You’ve heard about it for months. You’ve been impatiently waiting, and it is finally here. PokerStars is live in Michigan. But now that you can play online poker in Michigan, you might have an important question. Namely, “How exactly do I do that?”
Let’s walk through the process of getting started playing online and joining an online poker room, so you know what your options are and how to access them.
Having trouble getting started?
No launch is without a couple of hiccups and the issue seeming to give Michigan players trouble is getting their accounts funded. PokerStars offers the following deposit options in Michigan:
- ACH bank deposit
Users are reporting that verifying their identity during the deposit process is not working quickly or, in some cases, at all.
Online Poker Report notes that credit cards and PayPal seem to be the methods with the lowest success rates.
What’s a poker client and why do I need it?
If you’ve sports bet or played online casino games in the week since launch, you probably know there are a couple of different ways to do so. You can play on your computer browser or you can download a mobile betting app on your phone.
For online poker, there is no browser play.
You either need to use an app on your phone or download what is called the “poker client” from the PokerStars Michigan website. A poker client is essentially a platform that allows one computer to communicate with the computers of other players at the table. Think of it as a server.
To be clear, if you have PokerStars.net or the New Jersey or Pennsylvania version of the client, you will need to download the Michigan version in order to play in Michigan. The download comes with built-in geolocation software so it can verify you are within the state.
If you are having trouble getting the right version of PokerStars to download, try downloading from an incognito browser window or clearing your cache.
Can I play PokerStars on the go?
If you’re on the go and want to just play on your phone, be advised that comes with some restrictions you won’t encounter on the desktop version of PokerStars.
The most notable is that you are limited on how much you can multi-table (play in more than one tournament or cash game at once). The limits on the PokerStars app are up to five tables, but only four of those can be cash games. On the desktop poker client, you can participate in more games and you can tile your tables to see multiple tables at once.
The app has an auto-switch feature that will bring up tables when the action is on you, but it is a little more difficult to keep tabs on everything. Additionally, remember that cellphone service can be spotty, as can public Wi-Fi, so think about how comfortable you are playing certain tournaments on your phone versus your computer.
Types of poker games available at PokerStars MI
There are, literally, dozens and dozens of options for poker players at PokerStars Michigan. First, let’s look at the four categories of game types available for players:
These games are just like they sound. You sit down and buy-in for a given amount and play at certain stakes.
If you want to play No-Limit Hold’em, the stakes in Michigan range from $.01/$.02 all the way up to $25/$50. There are around 30 different game types to choose from, ranging from popular variants like Hold’em and Omaha to the more obscure games like Badugi and Triple Draw.
Sit and Gos
If you want to play in a tournament, but don’t have hours to play through a big field, Sit and Gos are the game for you.
Essentially, you play against one table of people and that is it. There are heads-up Sit and Gos where you play against one opponent. There are also six-handed Sit and Go options. PokerStars MI has both Pot-Limit Omaha and No-Limit Hold’em Sit and Gos with buy-ins ranging from $1 to $500.
Spin and Gos
Unlike PokerStars PA, which does not offer the variant, PokerStars MI players can play Spin and Gos. These are a riff on Sit and Gos, but the difference is the amount of money in the prize pool will vary. The buy-ins range from $1 to $5, with the following potential prizes for each level:
- $1: Win up to $1,000
- $5: Win up to $5,000
- $10: Win up to $10,000
- $25: Win up to $25,000
Now, as nice as a $1,000 return on a dollar may seem, more often than not you will end up just doubling your money if you win. These tournaments are hyper-turbos, which means the blinds rapidly escalate and players are quick to go all-in. Oftentimes these games are over in a matter of minutes.
When you hear about the big paydays on online poker sites, those almost always come from the big multi-table tournaments (MTTs) the site runs. PokerStars MI has yet to release its full tournament schedule, but it did have a few events at launch. The biggest prize pool so far is The Big $10 event, which has a $500 guaranteed prize pool. The buy-in is $10.
A guarantee is a promise by the poker site that the prize pool will be a certain size no matter what. If 50 people buy-in to the $10 event, that would generate a $500 prize pool. If fewer than 50 people play, PokerStars will go out of pocket to cover the difference. And the good news is if more than 50 people play, the prize pool will be even bigger than the $500 promised.
Looking at PokerStars PA, the biggest guarantees come in at $200,000 for the Winter Series Main Event, which is a $300 buy-in tournament. Those numbers are not ones to expect weekly at any US PokerStars site though. These events are usually a quarterly affair, and the weekly tournaments feature guarantees more along the lines of $35,000.
Keep room on your schedule for Sundays
If you played online poker before Black Friday shut the industry down in the US, you know that Sunday was always the big day to play. That hasn’t changed.
While PokerStars has yet to run a Sunday Million tournament with a seven-figure guarantee in the US, Sunday remains the best day for MTTs.
PokerStars NJ and PA each feature a slate of marquee tournaments that run every Sunday. As mentioned, PokerStars Michigan hasn’t released a full MTT schedule yet, but don’t expect them to break the mold.
How big a Sunday in Michigan will be remains to be seen. After all, you are only playing against other players in Michigan. But if the mitten is anything like Pennsylvania, it has the potential to be a big market with some of the biggest prizes available to US players. Get in early and check it out.