As a mostly rural state, finding a live poker room isn’t always easy. There are five casinos and all have poker rooms, but the state’s populous spread out, finding a game isn’t easy.
Online poker offers a chance to change that in the Mountain State. There are many players in the state and with online gaming, including poker, now legal, players around the state a chance to get in the action.
This article offers players an idea of what to anticipate when online poker goes live. Some of that includes possible operators, how to sign up and deposit, bonuses, the history of online poker in the state, and everything else to get online and play.
Online poker in West Virginia overview
Poker players in West Virginia received some good news in 2019. The state became the fifth state to legalize online gambling — including poker.
A legal and regulated online poker market would soon be coming to the state. Gamblers would eventually be able to play traditional casino games and poker from their homes or mobile devices. The state had already launched sports betting, including mobile, in 2018. Players would now be able to play poker and traditional casino games, as well.
As of July 2020, however, there remained some issues to deal with. As a rural state with a population of 1.8 million, creating prize and player pools large enough to sustain poker might be a struggle.
The market would be a “fenced in” poker market without a shared liquidity deal until the issue of the Wire Act is settled in court. The legality of interstate compacts remains tied up in federal appeals court with the Department of Justice arguing the Wire Act applies to more than just sports betting.
Despite that, poker players in the state hope online poker tables show up on their screens soon.
WV online poker launch update
Online gambling going live wasn’t going to be immediate. Initially, WV officials charged with licensing and regulating the industry didn’t expect any online gambling in the state until 2021.
That changed during the COVID-19 casino shutdowns of 2020, when online gambling and poker were seeing a surge in player numbers. Regulators at WV Lottery drew up rules in hopes quickly in hopes that some form of online gaming could launch by July.
Online poker didn’t make the cut by July, but DraftKings became the first on the state to offer legal online gaming. The site’s casino began taking WV bettors on July 15.
Below are the states with legal, real-money online poker.
Whether West Virginia enters into an interstate compact remains to be seen. But if it becomes a fenced-in market similar to PA, there could be a struggle to produce enough players to create significant player and prize pools.
Where can I play poker online in West Virginia?
Online poker is legal in WV, but nothing has launched as of July 2020. Play would initially be in a “fenced in” market, meaning players would only battle it out at the tables with others within WV.
Among legal states, WSOP.com is the only platform offering a shared liquidity market. That includes New Jersey and Nevada, and with its software partner 888 Poker in Delaware and New Jersey as well. The Wire Act may determine whether the Mountain State joins an interstate compact and can be successful in offering online poker.
What can players expect regarding operators? Here are some operators who may consider getting in on the action.
The global leader in online poker already operates online poker and casinos in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. PokerStars operates “fenced in” online poker in those states, but it will be interesting to see if it will make an effort in a state with such a small population.
That seems much more likely if interstate compacts are approved. In NJ and PA, PokerStars offers numerous tournament series throughout the year with major guarantees. Some of those have included the Bounty Builder Series, SCOOP and several others. Players have come to love the site’s excellent software and promotions.
This is the No. 2 global site in online poker, and the operator is in a similar situation as PokerStars when it comes to West Virginia — and others for that matter.
Partypoker offers online poker in New Jersey, and was expected to launch in Pennsylvania by August 2020. Along with its NJ poker platform, its partnership with MGM in the state allows for BorgataPoker.com and BetMGM skins.
Partypoker also offers major live events around the world, many in conjunction with the World Poker Tour, and qualifiers for live events at the Borgata in NJ. During the coronavirus pandemic, the site added numerous tournament series, including the first-ever partnership with WPT in the state.
Caesars Entertainment owns the World Series of Poker, and WSOP.com leads the field among US online poker operators. The site offers a number tournament series through its shared liquidity market among New Jersey, Nevada and with its software partner 888 Poker in Delaware.
Will this operator be interested in the Mountain State? That remains to be seen. Caesars doesn’t own a casino in West Virginia but could easily partner with one of the properties in the state.
Penn National Gaming
This company already owns the Hollywood Casino in WV as well as properties in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada and other states. While it hasn’t made a move toward online poker, it is always possible.
The company is already working at growth in online gambling. If interstate compacts are approved, Penn National seems well positioned to add poker if it desires.
Live casinos in West Virginia
Gamblers looking for some live action have five casinos to choose from in WV. There is actually a nice poker scene as well at these properties, with all five operating poker rooms.
The challenge for many WV gamblers is that the casinos are spread out in this rural state. Poker players and gamblers have quite a ways to travel if one of these isn’t located nearby.
Online poker and casino games could make wagering quite a bit easier for many. Here’s a look at the West Virginia’s five casinos.
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races — This Penn National Gaming property offers a 16-table poker room near Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. This is the largest casino in the state.
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort — This property is located in the far northern panhandle in the city of New Cumberland, between Ohio and Pennsylvania. The facility features 14 tables of live poker action.
- The Casino Club at The Greenbrier — This is the only private club casino in the country, although it is possible for nonmembers to play. The casino is located in White Sulphur Springs, in the southern section of the state. It’s small, but features a six-table poker room and a FanDuel sportsbook.
- Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack — This casino is located in Wheeling, in the northern panhandle on the border with Ohio. The Delaware North hospitality and gaming corporation manages both Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras. It operates a nine-table poker room.
- Mardi Gras Casino and Resort — This casino, a sister property of Wheeling Island, is located in Cross Lanes in western WV near Charleston and features 18 tables.
Bonuses at West Virginia online poker sites
Real money online poker offers the opportunity to play some Texas Hold ’em or Omaha without having to leave your home. There are also other advantages such as lower stakes and even using free play options to learn the game without losing a dime.
When playing online, it’s always easy to find a game, with something often available 24/7. Online poker sign-up and deposit bonuses are also excellent incentives to play online.
Bonuses give players some extra funds, sometimes for free, to jump in the action. Simply sign up and deposit for a shot at some added funds to battle it out at the virtual tables. Here’s a look at some of the current offers and how to get those free bucks.
- WSOP.com — Receive a $10 sign-up bonus for simply creating an account, no deposit required. Real-money depositors can take advantage of a bonus up to $1,000. Other promotions and bonuses throughout the year including regular reload bonuses.
- PokerStars — New depositors earn $30 in free play and a 100% match bonus up to $600. You can also earn a free entry into a nice $5,000 depositor freeroll and 1 million in play money.
- Partypoker — Players earn a $25 bonus just for signing up, and depositors will collect a nice 100% match bonus up to $1,000.
Online poker apps for West Virginia players
Using mobile devices for online poker has become very popular over the last few years, and operators have moved to please these players. Mobile casino games also offer opportunities to grow the game to more casual, social gaming players.
Playing from anywhere on a cell phone or tablet is super easy, and legal online poker sites have worked to improve their mobile platforms. Mobile players may expect some of these offerings.
WSOP Poker App
This app features large icons and an easy-to-navigate lobby. Gameplay is smooth and makes use of landscape mode with a black, red and gray color palette.
The table action also flows well. Players will find much of what they’d expect on the traditional desktop client software, including:
- Cash games
- Sit and gos
- Multi-table tournaments
- BLAST Sit and Gos — small, super-turbo, winner-take-all tournaments
Players will find a completely integrated platform on a vertical screen setting. A center slide bar shows games and other highlights, making it easy to find something that might interest you.
Table play is fluid, and checking out your account or filtering games and stakes is also easy. The app makes use of red, green and blue colors for pleasing visuals. Near the bottom of the screen, a menu helps with the ease of navigation as you move through the platform.
There are numerous options you’ll also find on the traditional poker client, including:
- Cash games
- Sit and gos
- Zoom Poker — a fast-fold game where action is lightning quick
- Spin & Go Flash — even faster spin and go’s with minute levels and 500-chip starting stacks
- Spin & Go Max — another fast-play game but you’re all in after a certain number of hands are dealt
This site also provides players with an excellent mobile experience. The company began making major mobile upgrades in November 2019, now with a much more user-friendly environment.
The app uses portrait mode for easy one-handed play. Other new features include improved table tiling for switching between tables, simple buttons and icons, improved graphics and an improved player lobby.
Party also added fun mobile and social gaming elements like a social currency called Diamonds, bubble chat, emojis and animations, enhanced dialogues, a redesigned multiplier animation and much more. The overhaul has made for a better player experience.
Playing sweepstakes poker in West Virginia
While online poker may be legal, no operator has launched yet. Until that time, WV players can enjoy sweepstakes poker. These social gaming sites allow players the chance to play for cash prizes.
Global Poker is one of the largest and most popular sweepstakes sites. The site is available to players in the US and Canada (excluding Quebec). Players use a virtual currency called Gold Coins, which they can use in ring games and tournaments.
When buying extra Gold Coins, you’ll also receive another virtual currency called Sweeps Coins. You can use these in separate Sweeps Coin events like:
- Ring games
- Sit and gos
- Jackpot sit and gos
- Major live tournament series
Unlike Gold Coins, Sweeps Coins can be exchanged for cash prizes. Global Poker is a nice social gaming experience until real money online poker goes live in the state.
