I have just returned from a trip to Italy. A beautiful mountain side village called Maiori in the town of Amalfi, played host to the 1st Amalfi Poker Open. Staged in a luxury hotel, this appeared to be one of the nicest European venues around. With thousands of precious European ranking points on offer, players flooded in from all corners of the continent.
On day four, seconds before the final of the pot limit omaha tournament was due to start and in the midst of several cash games and sit & gos, the Italian police raided the hotel and demanded play was stopped. The hotel and organisers had neglected to obtain the correct gaming license for this event and the festival was over. Several worried players had to wait around until the next day to be refunded their buy-in money. A wasted trip for all involved.
Gambling in many countries and states is illegal, whether that be on-line, in an underground casino or simply a tournament held in a hotel. Yet, many of us ignore the law and carry on regardless. This is playing with fire. The internet is no longer the anonymous place it was many years ago, if playing on-line is illegal where you live, or illegal unless you are 18, 21 or 25, then don't do it. You are risking your money and your freedom.
Check local laws about playing poker. There may be loopholes where it is deemed a sport rather than a gambling pursuit. Certainly professional players will argue that poker is indeed a sport with a minor element of chance.
Recently an illegal underground poker club in New York was raided by police, money was seized and players arrested. Authorities around the world are clearly cracking down on illegal games. Stay safe and check before you play.