Michigan Online Poker

Latest poker news and launch dates
michigan online poker sites

Online poker is now live in Michigan! PokerStars launched on Jan. 29, 2021, with years of work coming to fruition. BetMGM Poker followed suit on March 22. The same laws that brought in legal sports betting, online casinos and daily fantasy sports contests also included online poker.

Playing options — from online poker tournaments to spin and gos and No-Limit Hold’em — are now available online in the Great Lakes State.

Here’s what we know about online poker in Michigan.

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Latest poker updates

Last updated: July 21, 2021

It’s not just the actual playing of poker that can earn you some extra money in the new poker industry here in Michigan.

Check out David Kaye, a Lansing area resident who has turned his side gig of playing poker into a side gig of being a poker streamer and personality.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board released the June internet gaming revenue numbers and BetMGM, in part on the strength of BetMGM Poker, is once again the market leader.

The six-month anniversary of the launch of online casinos is this week, and PlayMichigan answered 10 questions about the first six months and the next six months. Next week will be the six-month anniversary for online poker, which launched on Jan. 29.

Michigan Online Poker Sites

BrandPartnerLaunch Date
BetMGM PokerMGM Grand DetroitMarch 22, 2021
PokerStars MichiganLittle Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa IndiansJan. 29, 2021

How Michigan online poker works

Online poker is live, and you can play for real money legally within the state. But it’s important to understand how things work. If you’ve never dealt with online poker before, you could understandably be brimming with questions about rules and procedures to follow.

Who can play?

First, Michigan requires anyone who plays online poker in the state to be 21 or older. This requirement should come as no surprise.

When you play online poker in the Great Lakes State, however, you will not be able to play with anyone who is not physically inside state lines. As is the case with most other states, the Michigan online poker scene is confined to Michigan.

The good news is that it is not necessary to be a resident of Michigan to play. If you are a visitor, you have the same opportunity to experience online poker, as long as you are of legal age.

Some states do have interstate poker options. New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware are all signatories of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, or MSIGA, which allows sites to combine player pools across state lines. In practice, however, the only beneficiary of the agreement has been WSOP.com, which offers play in both New Jersey and Nevada.

For the time being, Michigan is not a part of the MSIGA. In other words, you will have to be inside Michigan to play, and you will only be playing other Michiganders (or visitors to the state).

How does an online poker site know I’m in Michigan?

All Michigan online poker sites, casinos and sportsbooks must verify the physical location of their players at all times. They accomplish this by using geolocation software.

This software uses your mobile device’s onboard GPS to pinpoint your location before you are allowed on the site. If you use a laptop or desktop computer, you will have to verify your location by downloading this software separately, or at the behest of the site.

The sites are not inclined to waver on this requirement, either. They face heavy fines and sanctions, including the loss of their operating licenses, if they are not vigilant about enforcing the in-state requirement.

The bottom line: You will have to verify your location within Michigan before you’ll be able to make your first bet, raise, call or fold.

How to download the app or poker client

The first thing to do is to use one of the links above to access the site of your choice. You will need to download the app to your mobile device or the poker client to your desktop computer.

Using our links will often put you in line for welcome bonuses. However, make sure that you note any poker bonus codes we have listed, as they can be worth extra cash and benefits in your account.

Apple device users should have no difficulty downloading and installing the app. However, Android users will need to instruct their devices to accept downloads from unknown sources in the device’s security settings. Then, the link should take you to a page with a prompt for the site’s .apk file.

Once you’ve installed the app or client, look for a sign-up button at the top of the screen. It’s usually in the right corner with a label such as “sign up” or “join now.” Pressing the button will take you to the site’s form for new accounts.

As with online casinos in Michigan, be ready to fill out your personal information in order to create your account. You will need the following:

  • Your name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number

These are all common requirements at online gambling sites in Michigan. You will also need to choose an appropriate screen name, password and (potentially) security challenge questions.

If you happened to copy down a bonus code, look for the box to enter it on this screen, too. It is usually the only optional box on the page. Make sure that you enter the code exactly as it appears — with any capital letters and without any typos.

