Yugoslavia’s post-war economy. However, the first casino that got opened in the 1960s in Belgrade only allowed entry to foreigners. That was a situation similar to the current one in many African countries. Of course, that policy has since changed. In 2004, Serbia made internet gambling legal, and in 2011, a new law further liberated this sector. It dismantled the online monopoly of the State Lottery and even allowed foreign operators to apply for gambling licenses in Serbia. Thus, the country now boasts an active digital gaming sphere that complements its two land-based establishments.
Those interested in enjoying the world’s most popular card game should know that they can do so at Belgrade’s most noteworthy casino. Naturally, they can also play via the internet and explore a list of quality online poker sites open to players from all over the world. Serbia is the birthplace of the World Series of Poker bracelet holder and World Poker Tour Champion Nenad Medić. Therefore, it is a region familiar with card action and one with a booming scene for its size. Below, we analyze the poker options available for Serbian residents and those who wish to visit this beautiful country.
Grand Casino Beograd
Located on the promenade of the famous Danube River, Grand Casino Beograd is only a seven-minute drive from the city center and a fifteen-minute one from the Nikola Tesla airport. It opened its doors inside the Hotel Jugoslavija in February of 2008 and has attained a reputation as Belgrade’s premium gambling spot. The Hotel Jugoslavija is one of the most luxurious and oldest hotels in the country. It is a hospitality establishment that has accommodated historical figures such as Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Queen Elizabeth II, Neil Armstrong, Tina Turner, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and many others.
Entrance inside the casino is free, but all visitors must register at the reception desk and be of legal age to play. Gambling is available every day from 2 PM to 6 AM, and the casino’s gaming floor is home to over one hundred and fifty slot machines and thirty-five table games, of which eight are poker ones. Note that not all of these are actual poker tables, as some feature casino-poker variants, where players face-off against a dealer. When it comes to real poker, Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha are the options available here. The Grand Casino Beograd also hosts the Danube Poker Masters Series, the most renowned tournament in the region. The casino’s Poker Arena can fit up to sixteen tables and has all the technical capabilities necessary for live broadcasts.
Fair Play Casino
You can find the Fair Play Casino in the heart of Belgrade on Terazija street, building number 25. It connects to the Hotel Kasina, which is across the Terazijska fountain, a well-known city landmark constructed during the rule of Milos Obrenovic. The Fair Play Casino has been active since 1993, decorated in an elegant style, with a cozy interior packed with live game tables and 32 slot machines.
Those familiar with poker rankings can enjoy Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em here, a casino poker variant invented by Roger Snow of Shuffle Master. If you manage to get a Royal Flush at an Ultimate Texas Hold ’Em table, beating your dealer, he must pay you a prize of 500 to 1 your stake. There are two such tables at Fair Play Casino. In terms of actual poker, this venue has hosted charity tournaments before. Though, it has no active poker rooms. So, do not expect to walk into this spot and enjoy poker action here.
Seek-Out Local Clubs
What is unique about Serbia is that because poker gets categorized as a game of skill, it falls under a different regulation category than the one applicable for classic table games. That has allowed poker clubs to be active throughout the country. One such example is the Bluff Texas Hold ’Em Club in Novi Sad. It is open every day from 8 PM and hosts cash games and tournaments with different level buy-ins. For example, some games have buy-ins as low as 500 Serbian Dinars and others as high as 6,000. The club also has a VIP online league and events that have guaranteed prize funds that go up to over 12 million Dinars. The Bluff Texas Hold ’Em Club has been operational since 2011 and is one of the more active locales of its kind in Serbia. The Eldorado Club, also in Novi Sad, was another similarly popular poker venue.
If you are in Serbia and want to play poker in a casino environment, the Grand Casino Beograd is your only real option. You can also look for local poker clubs or settle for testing your luck at a casino poker variant at the Fair Play casino. Another option is video poker, which is available in gaming locales that feature VLT machines, such as the Slot Club Apex Ruski Car in Belgrade, located at Trg Republike downtown.
Online play is available at digital platforms that offer their services internationally. Know that there are a few Serbian online clubs that offer tournaments and cash games over the internet 24/7. You can look for these via Google or on Facebook searches. They allow real money action through a combination of site registration and mobile apps play. Meaning, you will have to make an account with a specific club’s website and install one of a couple of poker apps that tie into their service. After you do so, you will have to request account activation from a customer support representative to get started. Some of these clubs also accept players from other ex-Yu countries, like Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Hi! I’m Bryan, and I’m a passionate & expert writer with more than five years of experience. I have written about various topics such as product descriptions, travel, cryptocurrencies, and online gaming in my writing journey. The latter is one of my favorite topics, and you can find some of my premium casino content at OUSC.