Can I Play Online Poker in Michigan?
Is online poker legal in Michigan? The good news for Hold’em and Omaha players in the Wolverine State is that internet poker was included in recent gaming legislation.
In late 2019, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act was passed, opening the doors for regulated sports betting, online casino games and online poker in Michigan.
In doing so, Michigan joined a list of US states with its own online gaming laws. It now belongs to an exclusive list of states that have introduced a blanket legalizing of most forms of online betting. While the Lawful Internet Gaming Act has been passed onto the books, the first online poker rooms are unlikely to be launched for a while yet.
Michigan poker online launched in January 2021 with PokerStars the first operator to be available. What can a poker player expect to find at the best legal online poker rooms? Find out in our expert guide.
When Did Online Poker Launch in Michigan?
Online Michigan poker saw its first operator launch when PokerStars went live on Jan. 29, 2021, with approval from the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB). In a July 2020 press release, the Michigan Gaming Control Board said that legalized internet gaming would launch by late 2020 or early 2021. However, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the process.
The good news for any future potential operators offering online poker in Michigan is that the legal framework is already in place. The Lawful Internet Gaming Act allows online poker operators to apply for licenses.
To play online poker in Michigan, you have to be 21 or over. You have to register for an online account at a legal, regulated poker site. You also must provide a valid home address and Social Security number to prove your age.
You do not need to be a Michigan resident to play, but you need to be inside the state. Michigan poker sites will utilize geolocation tools like GeoComply to ensure you are within MI borders when you play. While it won’t be illegal to sign up for an account outside Michigan, you will have to be physically in the state when you log on and play.
At first, you can only play poker tournaments and cash games against other players in Michigan. To improve the liquidity, however, it’s very likely that poker sites will strike interstate compacts with other legalized states so that a larger player pool can be shared.
CHECK OUT: The Top Online Casinos in Michigan
Poker and Cardrooms in Michigan
Michigan has an established live poker scene, and this scene that will form the framework for legalized online poker in the state. The state boasts commercial casinos in Detroit, as well as state-wide tribal casinos that are overseen by the National Indian Gaming Commission. Both tribal and commercial casinos in Michigan run poker rooms.
Commercial Casinos with Poker
- MGM Grand Detroit
- Greektown Casino
- MotorCity Casino
In Detroit, the three commercial casinos operate 24-hour poker rooms. MGM Grand Detroit boasts the largest cardroom in the city, offering Hold’em and Omaha tournaments and cash games.
Greektown Casino-Hotel runs tournaments all week, plus big promotions like the high-hand bonus and bad beat jackpot for cash players.
MotorCity Casino runs big tournament guarantees during the week, including a weekly $5,000 prizepool game. Bonuses are also awarded to players with the highest hand during a specified time period. MotorCity Casino players can earn benefits as part of the Club Metro loyalty program.
There are also a handful of small cardrooms in the Detroit area. Momo’s Poker Room in Taylor runs cash games and tournaments, while B Boomers and Players Golf South offer games from $1/$2 upwards.
Detroit Area Cardrooms
- B Boomers Live Action Poker Room
- Momo’s Poker Room
- Players Golf South
- Winning Hand Poker
- Malarkey’s Poker Room
- Krazy Kopz
Tribal Casinos with Poker
Not looking for a Detroit casino or poker room? Michigan boasts more than two dozen tribal casinos. These are owned and operated by recognized tribes, including the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Most casinos offer cash games and tournaments, and sportsbooks have also been introduced under the new state gaming laws.
Poker offerings are fairly simple at tribal casinos in Michigan. Cardrooms offer regular No Limit Texas Hold’em tournaments and Sit ‘n Gos, plus Hold’em and Omaha cash games.
- FireKeepers Casino, Battle Creek
- Four Winds Casino New Buffalo
- Four Winds Casino Dowagiac
- Four Winds Casino Hartford
- Four Winds Casino South Bend
- Gun Lake Casino, Wayland
- Huron Poker Room, Oscoda
- Odawa Casino, Petoskey
- Ojibwa Casino, Baraga
- Soaring Eagle Casino, Mt. Pleasant
- Bay Mills Resort & Casino, Brimley
- Island Resort & Casino, Harris
Will Michigan Have Online Poker Partnerships?
