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Michigan Online Poker

Online poker is Michigan is live.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Internet Gaming Act in December 2019, legalizing not only online poker, but several other types of online casino gambling. Then it was up to the Michigan Gaming Control Board to finalize rules and regulations and manage the application process before online poker operators could electronically shuffle up and deal.

And legal, regulated Michigan online poker became a reality in January 2021 when PokerStars, in partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, became the first operator to launch in the state.

Michigan lawmakers and residents overcame a false start in 2018 when an online poker bill passed the State Legislature, only to be vetoed by outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder. This time, Whitmer, a gambling proponent, signed the bill into law on Dec. 20, 2019, making Michigan the sixth state to legalize internet poker.

Michigan was already a poker and gambling-friendly state with three major Detroit casinos, more than 20 Indian casinos on tribal lands and dozens of real money poker rooms throughout the state.

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Can I Play Poker Online in Michigan?

Yes. PokerStars launched in January 2021 as the first Michigan online poker operator. The Michigan Gaming Control Board had to craft regulations for internet poker, online casino gambling and online sports betting, a hefty agenda requiring multiple layers of approval.

As they awaited online poker, Michigan players could (and still can) sign up at social casinos and sweepstakes poker sites, in which players are provided free virtual coins and can win prizes, with no actual money changing hands. Poker or video poker can be played on the websites of social casinos and operators such as Chumba Casino or Global Poker, or through a variety of Facebook apps.

CHECK OUT: Our Guide To Michigan Online Sports Betting For The Latest Developments & Top Online Sportsbook Offers When They Become Available

Online Poker in Michigan

Most projections targeted the first half of 2021 and PokerStars, also available in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, made that a reality with its launch on Jan. 29.

Michigan regulators proceeded cautiously in crafting online gambling regulations for poker, online casino games and sports betting. The coronavirus crisis added to the delays by shutting down state offices for a lengthy period of time. In addition, Whitmer asked regulators not to issue emergency rules, which have been used in other states to speed the regulation process along.

According to the Detroit News, regulators estimate online gaming rules take about a year to develop.

CHECK OUT: Our Guide To Michigan Online Casinos For The Latest Developments & Top Online Casino Offers When They Become Available

Which Brands Will Provide Online Poker in Michigan?

The first operator to move into the Michigan online poker market was The Stars Group, owner of PokerStars.

In January 2020, the Stars Group (which operates as FOX Bet online sportsbook) announced a partnership with the Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians to provide online poker and online betting services. PokerStars is among the leading online poker operators in the world, and operates U.S. sites in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (where it has the online poker market to itself).

Other online operators are likely to follow. The most logical is PartyPoker, a partner with MGM, which owns the state’s largest casino (MGM Grand Detroit) and offers online poker in other states. The state’s other two major casinos are operated by Penn National Gaming (Greektown Casino) and IH Gaming (MotorCity Casino). Neither offers an online poker site in other states, though Penn National Gaming is an experienced online gaming operator in Pennsylvania.

Will I Be Able to Play Against Others in Different States?

Not initially, but perhaps eventually.

One difference between the bill Snyder vetoed and Whitmer signed was the removal of a multi-state compact clause. Currently, New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada are part of that compact, which allows players from those three states to compete against each other using the WSOP.com and 888poker platforms. The compact vastly improves player liquidity, meaning more players, choices and games available.

States not part of the compact have cited legal concerns, specifically whether the Wire Act of 1961, which prevents sports betting across state lines, applies to poker.

Also to be determined is whether Caesars Entertainment will enter the Michigan online poker market. Caesars operates the WSOP.com platform and is a partner with 888poker, which currently provide the only shared liquidity market.

How to Create an Online Poker Account

The sign-up process is simple. Go to the poker site of your operator of choice. You will be prompted to begin the registration process and asked to provide:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Physical address
  • Cell phone number
  • Last four digits of Social Security number

The last four digits of your Social Security number are necessary for the online poker operator to verify your identity, age and to protect against potential fraud. All bettors must be at least 21 years old. You don’t need to be a Michigan resident to set up a poker site account – in fact an account can be set up from anywhere – but all wagers must be placed from inside state lines.

After registration is complete, claim whatever bonuses you may be offered and select one of the deposit options to fund your account. Once funds are deposited, you are ready to begin play.

If you prefer playing a poker game on your mobile device, simply download the app – either from the online poker site itself of the App Store – and sign into your account.

Where Can I Play In-Person Poker in Michigan?

Below is a list of most of the state’s poker venues, with many located in casinos, standalone card rooms, bars and bowling alleys. No-limit Texas Hold’em cash games are offered, with the bigger venues also offering Omaha and other games, along with a variety of tournament play.

Commercial Casinos

Poker Room CityNo. of tables
Greektown CasinoDetroit 12
MGM Grand Casino Detroit 17
MotorCity Casino Detroit 17

Tribal Casinos

Poker Room CityNo. of tables
Bay Mills Resort & Casino Brimley 4
FireKeepers Casino Battle Creek 22
Gun Lake Casino Wayland 14
Island Resort & Casino Harris 6
Kewadin Casino Sault Ste. Marie 4
Odawa Casino Petoskey 6
Ojibwa Casino Baraga Baraga 1
Ojibwa Casino Marquette Marquette 3
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Mt. Pleasant 14

Poker Rooms

Poker Room CityNo. of tables
5 Star Charity Poker Room Sterling Heights 6
American Poker Room Shelby 3
Burton Eagles Poker RoomBurton 6
Ciccarelli’s Sports Bar Utica 8
Huron Poker Room Oscoda 6
Joey Armadillo’s Niles 5
Krazy Kopz at Vision Lanes Westland 15
Langan’s All Star Poker RoomWalled Lake 8
Legends Poker Place Metamora 8
Live Action Poker Room Boomers Allen Park 4
Momo’s Poker Room Taylor14
One Eyed Jacks Poker Lounge Utica 8
Owosso Poker Room Owosso 10
Players Golf & Poker Room North Livonia 5
Players Golf & Poker Room South Livonia 9
Prime Time Poker at 59 West Highland 8
Rounders Poker Room Saginaw 7
The Event Spot Poker Room Lansing 6
The Event Spot II Poker Room Lansing 2
Thompson Poker Room Ypsilanti 3
Waterford Card Room at 300 Bowl Waterford 8
Winning Hand Poker Trenton 12

Payment Options for Online Poker in Michigan

Michigan players have several banking options to fund their accounts. Among the most popular:

Play+/prepaid cards: Play+ was created for finding casino and sportsbook accounts and can be funded with a credit card or through your bank account. It can also be used to cash out winning, and you can access funds at participating ATMs. Other prepaid cards contain a specific value. Available at retail locations or some online poker operators offer their own branded prepaid cards on their websites.

E-wallets: The most popular are PayPal and Neteller, which store your credit card or bank account information and allow you to transfer funds to your online poker account for low fees.

PayNearMe: No credit card or bank information needed. Use cash only to make a deposit at any Michigan-based 7-Eleven, Family Dollar or CVS Pharmacy location, with the money transferred to your online poker account by barcode.

Credit/debit card: Always a convenient option and deposits are processed quickly. Watch for high fees since some financial institutions treat these transactions as cash advances. Also be aware than some financial institutions that issue Visa and Mastercard still block internet gambling transactions even if they are with legal, regulated online betting and casino sites.

ACH/bank transfer: A form of electronic check. Funds are transferred directly from your bank account to your poker site account. A convenient method for withdrawals.

History of Online Poker in Michigan

1993: State signs compact with Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, paving way for tribal casinos, which are permitted to offer poker.

1999: Three years after voters approve statewide referendum to allow commercial casinos, MGM Grand Detroit opens in July, followed by MotorCity Casino in December. Greektown Casino opens the following year.

2017: State lawmakers introduce Lawful Internet Gaming Act, which would permit online poker, casino games and sports betting.

2018: Lawmakers pass amended Lawful Internet Gaming Act in December, sending bill to outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder, who vetoes the legislation.

2019: Revised Lawful Internet Gaming Act is approved by both chambers and signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in December. Revised law does not include multi-state compact to share online poker players with other states.

2020: Michigan Gaming Control Board begins process of crafting online poker rules and regulations.

2021: Online poker in Michigan launches with PokerStars.

Michigan Online Poker FAQ

Is online poker legal in Michigan?

Yes. Online poker is part of the Lawful Internet Gaming Act (H 4311), which was signed into law in December 2019. The first launch (PokerStars) was in January 2021.

Do I need to live in Michigan to play online?

No, you do not need to be a Michigan resident. But Michigan account holders must be physically located within the state when playing in an online poker room. Geofencing technology is used to track a player’s location.

What poker variations does Michigan provide?

No-limit Texas Hold’em will be easy to find. Pot-limit Omaha and a variety of stud games also are available.

Is online poker safe in Michigan?

As long as you are playing at a licensed poker site that is regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, the games will be fair and your account safe. Do not play online poker at offshore-based sites, which operate with no oversight and provide unnecessary risks.

How much will my poker winnings be taxed in Michigan?

All gambling winnings are fully taxable, according to the IRS, at a rate that will depend on your tax bracket. Michigan also assesses a 4.25% tax on winnings.

Will there be poker apps in Michigan?

You can bet on it. Online poker apps provide convenience and wagering mobility, allowing you to bet from anywhere within the state at any time. The apps are specifically designed for your mobile device, generally available for iOS and Android, and can be downloaded for free on your operator’s website or the App Store.

About the Author

Chet Fussman for Bookies.com
Chet Fussman
Chet Fussman, a former horse racing writer and longtime sports editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, is a poker and blackjack player and frequent sports bettor.