Is Poker Haram? All You Need To Know

is poker haram

Poker is a popular card game that has been around for centuries, and it is enjoyed by millions of people around the world. However, there has been some debate in the Muslim community about whether or not playing poker is haram, or forbidden by Islamic law. Some argue that poker is a form of gambling and therefore haram, while others believe that it is a game of skill and therefore permissible.

In order to understand whether or not poker is haram, it is important to first have an overview of the game itself.

Key Takeaways

📌 There is debate in the Muslim community about whether or not playing poker is haram.
📌 Poker is a card game that involves a combination of luck and skill, with players needing to know the rules of the game, understand the odds, and be able to read their opponents in order to be successful.
📌 Which type of poker is considered halal.

Overview of Poker

Poker, a popular card game that involves betting and individual play, is often played with a standard deck of 52 cards. The game can involve anywhere from two to ten players. The ultimate goal of poker is to win the pot, which is the sum of all bets made by players in a hand. In online poker, these bets can be made conveniently using a credit card.

Each player is dealt a hand of cards, and the players take turns betting on the strength of their hand. The game progresses through a series of rounds, with new cards being dealt and bets being placed at each round.

There are many variations of poker, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, and Five-Card Draw. Each variation has its own rules and strategies.

Type of Poker Brief Description Common Format
Texas Hold’em Each player is dealt two private cards, and five community cards are dealt face up. The player with the best five-card hand wins. No-Limit, Limit, Pot-Limit
Omaha Similar to Texas Hold’em, but each player is dealt four private cards. Players must use exactly two of them in combination with three of the five community cards. Pot-Limit, Limit
Seven Card Stud There are no community cards. Each player is dealt seven cards, three face-down and four face-up. The player with the best five-card hand wins. Limit
Razz Seven Card Stud variant where the lowest hand wins. Limit
Five Card Draw Each player is dealt five private cards, and they have the opportunity to exchange some or all of them for new ones in an attempt to improve their hand. No-Limit, Limit
2-7 Triple Draw Players get three draws to make the lowest possible hand. The best hand is 2-3-4-5-7 of at least two different suits. Limit
Badugi Four-card lowball draw variant with a unique hand-ranking system. The goal is to have four low cards of different suits. Limit, Pot-Limit
HORSE Rotation of five different variants: Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo. Limit
Irish Poker A combination of Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Players are dealt four cards and must discard two after the flop. No-Limit, Pot-Limit

Poker, and indeed lottery games have gained popularity in recent years, with many professional and amateur players participating in tournaments and online games. It is often played for fun, but can also involve high stakes and significant amounts of money.

While some people view poker as a game of chance, others argue that skill and strategy play a significant role in the outcome of a game. The legality and moral implications of poker vary depending on cultural and religious beliefs.

Are Gambling Games Haram?

According to mainstream Islamic teaching, gambling is considered haram because it is seen as an act of irresponsibility and dependency on chance, rather than relying on one’s own efforts and trust in God’s provision.

The Quran explicitly mentions the prohibition of gambling in several verses, including Surah Al-Baqarah 2:219 and Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:90.

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِنَّمَا ٱلْخَمْرُ وَٱلْمَيْسِرُ وَٱلْأَنصَابُ وَٱلْأَزْلَـٰمُ رِجْسٌۭ مِّنْ عَمَلِ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ فَٱجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

O believers! Intoxicants, gambling, idols, and drawing lots for decisions are all evil of Satan’s handiwork. So shun them so you may be successful.

Is Poker Haram? The Islamic View on Gambling

“Every game where every participant must face 2 choices: Profit and loss, then it’s gambling.”

In the teachings of Islam, Allah cautions against the harms of engaging in gambling (maisir in Arabic). Poker is a type of gambling game and is considered haram. It is also discouraged due to the negative consequences it can bring to individuals and society.

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِنَّمَا ٱلْخَمْرُ وَٱلْمَيْسِرُ وَٱلْأَنصَابُ وَٱلْأَزْلَـٰمُ رِجْسٌۭ مِّنْ عَمَلِ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ فَٱجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ أَن يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ ٱلْعَدَٰوَةَ وَٱلْبَغْضَآءَ فِى ٱلْخَمْرِ وَٱلْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ وَعَنِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ۖ فَهَلْ أَنتُم مُّنتَهُونَ

“˹O believers! Intoxicants, gambling, idols, and drawing lots for decisions are all evil of Satan’s handiwork. So shun them so you may be successful.”

Satan’s plan is to stir up hostility and hatred between you with intoxicants and gambling and to prevent you from remembering Allah and praying. Will you not then abstain?

Al Maidah 5: 90-91

In other verse, Allah also stated:

ﻴﺳﺌﻟﻭ ﻧﻚ ﻋﻦ ﺍﻠﺨﻤﺮ ﻭﻠﻤﻴﺳﺮۗ  ﻗﻝ ﻓﻴﻬﻤﺎ ﺇﺜﻢ ﻛﺑﻴﺮ ﻭﻤﻨﺎﻓﻊ ﻠﻟﻨﺎ ﺲۖ  ﻭ ﺇﺜﻤﻬﻤﺎ ﺃﻜﺑﺭ ﻤﻦ ﻧﻓﻌﻬﻤﺎ

“They ask you ˹O Prophet˺ about intoxicants and gambling. Say, “There is great evil in both, as well as some benefit for people—but the evil outweighs the benefit.”
Al-Baqarah/ 2 : 219

The term Al-Maisir in both verses is a form of gambling historically practiced by Arabs using arrows. The majority of scholars from the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali schools of thought concur that a significant element of al-Maisir is betting. Consequently, this act of betting becomes the underlying cause (illat) for the prohibition of al-Maisir, according to the consensus among these scholars.

Allahu a’lam (Allah knows best)


Does poker count as gambling?

Yes, poker is considered a form of gambling. This is because it involves betting that is based on the players’ hand of cards, which introduces an element of chance.

Although poker also involves a degree of skill and strategic thinking, the outcome is ultimately influenced by the unpredictability of the cards dealt. This combination of chance and skillful play characterizes poker as a form of gambling.

Is poker allowed in Dubai?

No, poker and any form of gambling is illegal in Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The laws of Dubai are based on Islamic rules that do not support gambling of any sort. This means that there are no casinos or other commercial gambling zones in Dubai.

Even cruise liners must cease all gambling activities when mooring in Dubai. While online gambling is technically illegal in Dubai, it is difficult to police and many Dubai residents still access online casinos via proxy servers. However, gambling online from Dubai could lead to prosecution.

Is poker without betting haram?

In Islam, any form of gambling, which is called “maysir” in Arabic, is strictly prohibited as per the teachings of the Quran. As poker involves betting and a degree of chance in predicting the outcome, it is classified as a form of gambling.

Therefore, playing poker for money is generally considered “haram”, or forbidden, in Islam as it goes against the principles of Sharia law.

However, if poker is played solely as a game of skill without any betting or monetary gain involved, then it may be permissible under these conditions:

  • There is no element of insult that lowers self-esteem
  • It does not cause harm to humans or animals
  • It does not make you neglect prayer or other religious obligations
  • It does not lead to lies or other things that are forbidden

Is online poker haram?

Yes, online poker is generally considered haram, or forbidden, in Islam. This is because it involves elements of gambling, known as “maysir” in Arabic, which is strictly prohibited by the Quran. Even though online poker may involve some skill, the element of chance in the game categorizes it as a form of gambling. Therefore, whether played online or in-person, poker for monetary gain goes against Islamic principles and Sharia law.

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