Online poker in Michigan will be offered by established gaming sites in deals with existing land-based partners -- for example, the one between PokerStars and the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.
The major Detroit casinos already have deals in place with major online gaming operators. Some of the MI tribes also have partnerships with online operators to provide software and iGaming solutions.
PokerStars/The Stars Group
Partner: Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (launched Jan. 29, 2021)
Partner: MGM Grand Detroit
Golden Nugget Online Gaming
Partner: Keweenaw Bay Indian Community/Ojibwa Casino
Partner: Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Partner: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
Funding Your Michigan Online Poker Account
Internet poker in Michigan is available for real money. But what are the best banking methods for making online casino deposits?
Most legal betting sites in Michigan accept a range of deposit options like credit cards, Play+, e-wallets such as PayPal and bank transfers. You may experience some problems with declined payments on credit cards, especially if your bank doesn’t approve gambling transactions.
Transfer Limits: $10-$25,000
Legal poker sites will accept instant deposits via your regular VISA or MasterCard debit card. Acceptance rates may be low, but you will have immediate access to your funds.
Transfer Limits: $20-$25,000
You will be able to deposit using a MasterCard or Visa credit card when Michigan poker moves online. Some sites may also accept American Express or Discover deposits.
You should be aware of cash advance fees when using a credit card. This usually adds on a 2.5-3% charge to your total deposit. And typically, Visa and MasterCard credit cards won’t be available for making withdrawals.
Transfer Limits: $10-$25,000
Prepaid cards are excellent alternatives to credit cards if you want to avoid declined payments. Michigan online poker rooms may offer their own branded prepaid card through a provider such as Play+. Simply use your Visa, Discover or MasterCard to fund your card, then transfer the cash into your poker account.
Prepaid card deposits are instant and you can even make withdrawals at a participating ATM. There are no sign-up fees, and you can earn big deposit limits as a VIP.
Transfer Limits: $20-$50,000
Many legal poker rooms in the United States accept deposits via e-Check/ACH. A trusted provider is VIP Preferred, which actions instant deposits straight from your checking account using the Automated Clearing House (ACH).
The beauty of an ACH transfer is that it’s instant and hassle-free. There are no fees, and you can enjoy member benefits.
Bank Transfer/Wire Transfer
Transfer Limits: $10-$10,000
A wire transfer lets you move funds straight from your bank account without using a card. The process can be long but you can enjoy your bank’s top security when moving funds.
Transfer Limits: $10-$1,500
e-wallets are virtual online accounts where you can store cash from multiple cards. With a single email address or PIN, you can move funds anonymously into your online poker account.
Most regulated casinos and poker sites in the US now accept leading e-wallets like PayPal and Skrill. We fully expect online Michigan poker sites to be the same.
Transfer Limits: $10-$500
PayNearMe is an instant cash payment service offered at participating 7-Eleven, Family Dollar and CVS stores.
To make a deposit, you simply visit your nearest store and pay in cash. There will be a small fee applied to any deposit you make. Funds arrive within 30 minutes and you never have to use a credit card.
Cash at Casino Cage
Transfer Limits: $10-$100,000
If you’re visiting one of Detroit’s cardrooms or a tribal casino with an online poker partner in Michigan, you may be able to deposit via the casino cage.
The service has proven popular already in legalized states like New Jersey and Delaware. Simply bring cash to the casino cage and make a deposit directly into your online poker account. You can use your funds instantly and can even make convenient withdrawals at the same cage.
Check by Mail
Transfer Limits: $300-$10,000
Some online poker sites may allow transactions via personal check. Processing times are long at around 2-3 weeks, but checks are a good option if you prefer not to use cards or internet banking.
Michigan Online Poker Bonuses & Rewards
When Michigan real money poker goes online, you’ll be able to claim a range of exciting bonuses and promotions. Offers will vary from site to site but expect to find one or more of these types of bonus.
First Deposit Bonus: A first deposit bonus is reserved for new players to a site. Make your first deposit and the poker room will match it.
Once you have made a deposit, you can earn players points in qualifying tournaments and cash games. Collect enough points before the expiration date and you can convert them into free cash.
Freerolls: A poker welcome offer may include free entry to real money tournaments. Sign up and open your account to earn freeroll tickets and exclusive buy-ins for new players.
Reload Bonus: Some US poker rooms offer regular customers the chance to earn free money too.
