When online poker first appeared the game was hugely popular in the US which meant most of the poker sites would use US dollars as the currency. This has changed in recent years – firstly because of the legal issues of playing online poker from the US and secondly because of the rise in the game in Europe and particularly in the UK. This has led to a clamour for games played using Great British Pounds (GBP) – and a number of poker sites now cater for this.
In this article I start by explaining why it is an advantage to actually play in GBP. I then move onto explain the different ways a poker site will actually handle your GBP play. I finish with some recommendations of particular poker sites who offer GBP play.
Why play in British Pounds?
The first answer to this question is because it makes perfect sense. You earn money in Pounds, you spend money in Pounds on the high street, you have Pounds in your pocket and any other service you’ll find online you’ll pay for in Pounds – so why should poker be any different? If online poker actually started today, my opinion is that all of the UK based sites would have the Pound as the default stake at the tables – why would the games be in Dollars?
Of course, that is not the situation as many games at poker sites are still played using US Dollars and at many sites your poker balance will also be in US Dollars. This presents a problem, as this adds an extra level of variance to your poker games. As well as beating the poker game, you’ll also be hoping that the exchange rate goes in your favour – otherwise you could find yourself in a position where you’re actually winning money at the tables, but losing money overall as the dollar has lost value in comparison to the pound. Of course, this could go the other way, but there is enough variance in poker already, so do you really want more?
How do Poker Sites Deal with the GBP Currency?
There are three main ways in which a site will deal with the GBP currency.
Firstly, a site might immediately convert your GBP deposit to US dollars, you’ll play in US dollars and your balance will be converted back to GBP at the point of withdrawal.
Secondly, you’ll find sites where there are games offered which are actually in Pounds which also accept deposits in Pounds. This is particularly straightforward, as you’ll have no worries about exchange rates. Unfortunately, this is not the norm right now and you’ll only find this option at a small number of sites – the traffic at these games not particularly busy. However it has to be said that there are more and more people playing in Pounds, so this is a growth area.
Secondly there are sites where you’ll deposit in Pounds and your account will remain in that currency – however you’ll play at table with a different currency, in most cases this being the US dollar. You’ll buy in for your dollar amount and the appropriate amount of Pounds will be deducted from your account based upon the current exchange rate. Fortunately at many sites the exchange rate is fixed for your time at the table, so having made a profit in Dollars, you’ll be guaranteed of making a profit in Pounds.
Best Sites for play in GBP
PokerStars have an innovative approach to player’s accounts in the fact that you can hold money in three different wallets – GBP, the Euro and the US dollar. In fact, you can decide to hold all of your money in just one wallet, or spread the amount across all three. You’ll find games in all three currencies, although it has to be said that the vast majority of traffic at the site is still at the US Dollar games. The GBP games are signified by a pound sign in a yellow circle in the games lobby.
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Titan Bet is the UK licensed arm of Titan Poker, with access to the same games and software. When depositing at Titan poker in Pounds, your balance will stay in Pounds. This site differs from many in the fact that they actually host no US dollar games at all, the games being played for either Pounds or Euros. If playing at a game in the Euro currency, you’ll be charged at the current exchange rate which will be the same rate which that will be applied when you leave the table. Because of the lack of dollar games, you’ll find the GBP games here a little busier than at some other sites.
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