In a state with plenty of poker players, Michigan can make a great addition tot he poker industry. The state becomes the fifth in the US with legal online poker.
For those in the Wolverine State, this review offers plenty of information on what’s planned for the state. That includes starting and account and making a deposit to games and tournaments offered and bonuses.
You’ll also find out a bit more about the Michigan poker scene and how that can grow when online poker goes live.
Michigan Online Poker Overview
It was quite a Christmas present for players in the Wolverine State in December of 2019. On Dec. 20, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law legalizing online poker, sports betting and other forms of online gambling.
Legal online gambling and poker would be coming to Michigan. Along with West Virginia, which also legalized online poker in 2019, this would bring the number of states with real-money, legal online poker to six.
As of June 2020, both states were still in the licensing and regulation process. However, regulators announced increased efforts to speed along the licensure process for online gambling to go live sometime the same year.
The only states currently allowing legal and regulated online poker are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Delaware. As the newest legalized state, Michigan has an opportunity to be a major player in the industry. The state has a population of 9.987 million and surpasses NJ by a million, though less than Pennsylvania’s 12.8 million.
An interstate compact would add even more players to a possible Michigan online poker market. With a nice population, however, the state offers the chance at a nice player pool of its own if that doesn’t happen. The state should be a welcome addition to the legal US online poker industry.
Online poker history in Michigan
The Saginaw Chippewas opened the state’s first tribal casino in Mount Pleasant in 1993 after signing a compact with the state. More compacts followed, and the state now has 23 tribal casinos.
Voters also approved three commercial casino licenses for Detroit in 1996, which eventually led to the Greektown, MGM and MotorCity properties. Other legal options include pari-mutuel betting and the state lottery. In 2014, the state added an online lottery.
State Sen. Mike Kowall introduced SB 889 in April 2016. The bill was known as “The Lawful Internet Gaming Act” and allowed for online poker and casino gambling. The bill granted up to eight licenses to Michigan-based commercial and tribal casinos. That bill died in committee, however, but offered a glimpse of what was to come.
In 2018, Michigan came close to legalizing online gambling. That December, the state House and Senate approved a bill that would legalize online poker and gambling as well as sports betting. Under the proposal, a division of internet gambling would be created under the state’s gambling regulatory body. This division would create regulations for the industry.
The legislation was able to coordinate among numerous interests, including the commercial casino industry, tribal casinos and the horse racing industry. The online offerings would be run through properties within Michigan, similar to online gambling in NJ and PA. The bill headed to Gov. Rick Snyder, whom many expected to sign it.
That didn’t quite work out. Snyder vetoed the legislation, and it would delay the process another year. Legislation was again introduced in 2019 with much of the same proposals remaining in the legislation. After coming so close to legalization in 2018, that was finally accomplished in 2019 as Whitmer signed the bill into law. The state’s poker players now eagerly await the launch of online poker.
Where can I play poker online in Michigan?
While poker has been legalized in the state, no operators have gone live in Michigan. The state would begin as a ringed-in market. That means players would only compete with their fellow Michiganders at first. WSOP.com currently remains the sole operator offering shared liquidity and player pools among different states. That means all the players in these states can compete against one another on the platform:
- New Jersey (WSOP.com and 888poker)
- Nevada (WSOP.com)
- Delaware (888poker)
The result of the controversy surrounding the Wire Act may ultimately determine whether the Wolverine State joins an interstate compact. As of June 2020, the US Department of Justice had argued in federal appeals court that the Wire Act applied to more than just sports betting.
The gambling industry won the first round in federal court, but the court battle remained a hindrance to the industry. Until that’s sorted out, players in Michigan will be happy to see at least some kind of online poker platform go live. Which online sites might be ready to head to the Great Lakes for some online poker? Here are some that may be ready to get on board.
Already operating in PA and NJ, the most recognized online operator in the world seems ready to enter the market. In January 2020, PokerStars became the first operator to announce a casino partnership.
