Online poker went live in Michigan on January 29, 2021. The launch came a little over a year after Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a massive gambling expansion package in 2019 that included not only poker, but also sports betting and casino games. Michigan is the fifth state to legalize and regulate online poker within its borders, with PokerStars dealing the first legal hands.
Top Michigan Online Poker Sites
The state of MI online poker
Shortly after MI online casinos and sports betting went live, PokerStars wasted no time getting cards in the virtual air for poker. While Michigan currently only has one option for online poker, several big names are on the way.
Currently, online poker in Michigan is running on an intrastate “ring fenced” format. This means that poker players in the state of Michigan can only compete against other Michiganders. There are hopes that sooner than later Michigan will join the interstate compact between New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, to increase player pools. Larger player pools would mean more cash games running, bigger prizepools in tournaments, and sit n go’s firing off at a faster clip.
With nearly 10 million residents in Michigan, this would almost double the population of the current interstate poker pool. Getting in on the compact would not only benefit the MI poker scene, but that in existing states as well. Plus, the possibility remains that Pennsylvania may also join in, further boosting player numbers.
Where to play online poker in MI
While there is only a single option at the moment. Deals have already been made to expand that number soon, and other partnerships are being formed to give Michigan poker players options in the future. Heres a quick look at what to expect in the long term:
|Poker Site||Retail Partner||Launch Date|
|PokerStars||Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians - Odawa Casinos||January 29, 2021|
|BetMGM||MGM Grand Detroit||March 22, 2021|
Live MI online poker sites
PokerStars is usually the first site that comes to mind for any poker player throughout the world, so it is only fitting that they were the first to go live in Michigan. PokerStars launched on January 29, 2021 through a partnership arrangement with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. PokerStars will greatly benefit from being the only game in town by building a solid customer base and see higher than normal traffic as MI poker players don’t have any alternatives for legal online poker.
Even when others enter the market, PokerStars will still likely reign supreme with their top notch software, incredible tournament selection, cash games for any bankroll, and a wide variety of sit and go options. In addition to the poker options, PokerStars also shares a wallet with FOX Bet online sportsbook and PokerStars online casino. There are plenty of banking options to effectively move money on and off the site, and tons of promotions across all three verticals.
What kind of bonuses do MI online poker sites offer?
When you sign up for an online poker account, it usually comes with some perks. These perks can be in the form of free bonus money, free entries to tournaments, or deposit matches. These bonuses are a form of advertising and marketing, and are a great way to get a bankroll boost right from the start. Let’s take a look at the most common online poker bonuses.
No deposit bonuses
No deposit bonuses are just what they sound like, free perks just for signing up. No deposit bonuses do not require any other action aside from just registering a new account. You can use this money to try out the site, or add it on to other offers.
When it comes to online poker no deposit bonuses, the most common are bonus cash and free tournament tickets. Bonus cash typically comes with wagering requirements attached, meaning that the bonus money has to be put in play a certain amount before it can be withdrawn. Online poker sites typically use rake paid in cash games or tournament fees paid as their measure of how much action a player has accrued, and will use this to measure the wagering requirements.
Free tournament tickets can either be for a specific tournament or a specified amount. For example, when you sign up, there may be a tournament ticket for a first depositor freeroll, or you may receive a ticket for any $10 tournament on the site. Be sure to check the terms and conditions on the site for how you can use your tickets and be mindful of when they expire.
First deposit bonuses
While no deposit bonuses are essentially free money, deposit bonuses are where the fun really begins. Where a no deposit bonus typically ranges from $10 to $30, deposit bonuses tend to be much higher, ranging from a few hundred bucks all the way up to $1500+. As the name suggests, you will need to make a deposit in order to activate this type of offer and be sure to read the terms carefully as they are not always 100% match.
For example, an online poker room could offer a 100% deposit match of up to $1000. To get the full $1000 in bonus money, you would need to deposit $1000. If a Michigan online poker room were to offer a 20% up to $1000 bonus, you would then need to deposit $5000 in order to trigger the full amount – so keep an eye on the percentage!
Wagering requirements are typically tied to rake paid in cash games or tournament fees. Be sure to check the terms at each poker room as they will differ from site to site. It’s also important to note that poker bonuses will usually be released in slabs as you satisfy the requirements. This means that instead of being released all at once, as you meet a percentage of the requirements, smaller amounts will be released. For example, if you have a $1000 bonus, and you meet 10% of the wagering, they may release $100 to your account.
Reload bonuses are just deposit bonuses that are offered from time to time and follow the same rules as a first deposit bonus, but they aren’t tied to a first deposit. Reload bonuses are open to existing customers, including those that may have already claimed a welcome offer. As always, be sure to check the T&C and familiarize yourself with the terms. Be on the lookout for reload bonuses around major holidays or in the build up to a big tournament series.
