The Best Places to Play Poker at Sea



Playing poker can be one of the most entertaining things to do, and most of us get quite a thrill out of it. Whether you’re playing online poker or heading to a casino, it’s all fun and games, literally! Now, if you combine this with traveling, you have a winning combo! Have you ever played poker when sailing the high seas? If not, you’re really missing out on a sure-fire bucket-list item. Now we’ve piqued your interest, read on to discover the best places to play poker on a boat!  

Why can you gamble when at sea?

We know that no one polices the sea, in theory. While there is maritime law in most parts of the world, these laws mostly govern how people act and oftentimes how marine life is treated. But did you know there are hardly any gambling laws at sea? Let’s look at why that is. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you’ll understand that the boat is an extension of the country it’s registered in. So, whatever applies to land in that country will apply when you’re on the boat. However, the minute that turns into territorial waters, the rules no longer apply.  

Maritime law is quite clear when it comes to gambling laws at sea, especially on a cruise liner, stating that when a ship is docked or close to land, it’s governed by the laws of that country. Let’s use America as an example. You’re in Miami and about to set sail on a week-long cruise in and around the Caribbean. Once that ship sails between three to 12 miles from the US coastline, international waters then turn into territorial waters, and you are then free to gamble, as long as you’re at least 21. Selecting the correct destination will help you here. Let’s look at some of the best places where you can play poker while at sea.  


This Mediterranean country is situated between Sicily and North Africa and is the only country in the world where all types of gambling are allowed; however, online gambling must be authorized by the Malta Gambling Authority. Since 2015, any cruise liner docked in Malta with an onboard casino is allowed to operate. There are conditions though. They can only run between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., and must pay the government a fee per ship. Let’s look at a cruise ship in Malta that you are going to love. MSC Cruises offers a range of luxurious cruises all along the Mediterranean, which dock and pass through Malta. You can choose from the following ships:

  • MSC Grandiosa: Here you can head to the onboard casino to try your hand at some poker. 
  • MSC Seaview: This one is filled with true luxury and a whole lot of poker!  

The Caribbean 

For the most part, both online and traditional land-based gambling is largely legal in most Caribbean countries. However, it’s recommended that you check the specific country you are going to just to be on the safe side. Since you’ll be able to play poker just about anywhere in this part of the world, you can imagine that being out at sea is going to be so much fun. Here are some of the many cruise companies that sail to the Caribbean: 

  • Royal Caribbean: This one is an easy decision and arguably the most popular cruise ship the region has to offer. There is a range of fun things to do on board, including playing poker. If you need some poker lessons, you can book a slot to brush up on your skills or start from scratch. There are also Texas Hold’em tournaments where you can take on a few high rollers to win some awesome cash prizes. 
  • Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Cruises is often a go-to for many cruise lovers, but they really do cater for the poker lover in particular. What stands out here is the fact that Celebrity Cruises considers technology when making this experience a memorable one. First up, you can play poker traditionally, which is great. However, you can also download an app and play poker online, wherever and whenever you want, all while on board!
  • Norwegian Cruise Line: The Norwegian Cruise Line is one of the most popular in the world, with some wonderful reviews that’ll leave you rushing to book your next cruise. Here you can experience a range of cool things such as circus performances. The cruise is entirely casino themed and comes with a poker challenge too. So, get ready to flex your poker muscles while on board. 
Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor