Are you ready for legal online poker in Michigan? Playing Texas Hold’em and Omaha on your PC or tablet isn’t a dream in Michigan any more. Real money poker is legal to play in your own home or on the move.
Online gaming was legalized in Michigan in late 2019 and the first Michigan online poker site to launch was in January 2021. What can you expect from Michigan poker online? Read Gambling.com’s dedicated guide to regulated and licensed MI poker sites and bookmark this page to check for the best offers.
Yes. PokerStars launched in Michigan in January 2021, becoming the first operator to offer its online poker product in Michigan, PokerStars offers online poker in the state via its partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.
In December 2019, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer passed a group of bills that legalized online gambling and poker in the Wolverine State. By passing the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, Michigan became the sixth US state to legalize online poker, following Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Under HB 4311 – the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, online gaming operators can apply for licenses as long as they are partnered with existing brick-and-mortar establishments in Michigan.
Each casino is allowed one online poker brand. License fees are set at $50,000 for the application, plus a $100,000 initial one-off license fee. The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is in charge of issuing licenses to prospective operators.
In addition to federal taxes, Michigan poker online will be subject to state tax on profits, while the Detroit casinos will also be subject to a city tax.
Currently, Michigan has 26 land-based casinos. Three are commercial casinos based in Detroit, while the other 23 are tribal casinos run by a variety of different Michigan tribes.
Is online poker legal in Michigan? Absolutely. The first sites appeared when PokerStars launched. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed operations until January 2021 for PokerStars, which had previously only been available in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The world’s largest poker room – PokerStars – signed a deal with the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians in Michigan and became the first online poker operator in the state to launch. Partypoker has also expressed an interest in entering the legal MI market.
As of early 2021, Michigan residents and visitors will be able to enjoy legal Texas Hold’em for real money. So, what can we expect to see at the best MI sites?
Gamblers from Detroit to Petoskey can register, log on and play in a legal online poker room. And if you live in neighboring Indiana or Ohio, you can drive over the border to play legal online poker in Michigan.
Here is what to expect from legal internet poker rooms in MI:
Legal age of gambling in Michigan: To play Michigan poker at online sites, you’ll need to be aged 21 or over.
Age & ID verification checks: Online poker sites will perform ID checks to ensure you are of legal age. You will likely have to submit a valid Social Security number and a form of government-issued photo ID such as a passport or US driver’s license.
Geolocation tools: MI poker sites will use geolocation tools like GeoComply to pinpoint your location when you log in. You don’t need to be a Michigan resident to play, just as long as you are within state borders you’ll be able to log in and play. Geolocation tools are common in other regulated states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Wide range of deposit options: With online poker in Michigan legal, sites can offer a secure variety of banking options to players. Make safe and quick deposits through Play+, PayPal, debit and credit cards or transfer cash direct from your checking account.
Cash games & tournaments: The best legal poker rooms in other states have a huge variety of poker games available, so Michigan will likely have the same. Play cash games from just $0.01/$0.02, or buy in to larger single-table and multi-table tournaments. You may even find satellites which give you the chance to qualify for large live events around the United States.
So, what games can you play? Texas Hold’em is the most popular form of poker online in 2020. Play cash, tournaments or Sit ‘n Gos at a range of buy-ins. You should also be able to play Omaha poker and less-popular variants like Stud, Razz, and H.O.R.S.E.
The beauty of legal online poker in Michigan is that you never have to leave your home to play. Often, the range of games will be healthier than a Detroit commercial casino or typical tribal casino.
Mobile poker on the go: You aren't restricted to playing poker on a PC or laptop, either. Mobile poker apps let you play games on the move wherever you are in the state. Legal poker sites in MI will use GPS tracking to ensure you are within state lines when you log on and play. But you can use the same login details on mobile as you do for desktop.
Play against MI players: At the beginning, online poker fans in Michigan can only square off against other players based in the state. However, we shouldn’t rule out the Michigan Gaming Control Board allowing interstate compacts to broaden the player pool. These would allow players in Michigan to take on those based in other regulated US states.
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While legalized online poker in Michigan is fairly new, the state actually has a long tradition of legal land-based cardrooms. Some online casinos in Michigan already have operational poker rooms. They offer both cash games and tournaments around the clock. Tribal casinos opened their own poker rooms in the early 1990s.
There are currently three commercial casinos in Detroit that offer poker:
MGM Grand Detroit offers over 20 tables of action 24/7. You can take your pick of Limit and No Limit Texas Hold’em, as well as Pot Limit Omaha. There are also 10+ TV screens showing the night’s big sports events.
MGM Grand runs regular promotions, most of which let you earn points on your M life Rewards card. Other bonuses include bad beat jackpots on daily cash games.
Greektown Casino-Hotel runs a 24-hour poker room boasting the “best live poker” in Detroit. Tournaments run through the week, including Monday mornings. Promotions include bad beat jackpots and high hand bonuses.
Detroit also boasts a few smaller poker rooms, notably B Boomers in Allen Park, and Momo’s Poker Room in Taylor.
Other Detroit cardrooms:
Michigan boasts over 20 tribal casinos. Some offer fully operational cardrooms. Here’s a selection of tribal casinos in Michigan with live poker:
Under the new gambling legislation for online poker in Michigan, sites must have partnerships with existing land-based operators.
In June 2020, there have been two deals struck between major casinos and online poker rooms. Some European operators have also signed deals to provide online betting and casino software. However, the door is open for those operators to provide an online poker service too.
Land-based partner: MGM Grand Detroit
Partypoker parent company GVC has signed an agreement to provide online gaming in partnership with MGM. GVC has already opened a retail sportsbook in Michigan at MGM Grand Detroit, the BetMGM Sports Lounge.
An online poker partnership between the two firms is the next logical step in Michigan. partypoker runs its online poker site in New Jersey in partnership with Borgata, which is owned and operated by MGM Resorts International.
Land-based partner: Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
In early 2020, The Stars Group – home to online poker giants PokerStars - signed a gaming arrangement with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan. PokerStars launched in Michigan in late January 2021., becoming the first legal, regulated operator available in the state.
PokerStars has long been the world’s biggest online poker brand. PokerStars boasts more cash and tournament players than any other site. And during the poker boom of the 2000s, PokerStars had the largest share of US online players too.
Since US states passed their own online gaming laws, PokerStars had been eyeing a return to America. PokerStars now offers online poker in regulated US states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. PokerStars is still waiting to acquire a Nevada gaming license, however.
Under the deal with LTBB Odawa Gaming Authority, PokerStars runs its online poker site that is available to Michigan residents and visitors. The Stars Group also provides software for newly regulated online sports betting and casino platforms.
The LTBB Odawa Gaming Authority currently oversees three tribal casinos in Michigan, including Odawa Casino in Mackinaw City and Odawa Casino in Petoskey. The Petoskey casino has its own cardroom.
One or two other online gaming providers have already signed deals with land-based partners in Michigan. For now, the deals cover sports betting and online casinos, but poker might be included in future packages.
Land-based partner: Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians
GAN is a major provider of igaming platforms in the US and around the world. In early 2020, GAN penned a deal with the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians to provide online gaming in Michigan.
The Sault Tribe operates five tribal casinos in the state, and GAN will provide sports betting and online casino platforms. But online poker software hasn’t been ruled out.
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With Michigan poker now online, you can deposit cash and play Hold’em and Omaha for real money. You can even claim a welcome bonus when you open your account.
Many regulated states like New Jersey and Nevada have experienced problems with declined payments with credit cards. Some US banks still won’t process deposit requests if they are for online poker and gambling. That’s certainly a problem that could occur in Michigan, but thankfully there are other great options available as well.
So, what deposit methods can you use? Here are some of the most popular payment options for US players in regulated states.
A prepaid card like Play+ is a great option if you want to avoid using your credit card. Apply for the poker site’s branded prepaid card and load it with cash direct from your debit or credit card. Then, simply transfer the money into your poker account. Prepaid cards are quick to use and acceptance rates are very high. You can earn free cash the first time you use your prepaid card and even use the card to make ATM withdrawals.
Secure e-wallets like PayPal and Skrill are a great option if you don’t want to share your bank information with multiple online casinos or poker sites. Store cash from multiple cards or accounts in one easy wallet. Then, transfer funds to your poker account instantly. You can even make withdrawals back to your e-Wallet in an hour or two.
PayNearMe is a great cash-only payment option if you live near a 7-Eleven, CVS, or Family Dollar store. With PayNearMe, you simply pay cash in person at your nearest store.
Use your US bank debit card to transfer cash direct from your checking account. Whether it’s a Visa or MasterCard, the best MI poker sites will let you deposit instantly.
Major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard and American Express will certainly be accepted at MI poker sites, assuming your bank doesn’t block it. Look out for cash advance fees when using your card, however. In many cases, you won’t be able to use a credit card for withdrawals. This is to prevent claims of money-laundering and fraud.
Most legal gambling sites in the US allow payments via e-check. We expect Michigan poker sites online to do the same. Use a third-party processor like VIP Preferred to move cash anonymously from your bank straight to your poker account. You never have to save card details anywhere online.
A bank transfer lets you send money direct from a checking or savings account to a poker site. The transactions are quick and secure.
In regulated US states you can often visit your local brick-and-mortar casino and make an online payment in person. Simply visit the casino cage at the casino and deposit cash. The funds will appear in your online poker account in minutes.
The benefits of using a poker room or casino cage is that deposit limits are generally high. You can also make withdrawals in person. Just present your photo ID and poker account number.
At Gambling.com, we will only recommend the most trustworthy Michigan poker sites. We will never suggest offshore poker rooms that are unregulated. All of our top picks carry MGCB licenses and boast audited software every time.
Here’s what our expert team looks for when hunting out the best online poker rooms in Michigan.
Welcome bonuses & promotions: Online poker rooms in Michigan will offer new players free cash, sometimes as a no-deposit bonus, as part of a welcome bonus deal. As a regular customer you will also be able to earn rakeback on cash game and tournament fees. Be sure to read all terms and conditions to fully understand the bonus requirements.
Reliable software & security: The best poker sites will have reliable random number generators (RNGs) for a completely fair game every time. Reputable poker rooms will also carry the appropriate Michigan licenses and actively combat the use of bots.
Fast deposits & withdrawals: Fast online banking is essential if you want to enter a tournament or cash game quickly. The best MI poker sites will process deposits instantly and may also waive fees. And when it comes to cashing out profits, your withdrawals need to be processed within a day or two. The top online poker sites for Michigan players will make cashouts a breeze.
Great customer support: Got a problem? New Michigan poker websites will offer 24-hour customer support by live chat, phone or email. Having knowledgeable and friendly support staff will be essential for new MI poker sites.
Large Player Pools & Traffic: Online poker sites rely on having lots of traffic. There’s nothing worse than a cash game that has no players in it, or a Sit ‘n Go that takes hours to fill up.
Large online poker brands will be able to attract lots of players with good software and large guarantees. In time, Michigan poker sites may be able to share player pools with other legalized states in the US.
Yes. In late 2019 the Lawful Internet Gaming Act was passed in Michigan. The new law legalizes and regulates online poker and gambling in the Wolverine State. PokerStars became the first operator to launch Michigan online poker in January 2021.
Not initially. Upon the online poker launch in Michigan in January 2021, players could only compete against others based in the state. In time, Michigan may share player pools with other regulated states.
To create a poker account, you will need to create a username and password. You will also need to provide a home address, cell number and Social Security number. To verify your ID, you may have to upload a form of photo ID too.
Yes. You will need to be physically located within state lines to log in and play Michigan poker online, though you do not need to be a Michigan resident. Poker sites will use geolocation tools to verify your position.
You can play Texas Hold’em, Omaha and less popular variants like Stud and Razz. You will be able to try cash games, tournaments, satellites, and Sit ‘n Gos.
Yes. Licensed poker sites in MI will have audited random number generators to guarantee the card distribution is fair. Anti-fraud teams will also weed out cheating and the use of bots.
Michigan applies a state tax of 4.25% on gambling winnings. This is on top of federal tax you may be liable for. You will have to report your poker winnings on your tax return.
"A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the world Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade."