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El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America area wise, although they do pack about 6.3 million people into this space, and have the third largest population among Central American countries. (1)
The economy here is mostly based on agriculture, and coffee growing in particular, and therefore isn’t one of the more wealthy countries in the world, but it’s not one of the poorest either, with an average household income of about $660 a month, not a lot but quite a bit more than in some countries. (2)
Things have improved a bit at least in recent years though as El Salvador looks to diversify their economy a little more and incomes are on the rise as well. This hasn’t been the most stable region in recent years as they did go through a 13 year civil war not long ago, which did impact things here, but it’s now been over 20 years since then and things are settling in better now.
Gambling has historically been illegal since El Salvador’s independence from Spain in the 19th century, although these anti gambling laws were virtually ignored and gambling has persisted here throughout.
In 2002, a law was passed that sought to enforce the old 19th century law that still applied, although they did relent and still sought to permit the casinos they have but wanted to reduce the amount of gambling here generally. This law became overturned though and the law no longer seeks to intervene with gambling here, and it goes on now unabated. (3)
El Salvador has 2 main casinos that operate, the Siesta Hotel and Casino, by far the largest, as well as the native operated Monte Carlo Casino. These casinos mostly cater to tourists although Salvadorians are welcome at them as well.
In addition to these, there are several other smaller casino type betting parlors that cater to the locals, these are said though to be of a far lesser quality and with some of them at least there is also some question as to whether some of them may be rigged, and at best, these are far from luxury casinos but still are fairly popular among the people here. (4)
El Salvador also has several casinos cruises, where players can enjoy a trip out to sea and also partake in casino gambling, and while this isn’t meant to get around the anti gambling laws as you see in some other countries with casino cruises, it does provide some extra opportunities to gamble in a different setting and with a different atmosphere than you would get in a traditional land based casino.
El Salvador also has horse and dog racing, and the lottery is pretty popular here as well. So there is a good selection of gambling here in spite of the fact that they don’t have anywhere near as many casinos as some other countries in Central America.
Poker In El Salvador
Poker has caught on here pretty well and there is some land based poker available in addition to playing online. While the two main casinos don’t spread poker full time, they do run poker tournaments quite often and this has definitely helped spread the game, getting more people involved in land based poker for sure.
El Salvador also has a dedicated poker club as well, the Hold’em Club de las Americas in the capital of San Salvador, and live Hold’em is all they offer. One of the smaller casinos, the Casino Colonial, does offer some live poker as well, also located in San Salvador. (5)
So Salvadorians do enjoy the game of poker and while there is definitely a lot of opportunity for growth here, as the poker market here isn’t as well developed as you see in some other countries where it is more popular, it is catching on pretty nicely.
About a quarter of the population here has access to the internet and therefore has access to online poker, which is a decent amount at least comparatively speaking, but still could stand improvement and in particular to catch up with some other countries in Latin America where overall access averages out to be about twice as much access.
Online poker is really in its infancy in El Salvador and it isn’t all that popular yet, in spite of no restrictions at all as far as playing it. Poker sites do tend to be particular these days with which countries they take players from and which ones they don’t, seeing some as grey markets, but El Salvador is definitely a white market and online poker is completely wide open and fully accessible here.
There aren’t that many online poker players from here as of yet though, and several things need to happen for this to improve. The economy here could stand improving for sure, internet access needs to be expanded, and the game needs to be promoted more. Actually the last one is a pretty big one and poker isn’t a game that’s widely played here but as time passes that could change.
Top Online Poker Sites That Accept Players From El Salvador
All poker sites accept players from El Salvador, which makes this list an easier one, it’s just a matter of what the top poker sites in the world are. So we have 4 of them for you, our top picks based upon our years of experience with online poker and an overall evaluation of them which takes into account what players like, and what players need to be liking.
All of these selections offer nice introductory bonuses for trying them out by the way and you can’t go wrong trying any of them.
888 Poker has been a top online poker site since the dawn of online poker. We’ve been touting this poker room all along, and for a long time the quality of this poker room wasn’t that well known, but it sure is now, as they have ascended the top of the heap of online poker rooms in the last few years.
Party Poker is another very longstanding online poker room, and they have been in the top few most popular online poker sites in the world all this time, and still are. They know what makes a great poker site, and they have always known this, and they continue to offer great poker to online poker players from all over the world.
Titan Poker and Bet 365 poker are both on the iPoker Network, which is the top poker network in the world and offer traffic levels comparable to 888 and Party, and these are both poker rooms that are well known for their top notch poker and their strong commitment to make their players happy, which is exactly how they got to where they are today.
Black Chip Poker is another fine choice and one that a lot of poker players haven’t heard of yet, but they are well worth hearing about, and from being hungrier for people’s business, this has allowed them to really climb the rankings lately and players are really liking what they are seeing there and are playing a lot there these days.
1. El Salvador