After that, hit the button at the bottom to submit, and you should be ready to go.

Michigan poker sites and partnerships

PokerStars + Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

Global online poker giant The Stars Group secured a partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority in early January 2020.

The deal gives The Stars Group first-skin market access for all gambling verticals in Michigan, including poker.

The Stars Group owns and operates PokerStars MI, which operates in NJ and PA. The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians operates three Michigan tribal casinos, with the largest being the Odawa Casino, near Petoskey.

BetMGM Poker + MGM Grand Detroit

For a long time, it was understood that MGM Resorts International and partypoker’s parent company, GVC Holdings, would join the online poker Michigan market. The two companies established a 50/50 joint venture sports betting and online gaming platform for the US in July 2018.

However, BetMGM Poker is the brand available in Michigan in 2021, with the company launching operations in late March.

The launch of partypoker Michigan through MGM Grand is no longer a go, but there are other ways for partypoker to enter the Michigan online gambling market.

Will I be able to play online poker with players in NJ and PA?

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed the interstate online poker bill into law, but the law doesn’t automatically set up a pact between other states. That action is now up to the MGCB. It is unclear whether such a deal will be made in 2021.

One option is for Michigan to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association. The MSIGA allows New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware to share player pools.

Still, multi-state poker could be on its way to Michigan. It’s likely a must-have for the online poker market in the Great Lakes State to survive long-term. Michigan is a slightly larger market than New Jersey, where online poker is barely surviving, despite pooling players with Nevada and Delaware.

Adding states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan, to the MSIGA in the coming years would certainly be a boost to the US market.

Are Michigan online poker sites safe?

Michigan Gaming Control BoardYes. It is safe and legal to play on Michigan’s online poker sites. Any of the sites that you see mentioned above are fully licensed and regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Rest assured that this page will never advertise poker sites that are anything less than legal.

If you are ever unsure about whether you’re playing on a registered site, you can always scroll down to the bottom of the site’s homepage. There will always be information stating that it is a regulated site by the MGCB. In some cases, the site will publish its license number.

You can also verify that an online poker site is legal in Michigan by going to the MGCB site itself. You can either find mention of the site in question or contact one of the board’s offices.

If you come across a site that we don’t mention, it is most likely an offshore poker site. These sites are not under the regulations and laws of the state of Michigan or the United States. Invariably, these sites do not work with the MGCB, nor do they operate with a Michigan land-based partner or have offices in the US.

Playing on one of these sites puts you and your financial security at a much higher risk. International sites often exist in the gray areas of the law and in countries with far less stringent standards for business.

You also cannot count on these sites to report to a regulatory body that is effective. In many cases, the regulator has no authority to take action on the site if there’s an issue, including with payouts. Worse, it’s even possible that it is part of the same organization.

The bottom line is that there’s no reason to take any kind of chances, now that legal online poker is legitimately underway in Michigan. Stick to the legal — and safe — Michigan sites.

How to move money on and off legal poker sites

In order to play for real money on a Michigan site, you’re going to have to invest your own money. Even more obviously, you’re going to want to be able to withdraw any winnings if your big moment arrives. Thankfully, every Michigan poker site comes with multiple ways to deposit and cash out quickly.

Since online poker is in the early stages in Michigan, we only have confirmations about a few types of transactions you can make. If you want to make a deposit at a Michigan poker site, these options are available:

  • Credit or debit cardVisa and Mastercard are acceptable options. However, make sure to check with your issuing bank before you make this type of request. Some of them do not allow deposits to online poker sites, and even if they do, they may charge hefty cash advance fees.
  • Electronic checksVIP Preferred is the option, although ACH is likely to come soon. These function exactly like paper checks, except in an electronic format. Most Michigan poker sites will accept echecks.
  • Electronic walletsSkrill and PayPal are accepted by Michigan online poker rooms.
  • Online banking — If you use online bill pay for other transactions, you may be able to use it to send money directly from your bank account to the poker site, too.
  • Prepaid cardsPlay+ and Paysafecard are the most common options for a prepaid card, which is essentially a gift card that you give yourself.

Other methods that we expect to be available soon include wire transfers from your bank and cash options such as PayNearMe. Finally, the land-based partner for the poker site is likely to begin accepting deposits in person at its cage in the future.

Online poker bonuses and rewards

Like most MI online gambling outlets, the best poker sites have to keep their customers happy. So every poker brand will have bonuses and rewards that you can use to pad your account balance.

Most online poker site bonuses come in two formats — playing money and tournament tickets. Although there are numerous ins and outs to the different types of bonuses you’ll find, the end result of each will usually be one or both of those types of rewards.

For the most part, here are the types of bonuses you will encounter:

  1. No-deposit bonus: These bonuses are essentially free money that shows up in your account. You will most often see no-deposit poker bonuses when you sign up for an account — they are otherwise rare. Although they may be withdrawable as cash, no-deposit bonuses often come in the form of site credits and will require you to play through the bonus a certain number of times.
  2. Deposit bonus: With this type of bonus, the poker site will match a portion of your deposit and contribute additional funds to your account on top of the deposit amount. The percentage of the match can be any amount, even 100%. However, there will also be a limit to the maximum amount you can have matched from the bonus. In many cases, the site will withhold the full amount of the bonus and drip it to you as you play. Be aware, then, that you may not see an immediate benefit.
  3. Loyalty or rewards programs: In many cases, you are entered as a member in the program automatically from the moment that you register. If you never pay it any mind, that’s all right. However, these programs will both classify you and reward you based upon how much you wager and how often you play. As you hit the tables, you will earn points that you can redeem for cash or prizes. The exact amounts of cash or prizes vary, but common options include free-money bonuses, tournament tickets and branded merchandise from the site’s store.

The rarest reward you can receive is unrestricted cash. It is unusual, however, for sites to hand out withdrawable funds for a bonus.

In most cases, you will either receive site credits or tournament tickets. Site credits function like cash, but you cannot withdraw them until you’ve “washed” them through the system. Tournament tickets, meanwhile, require you to use them for tournament buy-ins. They are not transferable or convertible into cash.

Tournaments and cash games at real-money poker sites

You have several types of online games to check out. Some of these are present in every poker room. Others are exclusive to certain online poker sites.

  • Cash games: Anyone can join or leave at any time, and play is continuous. Blind levels do not change, and buy-ins to the game have a minimum amount and (usually) a maximum amount.
  • Tournaments: Each player buys in for the same amount and receives an identical amount of tournament chips to play. Play begins at a designated time and proceeds until one player has all the chips. Blind levels increase at regular intervals, and roughly 10% of the field receives some sort of payout from the prize pool.
  • Sit and go tournaments (SNGs): A limited tournament where the event begins when a designated number of players buy into the pool. Play proceeds like a standard tournament, but the field is limited to the number of players present at its onset.
  • Spin and go/jackpot SNGs: An extremely limited type of sit and go, with only three players. Blind levels are set at hyper-turbo levels, meaning that they escalate quite quickly and force frequent all-ins from players. Players compete for a randomly selected prize pool that can be anywhere from 2x the buy-in amount to 1,000x the buy-in. Each tournament is winner-take-all.

In terms of the buy-in amounts that you’ll need for these tournaments, there is no one answer. Poker sites in Michigan usually have a range of stakes available. You can play for as little as $1 or for many thousands. Most tournament options will top out at $500 to play, but some special events can have much higher price tags.

Types of poker games in Michigan

Along with all the formats of poker available in Michigan, you also have several games from which to choose. Some of them are widely known, but others are more esoteric. The most prevalent game is No-Limit Texas Hold’em. This game became the dominant form of poker about two decades ago and shows no sign of decline.

You can also play the limit version of hold’em, if you like. Although this format is not as popular as it used to be, there will still be options if you don’t want to deal with bet-sizing.

Other games that you might find on Michigan online poker sites are listed below. Most of these games are available in no-limit, pot-limit or limit structures.

  1. Omaha* A four-card community card game that features bigger pots and more volatility than hold’em. Players must use exactly two cards from their hands and three from the board, but exactly which two they use can change from street to street.
  2. Five-card Omaha* This game is identical to typical Omaha, but with five cards dealt to each player. Thus, the potential for big hands, big swings and big pots is even higher. It is sometimes called “Big Mitt.”
  3. Courchevel Poker* Courchevel is identical to five-card Omaha, except the first card of the community board is dealt face-up prior to the pre-flop betting round. In other words, you get a sneak peek at the board, along with your five cards.
  4. Seven-card stud* — A venerable poker game that used to be the dominant form, this game has all players receiving up to seven cards of their own and making the best five-card hand that they can. The first round of dealing puts two cards face-down and one up. The next three cards are also dealt face-up, available for anyone to see, and a round of betting occurs with each card dealt. The final card is then dealt face-down, and a last betting round takes the hand into showdown.
  5. Razz — A stud game in which players attempt to make the lowest hand they can. A hand with ace through five is the best possible hand (the “wheel”), and flushes and straights are irrelevant for hand rankings. However, pairs and three of a kind are counted negatively against the player. This game is also known as California Lowball and may sometimes be referred to as simply “lowball.”
  6. Five-card draw — This is likely the most familiar poker game to casual players. All players receive five cards and make the best hand that they can. There are two rounds of betting, and, between rounds, players can discard as many of their original cards as they like and draw new ones. This game is most often encountered in video poker now, but is still available in limited selections through Michigan online poker rooms.
  7. Badugi — Badugi is an Asian poker variant that combines elements of Razz and five-card draw, but also has its own unique spin. Each player receives four cards and is attempting to make the lowest possible hand. However, unlike Razz, cards of the same suit count against the player, so the object is to make the lowest hand and have four cards of different suits. A qualifying four-card hand is called a Badugi. Any hands with suited cards ignore all but the lowest card of the suit but also are of lower ranking than Badugis. So, the winner of each game is first determined by how many of a player’s cards play, then by the rank of the highest-tiered hands.
  8. HORSE — A rotation game in which the game changes every time the button goes around the table once. The name of the game is an acronym for the games that are played — Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, Stud and Eight-or-Better (seven card stud hi-lo).
  9. 8-Game Mix — This game is identical in structure to HORSE, but with eight games. The eight games are usually limit 2-7 triple draw, limit hold’em, limit Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, limit seven-card stud, Limit seven-card stud hi-lo (Eight-or-Better), No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha.

*Available in both high only and hi-lo variants. Low hands must have no cards above eight to qualify — thus, these variants may also be known as Eight-or-Better. Obviously, some of these games are off the beaten path. However, they can be a fun way to cleanse one’s palate, especially if you’ve been on a hold’em-only diet. So, if you’re feeling frisky, give one of these variants a try.

Poker and card rooms in Michigan

Michiganders are not suffering from a shortage of live poker options. Many of the state’s casinos offer their own poker rooms. In addition, Michigan also allows charitable organizations to offer poker games at standalone facilities. Here are all of the opportunities you have to play poker in Michigan in live settings.

Bay Mills Resort & Casino

Bay Mills Resort & Casino, in Brimley, features a four-table poker room that is open 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

There are regular cash games and low-buy-in tournaments. Players must be at least 18 years or older.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel

The newly renovated 26-table poker room at FireKeepers Casino Hotel, in Battle Creek, is the premier poker room in the state.

The room spreads Texas Hold’em, Omaha and stud cash games at a variety of low to mid-stakes. Plus, there are low to mid-stakes buy-in tournaments every day, including a regular stop on the popular Mid-States Poker Tour.

Promotions include a progressive bad-beat jackpot.

Greektown Casino Hotel

Greektown Casino Hotel in Detroit features a 12-table poker room offering Texas Hold ’em and Omaha games. There are regular tournaments and high-hands promotions.

