Professional poker in Zimbabwe is still very much in the early stages. However, a few players from Zimbabwe are emerging as serious poker stars.
The world of professional poker tends to be dominated by players from the United States, with a large proportion of pros also hailing from Europe and Asia. Aside from South Africa, the global poker circuit has seen very few professional players who come from the African continent.
South Africa has lots of home-grown talent in the form of Jarred Solomon, Darren Kramer, and many more, while the other African countries have seemingly yet to make their mark in the poker world. Zimbabwe, however, is making a good effort, with a handful of talented players emerging onto the scene over the last few years.
Poker in Zimbabwe
Gambling in Zimbabwe has been regulated by The Lotteries and Gaming Act since 1998 and the country has over 20 gambling establishments, ranging from horse racing tracks to casino halls. However, Zimbabwe is not particularly renowned for playing poker.
When it comes to playing online poker in Zimbabwe, there is, as yet, no explicit legislation. Therefore, if you live in the country and you enjoy online gaming, there are plenty of offshore poker sites for you to explore. These include sites such as GGPoker where you can play different variations of the game.
Pro player: Uriel Remy Levy
With total live earnings of $221,346, Uriel Remy Levy is currently Zimbabwe’s top rated poker player. His best live cash win is an impressive $29,873 and he’s placed 10,829th on the all-time money list. However, despite being the highest ranked player in Zimbabwe, Levy only ranks number 86,469 on the global poker index rating. While Levy’s talent and skill can’t be denied, his placing on the international poker stage emphasises how far Zimbabwe still has to come to make an impact in the sport.
Pro player: Weston Karnes
Despite only seeing one significant cash win, Weston Karnes comes second in Zimbabwe’s all-time money list, with $29,558 in total live earnings. Karnes, who lives in Zilla, has been playing professional poker for more than a decade, and saw his lucky break when he scooped $28,166 at the 2010 Fall Poker Round-Up in Pendleton. He’s currently ranked number 62,636 on the all-time money list.
Pro player: Kim Parshotam
Kim Parshotam first caught the poker world’s attention in 2010 when he came first at the Texas Hold ‘Em Main Event in the WPTL Tweed Coast Quarterly Poker Championship in Australia. The impressive feat won him $20,335, which has been his biggest win to date. Parshotam has continued to play at least one tournament a year since then with varying degrees of success and has so far amassed $21,260 in total live earnings.
Pro player: Dean Spagnuolo
The Italian-Zimbabwean from Harare has amassed well over $120,000 in total live earnings. Spagnuolo is a unique one on this list because sources differ as to whether or not he identifies as Italian or Zimbabwean – he has heritage within both, but which one is listed as his country of origin varies between poker sites. Nonetheless, Spagnuolo is a pro player with ties to the southern African republic and so is contributing in some way to Zimbabwe’s poker success on the world stage. Rather impressively, his best live cash win is $60,129, which is almost twice as much as Levy’s biggest live amount. Spagnuolo burst onto the world poker stage at the 2015 WSOP tournament, where he came third in Event #56: Turbo No-Limit Hold ‘Em. Since then, he has taken part in two WSOP events, gaining $14,838 in winnings.
Could we see a Zimbabwean WSOP bracelet winner in the future? Only time will tell if that will happen. However, with the emerging batch of players hailing from the country, it looks like Zimbabwe is certainly attempting to make an impact on the world poker stage.