PokerStars Goes Live As Michigan’s First Online Poker Room

Posted By Matt Schoch on January 29, 2021 - Last Updated on March 4, 2021

After years of waiting, legal online poker is live in Michigan. PokerStars was approved and launched on Friday as Michigan became the fifth state to allow real money poker games.

The site was undergoing testing after the announcement and players weren’t immediately able to play. By Friday afternoon, online poker games at PokerStars were live in Michigan.

The Michigan market is fenced-in for now, meaning players can only play against in-state foes. Interstate play should come later this year, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Online sports betting and online casinos launched on Jan. 22 with 10 sports betting operators and eight casinos.

Along with Friday’s launch of PokerStars, the MGCB also approved Fox Bet for online sports betting and PokerStars Casino. The MGCB also cleared Barstool, which launched sports betting last week, for an 11 a.m. Monday online casino launch.

PokerStars Michigan is finally here, but who’s next?

Michigan is the third US state with PokerStars available for real money games. While users may have had download issues earlier, Online Poker Report reports that those issues can be resolved by clearing your browser cache.

With launch, Michigan players get access to cash games, daily tournaments and the Championship of Online Poker Series.

BetMGM Poker is expected to be the second Michigan operator to launch online poker. PlayMichigan has reached out to BetMGM, which launched last week, about a timeline for poker launch.

Other sites such as WSOP and 888 Poker have not yet forged partnerships in Michigan. Those two sites already have shared player pools with Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey.

Interstate online poker should come later this year

Speaking of shared player pools, for now, Michigan players can only play with others inside the state.

However, Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. worked last year to move legislation allowing the MGCB to enter into compacts for interstate play. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the law at the end of 2020.

The MGCB still has to enter those compacts, such as the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association, which already includes New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.

The MGCB said such a deal won’t happen until later this year.

“We welcome the addition of Odawa Casino, Poker Stars, Fox Bet, and Barstool Casino to Michigan’s growing online gaming and sports wagering market,” said Richard Kalm, MGCB executive director, in a statement. “Their participation will generate revenue to support education, tribal communities and the city of Detroit.”

Fox Bet gets launched before Super Bowl week

We asked the question on Thursday if Fox Bet would launch before Super Bowl LV and the answer was “with time to spare.”

The sports betting brand is looking to capitalize on its strong name-brand here in Michigan and will look to build on its Fox Bet Super 6 contest registrants it has compiled here. Michigan is the fourth state for Fox Bet, adding to Colorado, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The company detailed Friday that, since the return of sports at the end of July 2020, Super 6 boasts the most downloads in the free-to-play category of sports prediction apps (includes fantasy).

Fox Bet will leverage the strong FOX name, as the network carries most Detroit Lions games and several Michigan and Michigan State football games. The company announced there will be Michigan-centric editions of Fox Bet Live on FOX2 in DetroitFOX 17 in Grand Rapids and FOX 66 in Flint.

“The key differentiators for us have always been our valued partnership with the FOX Corporation and the strength of our industry leading FOX Bet Super 6 product combined with the PokerStars business and we plan to lean into these unique assets as we launch in Michigan,” said Kip Levin, Fox Bet CEO, in a statement. “Behind Fox Bet Sportsbook, PokerStars and Stars Casino, customers create one account for all three apps, unlocking a wide variety of exciting and entertaining options to supercharge the experience for our Michigan audience.”

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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