Gun Lake Casino

Gun Lake Casino in Wayland features a 14-table poker room that includes Texas Hold’em and Omaha games.

There are low-stakes tournaments occurring five days a week, and promotions include a bad-beat jackpot.

Kewadin Casino

Kewadin Casino, Hotel and Convention Center in Sault Ste. Marie features a four-table poker room open Wednesdays through Sundays.

There are low-stakes tournaments on Wednesdays and cash games every day.

MGM Grand Detroit

The poker room at MGM Grand Detroit features 17 tables with Texas Hold’em and Omaha action.

There are bounty tournaments three days a week, and promotions include splash pots, bad-beat jackpots and hot-seat drawings.

MotorCity Casino Hotel

The MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit features a 17-table poker club spreading Texas Hold’em and Omaha games.

There’s a regular tournament calendar, and promotions include a bad-beat jackpot, high-hands and a gas card giveaway.

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mount Pleasant features a 14-table poker room open 24/7.

There’s a six-day-per-week tournament schedule, and promotions include a bad-beat jackpot, early bird rake, lucky ticket draws and high-hands.

The room spreads Texas Hold’em, Pineapple, Crazy Pineapple, Omaha, seven-card stud and Razz. Multi-game formats include round-by-rounds, dealer’s choice, HORSE, SHOE and HOP. Players may request any game type with any limit.

Michigan online poker FAQ

Can I play online poker in Michigan?

Yes. Online poker is legal in Michigan. A bill legalizing online poker was passed by the Michigan House and Senate and signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in December 2019. The first site launched in January 2021, and a second followed in March.

What poker sites are in Michigan right now?

PokerStars was the first legal online poker site available in Michigan. It launched on Jan. 29, 2021.

BetMGM Poker was anticipated to follow, and did so on March 22.

Can I play against players from other states or countries?

No. Michigan’s online poker is a fenced-in market for now, which means only players inside state lines can participate.

A new law signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the end of 2020 gives the Michigan Gaming Control Board the option to enter into a multi-state compact. The pact would allow operators to share player pools with other sites in other states.

The Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement includes New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada — all of which have legal online poker. Pennsylvania also has real-money poker.

That law means multi-state poker and the ability to play against players in other states is still a possibility down the road.

Can I play from outside state lines?

No. Only players inside Michigan’s state lines are eligible to play in online poker cash games and tournaments.

Michigan online poker operators will use geolocation technology to ensure online poker players are in the state. No VPN setup can get around this tech.

Players need to sign up for an account with an operator of their choice and go through identity and age verification before playing.

Do I have to live in the state to play Michigan online poker?

No, but you do have to be in Michigan at the time you want to play. Resident or not, you can sign up for an online poker account and play, as long as you’re inside state lines at the time.

What poker variations are there?

You will see Texas Hold’em and Omaha at online poker rooms in Michigan.

There will be several tournaments, including bounty tournaments and turbos. You might even find fast-fold cash games and lottery-style Sit-and-Go tournaments.

What you aren’t likely to find is much action in poker variants other than hold’em and Omaha. Michigan online poker rooms may promise to spread the games, but with few players playing, they won’t run often — if at all.

Are Michigan poker games fair?

Yes. Michigan online poker games are as fair as they come. Online poker operators use random number generators to deal the cards. The Michigan Gaming Control Board tests this technology.

The sites don’t have an interest in one player winning over another. They have strict security in place to police collusion, bot play and anything else untoward.

How is online poker taxed in Michigan?

Michigan online poker operators are subject to a tiered tax structure.

It starts at 20% for adjusted gross receipts of less than $4 million and peaks at 28% for more than $12 million. Detroit commercial casinos also pay an additional 1.25% city tax.

Poker winnings are considered taxable income by the IRS; however, it’s a flat 25% tax.

All gambling winnings are subject to Michigan’s individual income tax. You should include it in your adjusted gross income.

The Michigan Income Tax Act doesn’t have provisions that allow players to deduct poker losses on their state income tax return.

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