A reload bonus works like a first deposit match offer: make a second or third deposit and it will be matched 100% by the poker site. You will unlock the bonus funds if you play through enough cash games or tournaments.
Rakeback/Cashback: When you play online poker in Michigan, you will pay fees every time you enter a tournament or play a cash game. The “rake” is the fee retained by the online poker room.
Poker sites love to offer rakeback to their regular customers. Clear enough games and you can claim a refund of part or all of your rake.
Sit & Go Leaderboard: Leaderboards are a great way of competing against other players and earning a cash prize. To play, enter qualifying Sit & Gos and earn leaderboard points depending on your finishing place.
VIP Program: With Michigan poker online, the biggest sites will offer loyalty schemes to regular players.
With a VIP program, you earn points as you play tournaments and cash games. The more points you earn, the higher up you move through the loyalty levels. You’ll earn points for every $1 of tournament fees or cash table charges you incur.
As you earn loyalty points, you can claim certain benefits like free tournament entries, VIP invites and cashback.
How to Choose the Best Michigan Poker Site
Online poker for Michigan gamblers is now a reality. After PokerStars launched its Michigan online poker product in January 2021, MI players can enjoy fully legal cash games and tournaments on their PCs and mobile phones.
At GreatLakesStakes.com, we’re with you all the way. We’re as excited as you about the new regulated poker rooms coming to the Wolverine State.
That’s why our review team will go through an exhaustive review process when picking out the very best online poker rooms. All of your top-rated poker sites will offer great games, big bonuses and excellent customer support.
Welcome Bonuses: We will test every MI poker room to check their welcome bonuses and promotions. From freerolls and deposit matches to rakeback and guarantees, we will closely examine the site’s exciting welcome offers.
Registration & Sign-Up: How easy is it to set up a new online poker account? Our review experts will go through the registration process and check for pain points. We’ll also make sure legal MI poker rooms have the right ID verification processes in place.
Software & Security: Online poker in Michigan should be fair and secure. The poker software should have independently audited random number generators for a fair shuffle and deal every hand.
Michigan online poker should also be free of cheats. The best licensed MI poker sites will have proper compliance and check regularly for multi-accounting, bots and cheating.
Guaranteed Prizepools: Tournament guarantees are the lifeblood of good online poker sites. Big guarantees help to attract players, especially if there is an overlay. Guaranteed prizepools should be offered weekly to help drive interest in the site.
Player Pools & Traffic: The best online poker sites in Michigan should hit the ground running with lots of players. But the first MI poker rooms may be slow in gaining a large player pool. That’s why we will always regularly review new poker sites in Michigan to check regular cash game traffic and tournament numbers.
Fast & Reliable Banking: It’s essential that you get your poker funds in and out of your account quickly. That’s why we will review every MI online poker site for banking and withdrawals. Deposits should be instant and free of fees, and withdrawals should be processed swiftly and securely.
Customer Service: Online poker sites in Michigan are only as good as their customer support. So, whether you have an issue over deposits, payouts, or table abuse, the customer service team should help.
In 2021, 24-hour support through live chat, email and phone is the standard requirement. We will also put the service agents through their paces and test them on a range of queries.
Absolutely. In 2019 Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a range of gaming bills, paving the way for regulated online poker in Michigan. The first legal poker site, PokerStars, appeared in January 2021.
You should provide a username and password, plus current home address, email address and Social Security number. You will also have to provide photo ID like a passport or driver’s license.
Possibly at some point. At first, online poker in Michigan will be played among visitors and residents only. Interstate compacts will eventually allow Michigan poker rooms to share player pools with other states.
Definitely! You can enter real money Sit & Gos, tournaments, and satellites into larger events.
Yes! Online poker will be regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Testing bodies will ensure random number generators are fair and sites will work to spot cheats and bots.
Michigan poker players will have a state tax of 4.25% applied to winnings, plus the federal tax of 25%. You may be able to deduct losses from your income tax return. You can read more about gambling winnings taxes here.
Online poker in Michigan centers around Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Expect to find tournaments and cash games, plus fast-fold cash variants like Zoom Poker.
Yes, you will have to be physically located within Michigan borders to log on and play poker but you do not have to be a Michigan resident. Poker sites will use geolocation tools to pinpoint your exact whereabouts.
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.