Last updated January 2024.
The incredible numbers at the European Poker Tour’s (EPT) first trip to Paris proved beyond doubt that the French poker boom is real. There’s arguably no country in the world at the moment where poker is growing at this kind of rate, even Brazil.
It’s all the more impressive because of some well-publicised issues with legislation in the past decade or so. While legitimate online operators such as PokerStars have confirmed their standing in a regulated market, live poker rooms have not had it easy.
Rooms have opened, closed, opened again and closed again with alarming regularity over the past few years, making it pretty difficult for poker tourists to know where they can get a game.
However at time of writing — February, 2023 — here are three of the best places to play poker in Paris. We’ve confirmed that all of the information included is accurate, so at least you’ll know where you can play when the EPT moves on at the end of this week.
CLUB BARRIERE CHAMPS-ELYSEES
By far and away the best known club in the history of Parisian poker is the Aviation Club de France (ACF). Established in 1907 as a member’s club for workers in the aviation industry, it gradually became a gaming venue for bridge and baccarat, among other games, before embracing poker in 1995 — far ahead of many other European casinos
It was the go-to venue to Paris’s poker players for the best part of two decades, hosting a number of WPT events among a long list of other high-profile tournaments. Its location on the Champs d’Elysee, in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, made it one of the most attractive destinations in world poker.
There’s bad news and good news about the ACF, however. The bad news is that the club was forced into liquidation in 2015, apparently ending a long era of poker on the Champs d’Elysee. Despite howls of disbelief and despair from the world’s poker players, the ACF closed its doors.
The good news, however, is that Barriere Casino group assumed control of the property at 104 Champs d’Elysee and reopened a poker room there. This week, the EPT cash games have been taking place there, and you can find games in the venue even when the EPT is not in town.
One of the most popular poker clubs in Paris at the moment is Club Circus Paris, which was the host venue for the Road to PSPC tournament in November of 2019. Back then, Jade Kieu beat a field of 1,310 and this is one of relatively few rooms that are big enough to host an event of that size.
Club Circus is in the 16th arrondissement, practically over the road from the Roland Garros tennis club and the Parc des Princes, where Paris Saint-Germain play their games. It’s at the south-east corner of the Bois de Boulogne.
There are 11 cash-game tables, open from 12.30pm through 4.30am every day, plus a regular schedule of tournaments. PokerStars is not the only major operator to host its event here, so it’s worthwhile keeping an eye on the schedule if big field MTTs are your preference.
As the name suggests, Club Montmarte is located in Paris’s charming cultural district of Montmartre, just down the hill that gives the area its name. It means that this is not only a brilliant place to play poker, it’s also less painful to be knocked out. At least you can then stroll into any of the district’s hundreds of wonderful restaurants or bars.
And being knocked out is actually more of a danger here than in many other Parisian poker clubs. Club Montmartre is the only club with a dedicated tournament poker area. (The others tend to focus on cash games.) There are 22 tournament tables, with regular events at all buy-in levels, so it’s worth checking the schedule and finding a game to suit.
Hold’em is, of course, dominant, but there are Omaha cash games spread here as well. It’s all suitably ornate as well: the poker takes place beneath mirrored ceilings and grand wall-clocks, atop parquet floors.
CLUB PIERRE CHARON
PARIS ELYSEES CLUB