With loyalty programs, the more you play, the more you earn. Each site will do things a bit differently, but the premise is the same. As you play, you earn points, and these points will move you up the status tiers. The higher your tier, the more perks you get. These can include free tournament entries, free bonus money to play with, stays at affiliated casinos, and more.
How to sign up for a MI online poker account
Most online poker rooms will require you to download a software client on to a computer, or a mobile app to play on your favorite portable device. Playing in your favorite browser is usually not an option. These poker clients can be downloaded directly from the online poker room’s website. The poker client will usually be home to the online poker room and any other gambling verticals the site may house such as online casinos and online sportsbooks.
Once you have the online poker client on your computer or have installed the mobile app on your phone/tablet, simply click “Join” to start the registration process. You will need to enter your personal information such as name, address, phone number, and the last four of your social security number. This is for identification purposes only and will be run through a safe and secure program to do so.
During the process, you will also be prompted to choose a screen name. This screenname is to identify you while you are sitting at a virtual table. Be sure to choose carefully, you may not be able to change it in the future.
Who is eligible to play online poker in Michigan?
- You must be at least 21 years of age
- You do not need to be a Michigan resident, and can sign up from anywhere. You must be located within the MI state borders in order to participate in any real money poker play.
- You must provide a valid SSN and have a U.S. mailing address.
- You must not be on any exclusion lists. These include self exclusion or casino mandated exclusions. So if you have been barred from playing at a retail casino, you will likely not be able to participate online either.
What banking options are available at MI online poker sites?
When it comes to getting money on and off the site there are options. It’s important to note that all banking methods have been put through rigorous testing by the Michigan Gaming Control Board to verify their legitimacy. Available choices will vary by online poker room:
- Instant eChecks/ACH: Simply provide your banks routing and checking number and the money will be transferred to your account through a third-party processor.
- PayPal: Use the PayPal eWallet to instantly and securely load money onto the site of your choice.
- Play+ Card: Sign up for each sites Play+ card and you can link your bank account or credit/debit card. Once you sign up, a physical prepaid debit card will arrive in the mail in 10-14 business days.
- Online Banking: Use your banks online bill pay feature for deposits and withdrawals.
- Visa/MasterCard: Use your credit or debit card to load money into your account.
- Cash at the Casino Cage: Bring cash and a photo ID to the affiliated casino cage for easy deposits.
- Instant eChecks/ACH: Once you make your first deposit using this method, you will be all set up to make withdrawals as well.
- PayPal: PayPal can be a convenient option for withdrawals, too. You must make a deposit using PayPal in order to withdraw to PayPal.
- Play+Cards: When you withdraw to your Play+ card, you have several options to get the cash in your hand. You can transfer money back to your checking account, withdraw cash at any ATM, or use the card anywhere Discover is accepted.
- Cash at the Casino Cage: If you find yourself at the retail casino affiliated with the online poker site, simply request a withdrawal to the cage and be sure to bring your photo ID.
What formats of poker are available at MI online poker sites?
- Cash Games: Cash games are available at every online poker site. Games run as low as $0.01/$0.02 blinds and the sky is the limit on the top end. Cash games are as simple as it gets as the blinds will never change. You buy-in with cash and play as much or as little as you want and can cash out any money you have left on the table at any time.
- Multi-Table Tournaments (MTTs): Online poker rooms will run tournaments throughout the day with buy-ins as low as $0.50 (or even free, on occasion!) and usually top out around $500-$1000 on the top end. MTTs are a very popular form of poker where everyone starts with the same amount of chips and the blinds go up at specified times, usually every 7 to 12 minutes depending on the structure of the tournament. Once you run out of chips, your tournament is done, but the tournament keeps going until one person has all the chips. Payouts are often structured to reward somewhere between 10-20% of the field on a sliding scale depending on your finishing position. The closer you are to the top, the more you win.
- Sit & Go: Sit & Go tournaments follow the same structure as an MTT, but are not on a set schedule and usually have far less participants. The Sit & Go will start when a specified amount of players sign up. For example, if it is a 9 person Sit & Go, once the 9th person registers, the tournament will begin.
What poker games are available in Michigan?
- Texas Hold’em (No limit, pot limit and limit)
- Pot Limit Omaha (No limit, pot limit and limit)
- 5 Card Omaha
- Omaha Hi/Lo
- 7 Card Stud
- 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo
- 5 Card Draw
- 2 – 7 Triple Draw
- 2 – 7 Single Draw
- 8-Game Mix
What is next for online poker in MI?
With online poker still in its infancy in Michigan, there is still a lot to look forward to. Look for more online poker sites to come online in the near future, giving players more options to get in on the action. Once they do, be sure to check back for all the top new player bonus offers.
For now, Michigan online poker players can only compete against other players located in Michigan. Eventually, Michigan may join Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada in the interstate compact that allows players in these states to compete against each other. More players means more cash games, bigger tournament payouts, and sit & gos starting more frequently. As time goes on, more and more states will eventually move online and contribute to the growth of online poker throughout the country.