Thanks in large part to relaxed Moroccan gambling laws, this North African country is quickly becoming a hotspot in the world of poker. A steady increase in the number of poker tournaments hosted in the country, primarily in the tourist hub of Marrakesh, is giving Morocco a status as an emerging gambling center.
Many of the poker events that take place in the country are dominated by players who make the trip from abroad. Tournaments like the Marrakech Poker Open in the Es Saadi casino bring in poker pros from throughout Europe and Asia. This year, the event was won by amateur French player Sarah Herzali.
The Marrakech Poker Cup attracted players from even further afield. Only 13 entrants took part in this year’s event earlier this month thanks to its hefty $100,000 entry fee, but it was still a big success. The title was taken by British player James Bord, netting a total of $247,000. Bord recently made headlines by winning the Main Event of the Poker Stars WSOP Europe in London last month.
Later this year, the World Poker Tour is scheduled to make a stop in Morocco for the second time in its history. Last year, the WPT Marrakech event saw more than 400 players come together to create a prize pool of €1,812,000, making it the largest poker tournament ever held on African soil. The event was won by Morocco-based Frenchman Christophe Savary, who took home €377,262 in prize money.
“WPT Marrakech takes place in an amazing setting and if last year is anything to go by you can expect a loose aggressive field,” said World Poker Tour Tournament Director Matt Savage.
Entry to the World Poker Tour events happens through online poker sites in Morocco and abroad. International sites like Party Poker offer prize packages to major WPT tournaments, sending players off to take part in tournaments around the globe.