The site has partnered with the Odawa Indians, which run three casinos in northern Michigan.
PokerStars is accustomed to operating online poker in ringed-in markets, including PA and NJ. If the gambling industry wins in the case against the Department of Justice, adding Michigan to a possible multi-state pool with those two states would be nice and could produce some big numbers.
The agreement gives Stars the first partnership in the state, and it could begin sports betting, poker and casino gambling when a license is approved.
This seems like another operator that may enter the market. While it currently offers online poker in NJ, the company is keen on expansion in the US.
MGM Grand Detroit is the state’s largest casino and the company (MGM) joins with partypoker in NJ. In addition to its own New Jersey site, the company also offers online poker through the BorgataPoker and BetMGM skins.
Partypoker remains one of the biggest operators in the world and also produces major live tournaments around the globe such as its popular MILLIONS series. There’s a good chance party will be eyeing a entrance into the Michigan market. That would be welcome news for many rounders in the state.
As of June 2020, Caesars didn’t have a casino in the state and was also undergoing a merger with Eldorado. Caesars Entertainment is one of the country’s largest casino corporations and also the owner of the famous World Series of Poker, the largest poker festival in the world.
The series is held each summer at the Rio in Las Vegas. WSOP.com is Caesars’ online poker brand of that poker festival. The World Series is one of the most recognized names in poker.
Michigan would be a nice addition to the WSOP fold, especially if it could be added to the shared liquidity pool WSOP.com already operates.
It’s a good bet Caesars will be one of the players should it choose to reach an agreement with a property in the state. WSOP.com operates the country’s only interstate agreement with New Jersey and Nevada. The company’s software partner, 888poker, is also part of that agreement in NJ and Delaware.
A few other possible online poker operators include 888poker and even Penn National Gaming. 888 is the software partner with WSOP.com and already offers online casino and poker in New Jersey and Delaware.
Penn National Gaming’s Greektown Casino might also be a property to watch. Penn offers online gambling in PA but so far that hasn’t included online poker. If more states open up, that might be a possibility.
Bonuses at Michigan online poker sites
Regulated and legal online poker can be a fun way to get in the action right from your own laptop, mobile device or tablet. You can even play for free if you’re new to the game or looking to work on your game. Playing online also makes it easy to always jump in on the action, no matter the time of day.
Another great opportunity is to check out some of the great bonus offers most operators offer players. This is some free money just for making the move to play online. Here’s some of what to expect from these offers from various online poker sites.
- WSOP.com — Look for a $10 sign-up bonus just for offering your information and creating an account. These free bucks don’t even require funding an account When you are ready to fund that account, you can expect even more — a deposit bonus up to $1,000.
- PokerStars — When you’re ready to make the first deposit, you’ll be credited $30 in free play and a match bonus of 100% up to $600. New players also receive a free entry into a $5,000 depositor freeroll and a million bucks in free-play cash.
- BetMGM (partypoker) — Simply create an account and receive a $25 bonus to give this site a spin. If you decide to go ahead and fund your account, look for a 100% bonus up to $1,000. It’s another nice bonus you’ll want to take advantage of.
Poker apps and mobile play possibilities
Online poker is on the rise for mobile players, and this has become an important player segment as sites look to grow their base of players. Mobile gambling also presents a possibility to grow the overall industry as more players embrace playing everything from cash games to major tournaments right on their phones or tablets.
Apps make it easy to play while on the go on a cell phone or tablet. In recent years, online poker sites have made huge efforts to meet demand for this style of play, including making major investments in upgrading their mobile offerings. Some of those potential mobile operators for Michigan could include:
WSOP poker app
This app is simple to use with easy-to-find features and on-screen graphics. Gameplay is smooth and seamless, with everything presented in landscape format. The aesthetics are also pleasing with a nice use of black, red and gray for a real casino-style look.
The action at the tables moves at a nice pace as well, and you’ll enjoy playing on this app. Many of the same poker games and events found on the software client are also available on the app — from cash games to larger tournament series events. Small-field format games like BLAST sit and gos — quick tournaments with only one winner — work especially well on a small screen.
Poker Stars app
This app is a complete seamless integrated experience with a handy vertical opening screen. You can easily scroll left and right for promotions, the day’s major events and other games.
The action on the virtual felt is smooth. Finding the perfect game and stakes is a simple process that takes only a few seconds. Players around the world recognize PokerStars’ traditional colors of green, red and blue, and that carries over to the app.
The graphics are easy on the eyes, and text is simple to read and follow. When looking for something you might have missed, look for a helpful navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.
Much of what players in New Jersey and Pennsylvania would find on the poker client can also be found on the app. You don’t have to be tethered to a laptop or desktop to play that big tournament you’ve been waiting for. Simply take out your phone and test your skills in events like the Sunday Special.
There are several game styles that also work well on mobile and include: ZOOM Poker (fast-fold cash game with no waiting for another hand); Spin & Go Flash (much quicker than a regular Spin & Go); and Spin & Go Max.
This last one even gets a little crazier. It’s also a quick-play game, but players are forced all in after a certain number of hands. No waiting around to play in that one.
Party Poker app
This operator has made major strides in appealing to its pool of mobile players over the last couple of years. In November of 2019, that included a complete revamp of its mobile offerings with user-friendly features and a nod to social gaming for players already accustomed to playing on their phones.
Players tapping on the partypoker app will find a nice portrait layout mode. Designers made a concerted effort to improve the platform so that it’s simple to play with a single hand. Players will find it easy to hold a phone and play by moving a single finger for moves like betting, bluffing and raising. A few additional improvements are:
- Easier to use on-screen icons.
- Better graphical presentation.
- Nice changes to the lobby.
- Easier multi-table play by more simplistic table tiling.
The site’s popular SPINS three-person tournaments are also perfectly designed for mobile play. Party also incorporates mobile elements like improved dialogue, social currency, animations, emojis, bubble chat, a new hand replayer, an easier SPINS tournament search tool, a redesigned and more user-friendly lobby, and more.
Like PokerStars, partypoker has really done an excellent job in making the app experience special, and players will enjoy games on their phones and tablets.
What is Global Poker and how does it work?
Until traditional online poker launches, sweepstakes poker is also an option in Michigan. These sites follow a social gaming model and can at least serve as a substitute for real online poker, and one site, Global Poker, even allows players to claim real cash prizes.
Global Poker is available to American and Canadian players (excluding Quebec) and has seen massive growth in the last year. Players can use the site’s free money option with currency called Gold Coins. Use these to test your skills in tournament events and cash games.
Those buying more Gold Coins are also credited with a bonus currency known as Sweeps Coins. Those players who take this option can use those coins in other events.
Sweeps Coins can be accumulated and redeemed for real cash prizes, a key difference between these two virtual currencies. Those looking to get in the Sweeps Coins action can choose from:
- Ring games
- Sit and gos
Games available on the site include Texas Hold ’em, Omaha and crazy pineapple. Global is an exciting social gaming experience and may be the next best thing to an online poker experience at a major operator like PokerStars or PartyPoker.
Players making the leap into sweepstakes poker will find a safe and secure environment. The platform is owned by the Australian publicly traded company VGW Holdings Limited and regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority.
Here’s an even better reason for Michigan players to give Global Poker a try. Here is your bonus offer for a free $20 Gold Coin package for simply creating an account. You can also claim a $40 Gold Coin package for only $20.
Depositing and withdrawing from a Michigan online poker site
Getting started at most real-money online poker sites is simple. Make sure to check back here as online poker sites begin debuting in the state. PokerScout will have exclusive bonus links and codes to snag some free money when signing up or making that first deposit.
You’ll be able to simply click on the corresponding site to earn some free cash and other freebies. Each site should offer bonuses, so if you’re serious about your poker, making use of all of them offers a shot at some free money on every site you might be interested in playing.
When you’re ready for the sign-up process, expect to provide some details about yourself and some other information to secure your account. That may include:
- Phone number
When you’ve provided all that, you can then deposit or use some of that sign-up bonus. You can also take advantage of free play to test drive the site. When making a first deposit, expect some normal deposit methods that might not be found on offshore, unregulated sites. Legal sites accept deposits using:
- Credit cards like Visa and Mastercard
- Debit cards
- Wire transfers
- Check mailed to operator
- Popular e-wallets like Skrill and PayPal
- Cash deposits at the casher of an affiliated casino
Another easy option is the PayNearMe platform, which allows deposits using cash, debit, credit and ACH at retail locations. A player can head to a local 7-Eleven and make a deposit using a proprietary and safe app.
Online poker safety and security
These are all safe options where players don’t have to worry about unscrupulous financial vendors that may be offered at offshore sites. State gambling commissions have regulations in place to make sure a player’s financial sources and information are safe. Sites undergo a thorough licensing process just as any land-based casino would have to go through. Your funds and personal information will be secure at these sites.
You also don’t have to be in New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania or Delaware to set up or fund your account. Heading to Las Vegas for some gambling fun or maybe even a business trip? If online poker sounds good while you’re there, go ahead and set up that account and even make a deposit. Once you’re in the hotel or ready to play some poker on your phone by the pool, you’ll already be set to go and hopefully win a few bucks.
Online sites follow legal regulations to make sure all players are actually in the state where online gambling is legal. Geolocation software can recognize whether a player is physically located in a state like Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Delaware.
Live poker in Michigan
Michigan card players have numerous options to hit the tables, with 15 live rooms. This list offers some of what’s offered in the Wolverine State.
- MGM Grand (Detroit) — 17 tables in a great environment, which is the norm for MGM casinos.
- MotorCity Casino (Detroit) — 17 tables with a lively tournaments and cash game scene.
- Soaring Eagle Casino (Mount Pleasant) — 14 tables with plenty of promos and a nice game selection.
- FireKeepers Casino (Battle Creek) — 26 tables in a completely remodeled room.
- Gun Lake Casino (Wayland) — 14-tables in this facility that receives accolades from players.
- Greektown Casino (Detroit) — 12 tables of action for those located in the Motor City,.
Michigan online poker FAQ
Can Michigan residents legally gamble and play poker using the internet or mobile?
Michigan gamblers will be able to play real money online poker or casino games when they officially go live. This environment will be as legal as taking a trip to one of the state’s casinos or live poker rooms.
What’s the legal age to gamble in Michigan?
Players must be at least 21.
Must a player be in Michigan to play?
A player must be located in the state when playing online. Online gambling operations use geolocation to detect where you’re located at the time. However, you can create and fund an account from any state.
This will allow you to easily play the next time you head to the state. Creating an account and depositing ahead of time is a nice option for those who might be in neighboring states and planning to spend some time in Michigan.
Will there be online satellites for the World Series of Poker in Michigan?
That all depends on whether WSOP.com launches in the Wolverine State. The site operates in New Jersey and Nevada, where it offers qualifiers for the annual World Series of Poker at the Rio in Las Vegas. The site also regularly hosts WSOP circuit tournaments online as well as qualifiers for live circuit events.
However, Caesars Entertainment doesn’t have a casino in the state and has yet to announce an online poker or gambling property in the state.
Has PokerStars gone live in Michigan?
Poker players looking to play at PokerStars will still have to wait. As of August 2020, regulators had yet to approve any gambling operators in the state. However, there are some good signs regarding PokerStars. In January 2020, the site became the first to announce a casino partnership.
Stars has partnered with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority, which runs three casinos in northern Michigan. Players will be pleased when Stars and other sites officially launch.