The world’s largest Muslim population resides in Indonesia. 225 million of its 264 million inhabitants identify as Muslims. That isn’t very helpful for gambling. All forms of gambling are forbidden by Islam, which refers to them as “maisir.”
It follows that gambling is unlawful in Indonesia. Additionally, their government is working harder than governments in most other nations to limit gaming. Police may search your phone if you are stopped by them to look for evidence of illegal card or casino games.
Gambling.com notes that, regrettably, Indonesia is extremely eager to buck regional trends. The Indonesian government tries everything in its power to keep its nation out of the rapidly expanding Asian online gambling sector. The gaming industry in Asia is expected to produce $80 billion in income over the next several years, according to experts.
Online gambling is still highly common on the black market in Indonesia despite the stringent restrictions and very real danger of prosecution. Sports betting, especially betting on soccer events, is their preferred option.
Some well-known poker players from Indonesia
Evidently, it’s difficult for a prospective poker player to turn pro and achieve international success in such a regulated environment.
However, one Indonesian man has succeeded in doing just that. When John Juanda came to the country to attend college, he was just 19 years old. He was able to play poker there and win a lot. He has over $25 million in live tournament winnings and five WSOP gold bracelets, one of which is from the WSOP Europe. Additionally, he has competed on NBC’s legendary Poker After Dark program, facing off against some of the greatest poker luminaries, like Johnny Chan and Daniel Negreanu.
He received $2.870 million for winning the HK$1,000,000 Triton NLHE event in Macau in October 2011. His largest live tournament payout to date was that.
Juanda also frequently participated in extremely high-stakes cash games on the now-defunct poker website Full Tilt. After playing 84,690 hands, he earned almost $500,000 in profit, according to an internet database.
One of the few widely used poker memes on the internet was made by Juanda. At the 2008 Aussie Millions, Juanda had three Queens at the river, but Tony G flopped a Royal Flush while holding KJ of diamonds. Everyone folded after Tony G’s wager. Juanda joyfully exclaimed, “I had trips!” after Tony G handed her his Royal.
This amusing quip from him may be found in the comments section of numerous poker films posted online.
Evidently, Juanda has the top rank on Hendon’s list of Indonesians with the most wealth, with no one even close. Michael Sampoerna, a player who has only ever cashed out once in his career at the 2008 Aussie Million for $307,660, is in second place.
In Indonesia, Darus Suharto was also born. Hendon, however, lists him as a Canadian player. He participated in the 2008 WSOP Main Event final table before losing in sixth place for $2.419 million. Suharto finished the WSOP Main with two more ITM finishes.
Indonesian Live Poker Laws
Playing Live Poker in Indonesia
As we indicated in the introduction, Indonesia has very strong regulations against gambling of any kind.
Even worse, there are substantial consequences for breaching these regulations. An Indonesian man who was found engaging in illicit gambling was publicly flogged in October 2019, according to a report from casino.org. The article claims that such punishment is very typical.
Venues for live poker in Indonesia
Given all we’ve mentioned so far regarding Indonesian gambling rules, it should be clear that we cannot advise visiting any illegal gambling establishments there.
Nevertheless, pokerdiscover.com continues to list two public poker rooms in Indonesia despite all of the news articles claiming that gambling is prohibited in the South Asian nation. These two locations are the Black and White Poker Club in Kuta and the Riyanda Poker Club in Semarang City. But the fact that neither of them has an official website is pretty instructive.
There is not a single piece of information on Riyanda online. On the other hand, Black and White, which is situated in the well-known tourist destination Bali, provides “offline” cash games every day. Only No Limit Hold’em is offered, with stakes of $1/$2 and $3/$6. They have these information available on their pokerdiscover.com page.
Indonesian Online Poker Regulations
In Indonesia, there is a sizable underground market for online casinos and card games, which the government is making considerable efforts to stifle.
The ministries of Social Affairs, Religious Affairs, and Communications & IT in Indonesia declared in 2012 that they will put unlawful gambling websites on a blacklist for their citizens. Nevertheless, despite their best attempts, Indonesian gamblers can still access a number of well-known gambling websites.
However, bear in mind that if you are detected playing poker in Indonesia, whether it be live or online, you could still receive a harsh penalty!