Michigan Online Poker Guide

 

Is Michigan Online Poker Legal?

Along with other forms of online gambling, the Michigan online poker industry is expected to launch in 2021. Governor Whitmer signed House Bill 4331 into law, which permits various types of online gambling in the state. Online gambling will include sports betting, online casinos, and online poker. Michigan joins only a handful of other states to permit all three forms of online gambling.

When Will Michigan Online Poker Launch?

Although there was hope Michigan players could see online poker before the end of 2020, it looks like an early 2021 launch is more likely. The original Michigan gambling bill set a 2021 timeline, but there was hope that the state would be able to finalize rules and regulations before the end of 2020. This is looking less likely, particularly for online poker. It is likely that online sports betting apps will be the first to launch. 

If trends continue as they have in other states that legalized the game, online poker should be a successful revenue generator for the state of Michigan. The bill allocates 23-28 percent of revenue to the state to support education and other programs. 

Will Michigan Join Interstate Poker Pools?

It is unclear whether Michigan will join interstate poker pools at this point, although it is looking more likely every day.

When the Michigan gambling bill became law, the bill did not specifically allow Michigan poker players to join in multi-state poker player pools. This would allow Michigan players the chance to play poker online against players in Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

In December 2020, though, the Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee approved a bill to allow Michigan to enter into these interstate player pools – a real step forward for Michigan poker players. If the bill is approved by the full Michigan House, this would pave the way for Michigan poker players to have a large volume of players from other states to play against. 

Types Of Games At Michigan Online Poker Sites

Only Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania currently allow live dealer online poker in the United States. It’s unclear if the Michigan Gaming Control Board will issue licenses to casinos that wish to offer online poker with live dealers. Many of the most popular poker games will be available in online formats after launch. 

The most popular poker games are:

  • Texas Hold’emThe most popular poker game on every online poker website, because it’s easy to learn and fun to play.
  • OmahaA pot-limit game that plays much like Texas Hold’em except the player gets four hole cards and must use two.
  • 7-Card StudA classic, this game is still immensely popular with poker players.
  • 5-Card DrawNo one knows where you’re going in this game where players receive all of their cards face down.
  • BadugiA newer game compared to others, Badugi is a challenging game that pops up on some of the online poker sites. 
  • RazzCan you make the lowest hand at the table? If you like such a challenge, Razz is your game.
  • Chinese PokerEasy to learn and entertaining because of its unusual twist to the rules.
  • Short DeckWith a short deck (hence the name!), this game is fun and popular with online tournaments. 

Online Poker Sites Coming To Michigan

Thus far, two Michigan poker sites have been announced. It is necessary for all online poker apps to partner with a local casino in order to operate legally in Michigan. As of late 2020, two partnerships were announced.   

PokerStars

The largest online poker cardroom, PokerStars is likely to enter the online gambling market in Michigan. PokerStars is currently available in Nevada and New Jersey and has applied to enter the market in Delaware and West Virginia. PokerStars announced a partnership with Odawa Casino Resort to bring its online poker app to Michigan. 

Partypoker

This site is only available currently in New Jersey, but it’s possible that Partypoker could enter the Michigan market when online poker debuts in the state in 2021. Partypoker is likely to partner with MGM Grand Detroit and Roar Digital to launch its online poker app. 

WSOP

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) online cardroom and mobile app have millions of players and is very popular with new, younger players. WSOP is currently operating in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. WSOP is the only online poker site that pools players from those three states. Although no partnership has been announced for WSOP Michigan, it is likely the app will launch eventually in the state.

How Can I Play Poker Online In Michigan

Michigan law permits online poker to be played via websites or mobile apps. At this time, the state has not elaborated on whether or not multi-state player pools will be allowed.

Once the online poker sites are announced, users will be able to compare them to make a decision on which one they want to use. These sites offer a registration, which typically requires a state-issued identification card.

Please note: you must be 21 years of age to play online poker in Michigan.  

Deposit And Cashout Methods At Online Poker Sites

Players can deposit money to play online poker in Michigan via these methods:

  1. Credit cards
  2. Debit cards
  3. Bank or wire transfers
  4. Online payment services such as PayPal
  5. Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin

The easiest form of transfer is a credit card, which typically offers immediate funds transfer. Some bank credit cards may block deposits to online gambling sites, though. This makes PayPal a great alternative to credit card transactions.

Players redeem winnings from online poker via bank transfer, PayPal, or cryptocurrency. In some cases, large sums may be payable only via wire transfer or check. Please consult the specific poker sites for details.

Types Of Bonuses Available On Online Poker Sites In Michigan

Most online poker sites and apps will offer some free chips to new players. You will also be enticed by playing bonuses.

Deposit-Match Bonuses

An online poker room may offer a bonus when new players register and deposit money. The amount matched typically ranges between 50 and 300 percent of the deposit. 

Free-Play Bonuses

A free-play bonus is designed to incentivize a poker player and to reward a player for playing. The site will give a free play or a number of chips to ensure the player can play for a period of time for free. 

Freerolls And Freeroll Tournament Poker

With a freeroll bonus, the site awards free “money” to a player to play in a special game or tournament. This money has a “point” value rather than a strict dollar value. As a result, players can cash in their points for money that they can use to play real online poker. 

Online Poker In Michigan FAQ

Is online poker legal in Michigan?

Yes, Governor Whitman signed the Michigan gaming bill into law on December 20, 2019. This bill legalized online poker along with online casinos and online sports bettingMichigan became the sixth state to legalize online poker.

“The agency cannot license casinos nor applicants that will support their online betting operations until the administrative rules are promulgated,” said Mary Kay Bean, on behalf of the Michigan Gaming Control Board. “We will share applicants’ names after we’ve completed vetting them and are ready to seek licensing approval from the five-member board. 

It is likely Michigan online poker apps will launch in early 2021.

How old do I need to be to play poker online in Michigan?

You must be 21 years of age to play online poker in Michigan.

Will Michigan share in online poker player pools with other states?

Possibly. The original bill did not specifically allow for cooperative online poker pools with other states. However, Michigan legislators have indicated that the omission was intended to guard Michigan against taking part in multi-state progressive slot jackpots.

As of December 2020, a bill started to make its way through the Michigan house that could allow Michigan poker players to join interstate player pools. It looks hopeful.

Is my money safe at online poker sites in Michigan?

Yes, as long as you make sure you register and play poker only at legal gambling sites that have been approved by the state of Michigan. 

Only the 23 tribal casinos and the three commercial casinos located in Detroit may apply for and operate an online poker license. Casinos are required to pay a $50,000 application fee, a $100,000 initial licensing fee, and $50,000 annually to renew.

When the MGCB issues their guidelines (expected later in 2020 or early 2021), we will know more about protections for consumers.

Does PokerStars have a site in Michigan?

Not yet. Online poker has not launched in Michigan, even though it was legalized in December of 2019.

According to Michigan law, any of the 26 current casinos in Michigan can partner with and offer online poker through partners like PokerStars. So it is possible that PokerStars will be available in Michigan in the near future.   

Can I play poker with DraftKings in Michigan? 

No, not at this time. Guidelines for the operation of online poker have not been issued from the state of Michigan, due to delay during the pandemic.

We expect that later in 2020 or perhaps early in 2021, the Michigan Gaming Control Board will publish guidelines. Then we will know who can apply for licenses for online poker in the state. DraftKings offers both sports betting and casino games from its app in other states. This includes video poker.