Global Poker is owned by VGW Holdings Limited, a publicly traded Australian company. The Malta Gaming Authority regulates VGW’s social gaming platforms. Players will find plenty of fun and feel secure that player funds are safe. Global’s poker platform has something for every bankroll, and games include:
- Texas Hold ’em
- Crazy pineapple
WV players can get in on the Global Poker action using this exclusive PokerScout bonus offer for a free $20 Gold Coin package just for signing up or a $40 Gold Coin package and bonus 40 Sweeps Coins for depositing $20.
How to deposit and withdraw from a West Virginia online poker site
Getting started at an online poker site and funding an account is simple. PokerScout will have links available for exclusive bonus offers when operators go live in the state.
Simply click on these links when available to take advantage of bonus codes to earn some free funds when hitting the tables. Here’s an idea of what to expect when getting started for the first time.
When getting started at a poker site, a few details will be needed such as: name, address, phone number, and email. Players will also need to come up with a username and password.
Once those details are taken care of, a player can then decide if he’s ready to make a first deposit. Players can also use play money to test out a site.
These sites offer trusted deposits methods. Major credit and debit cards as well as e-checks are usually acceptable.
E-wallets such as PayPal and Skrill also allow for simple funds transfers in seconds. You can even make a deposit at the cage of casinos that might partner with the online site. PayNearMe is another cash deposit option. Use the platform’s app at various retail locations cross the US to make a deposit with cash.
Additionally, if you’re in another state but heading to WV, it’s simple to sign up and fund your account at a legal poker site. You can get started with the sign-up and deposit process from anywhere.
When in that state, you’ll be ready to sign in to the site and play. Online operators use special gaming-approved software that can track a player’s location to make sure you’re actually in the legalized state.
Online poker safety and security in WV
Legal, regulated online poker is the best option for players looking to play online. Unlike illegal offshore sites, players can feel secure in using a regulated US online poker site.
These poker sites must meet strict standards and regulations set up by state legislatures and gambling commissions. Sites go through strict licensing processes just like those of legal land-based casinos.
Unlike unregulated sites, players expect their funds and personal information to be safe. Cash withdrawals are also safe, secure and quick.
On the contrary, illegal offshore sites don’t always offer this level of safety and accountability. Slow payouts and missing funds are a frequent complaint. Sites have been known to cease operations, and players don’t get their money back. Regulated sites must keep player funds separate from operating funds to ensure issues like this don’t arise.
History of online poker in West Virginia
Efforts to legalize online gambling in West Virginia started in February 2019 when the state House and Senate approved the state lottery to regulate online gambling. The West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act officially became law in March 2019 when Gov. Jim Justice failed to act on the bill.
Without adding his signature, the act became law. With DraftKings launching in July 2020, WV officially entered the world of legalized online gambling.
Many West Virginians will be anxiously awaiting a poker platform to launch in the state as well. As noted earlier, a shared liquidity pool might be necessary for any hope at a significant online poker presence.
The Wire Act issue could eventually come before the Supreme Court. The ultimate decision could have significant repercussions for online gambling. A positive decision for the gambling industry could also be nice for WV.
Frequently asked questions
Is online poker and casino gambling legal in West Virginia?
Online poker is indeed legal in West Virginia, but no sites had launched as of July 2020. Whether the state can produce a functioning poker market remains to be seen. WV may require being part of an interstate compact, an issue that has yet to be resolved in US federal courts.
At what age can you play online poker in West Virginia?
The legal age to gamble online in WV is 21. That goes for online gambling as well.
Do you have to be a West Virginia resident to play?
No. Players in other parts of the country can register and deposit, and then play when in the Mountain State. That also goes for players in neighboring states who might spend some time in WV. Registering and making a deposit ahead of time makes it easy to play when you’re in the state’s borders.
Can I qualify for the World Series of Poker in West Virginia?
WSOP.com and its software partner 888 Poker are the only US poker sites that can offer qualifying events online for live World Series of Poker events in Las Vegas or WSOP Circuit events in other states. WSOP.com runs a shared liquidity market in Nevada and New Jersey, along with 888 in Delaware and Nevada.
Can I play on PokerStars in West Virginia?
No sites have launched yet, and it’s unknown if PokerStars plans to launch in WV. An interstate compact would make this much more likely. PokerStars currently offers “fenced in” poker markets in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey.