Pennsylvania is now a card-carrying member of the online poker states.
Make no mistake, though, things are just getting started for PA online poker. Other sites are expected to join PokerStars in Pennsylvania soon.
The good news is that you have found the premier guide to all things online poker in Pennsylvania. Read on for the latest on PA poker sites, no deposit bonus offers for new players and how to download poker sites on your laptop or phone.
Yes, online poker is completely legal in the state of Pennsylvania. Though it only launched in November 2019, online poker, as a practice, has been legal in PA for more than two years.
The authorization from the state government came as a result of the vast effect of H 271. The law created a host of new opportunities for gambling in the state alongside online poker, including online casinos, sports betting, daily fantasy sports (DFS) and the creation of up to 10 smaller retail casinos in underserved areas.
For the moment, poker players in Pennsylvania must only compete with other players in-state. However, there are high hopes that the Keystone State could share liquidity with other states soon.
The Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, or MSIGA, has allowed New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada to mix their player pools and expand their markets.
If Pennsylvania was to join, the size of the pool would roughly double and add extensive stability to all four markets. Pennsylvania regulators have remained coy about the issue, but industry observers feel confident that the Keystone State will join the party eventually, if not soon.
There is but one single online poker site active in Pennsylvania right now. PokerStars PA is enjoying a de facto monopoly in the state. If the first night of testing is any indication, Pennsylvania poker players are hungry for the opportunity to play real money poker.
In all, seven Pennsylvania casino properties can open online poker rooms.
|Rank||Poker Site||No Deposit Bonus||Deposit Bonus||Play Now|
|1.||PokerStars PA||None||100% up to $600 or $30 Free with $20||Play Now|
|2.||Party Poker||TBA||TBA||Expected in 2020|
|3.||WSOP Poker||TBA||TBA||Expected in 2020|
|4.||BetMGM Poker||TBA||TBA||Expected in 2020|
|5.||Hollywood Casino||TBA||TBA||Date Unknown|
|6.||Rivers Philadelphia||TBA||TBA||Date Unknown|
|7.||Parx Casino||TBA||TBA||Date Unknown|
So, here is all the information about the online poker sites in Pennsylvania, whether they are open for business or expected to launch an online poker room in PA.
The following casinos have secured licenses to offer PA online poker. None of them have announced a partnership or plan to launch, but keep your eyes open, as that situation could change rapidly.
The licensed casinos are:
Pennsylvania is an online poker state, through and through. The PokerStars PA launch meant that Pennsylvania players could now play legal real money poker through their laptops and smartphones.
However, for those who have only played live, there are a few things to know about competing against online players. Although the rules of the games are identical, some elements are vitally important to recognize before venturing into an online poker site.
Still, you may not be ready to take the plunge with actual money in your pocket. Though we can vouch that PA poker sites are safe and run by reputable companies, it’s still a foreign concept to you.
Fortunately, all Pennsylvania poker sites maintain a play money side of their or site. In this arena, you can play until your heart’s content, and at no risk to you whatsoever.
Play money sites are no different from their real money counterparts in terms of their offerings. Cash games, tournaments and other competitions are all run with the same level of smoothness.
The only significant difference will be the gameplay. Because you and your fellow competitors are at no risk, there isn’t any real motivation to play good poker on a free site. As a result, any bluff attempts are rather foolhardy, as some players will call “just to see,” regardless of your bet sizing. After all, they know that the money is worthless, so there’s no need to be careful with it.
For new players, free play allows you to get comfortable with the mechanics of playing online poker. You can also start getting accustomed to the layout of the site and the terminology it uses.
One of the first main differences between live and online poker is the sheer speed of the online game. Online poker can move at a breakneck pace compared to its live brethren, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
If you’re curious about how much faster, consider that most live poker games will play about 30 hands per hour. Some talented dealers can push that number toward 40, but with so many different actions associated with the game, it’s impossible to go much beyond that figure.
By contrast, online poker games can sometimes exceed 100 hands per hour. Since the dealer does not have to deal cards physically and mechanically, it means that your hole cards and the community cards are in view in the blink of an eye.
Now, it’s also essential to realize the implications of a faster-paced game.
Since the overall game is so much speedier, all the events that occur in it are, too. Thus, a hand that could take hours to reach in a live game could come within the first 30 minutes. Big wins will necessarily happen more often. Unfortunately, so will bad beats.
You can further magnify this difference if you choose to play multiple tables at once. Though it is impossible to do so in real life, many players rotate between several different games concurrently. Some of them can play more than 10 games at once, switching back and forth in rapid succession.
Needless to say, the deficiencies of one’s game and the vicissitudes of fate are laid bare if you’re multi-tabling 16 games. On the flip side, however, online poker tends to hone the skills of its players sharply.
So, the average online player will tend to be a much more dangerous competitor than live players who occupy games with the same buy-in levels. It is not advisable to jump right into the equivalent game online as you do live.
Fortunately, another significant difference between live and online is the flexibility you have when it comes to game stakes. It is possible to play full games of poker for not much more than pennies at a time.
We highly recommend that you use these low-limit games to gain experience with the online game first.
Don’t be put off by how skilled the competition is. There are still plenty of good games available online. Even better, you will have the opportunity to play new games.
You won’t have to look for No-Limit Texas Hold’em online. This most popular live game is also the most popular game online, and there isn’t any shortage of options for you.
In a similar light, there are also many choices for Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) players in the virtual sphere. The four-card game is extremely popular worldwide. It’s the game of choice for many regular players in the US.
With PokerStars, you will be able to find other variants. Fans of games like Limit Hold’em, Omaha Eight or Better, and Stud will all find a home online.
In addition, PokerStars is notable for its occasional introduction of unique games. These games are unique to the site, of course, but they might be worth a try for you, if for the novelty alone.
There are also a number of different games available at your fingertips. You can choose between cash games, tournaments, sit and gos, spin and gos and quick-fold games.
Best of all, you may not have to choose or decide between any of them. With the multi-tabling aspect of online poker, you could conceivably have every type of game playing at the same time.
Of course, before you get started, you have to get some money into your account. If you’re new to the concept of initiating a poker deposit, take heart in the fact that it’s in the sites’ best interests to make the process as painless as possible.
You will find multiple options to transact on each site, and you can choose the one that works best for you.
Common poker deposit options include:
Now, please be aware of the fact that not all deposit methods are created equal.
You might find some financial institutions or issuing banks may not work as easily as others when it comes to credit card deposits. So, make sure to check with your bank before embarking on a transfer with one of these options.
If, by chance, you cannot find a banking option that works for you, don’t just give up. Reach out to the site’s customer support, as they will be more than happy to look for other options for you.
One of the more pleasant surprises you’ll find about online poker sites is the prevalence of bonuses available.
Live poker rooms might run a high hand bonus or a bad beat jackpot, but cashing in on those offers is subject to chance and difficult to achieve.
However, online poker sites operate under the threat of competition only a few clicks away. So, they cannot afford to be so cavalier or stingy with their offers to their client base. They know that they have to make an effort to gain and retain customers.
The good news is that you’re here, where we have all the best offers on display. In many cases, our offers cannot be found or matched elsewhere, so make sure that you take advantage.
Bonuses are usually cash, cash equivalents or prizes. You might receive a poker bonus because you registered on-site, because you made a deposit or you climbed up a leaderboard. Bonus options are endless, but they’re often a pretty good deal.
At this point, there is but a single online poker site active in Pennsylvania. PokerStars is the worldwide leader for online poker.
The online poker room continues to draw huge numbers of people from the Keystone State. Both its average and peak traffic numbers exceed those of neighboring New Jersey, even though the Garden State has offered online poker since 2013.
In fact, an average player count on PokerStars PA shows that roughly 850 players are online. At times, there can be close to 2,000 players during peak hours.
Roughly 40% of those players are playing real money cash games. The rest are spread between tournaments, sit and gos and other featured game variants on-site.
To give some context, PokerStars NJ usually attracts 280 players on-site on average. So, in other words, Pennsylvania poker players come to PokerStars at more than triple the rate in the Garden State.
Big numbers mean bigger cash games and tournaments.
The bottom line is that the traffic in Pennsylvania is going to drive up the amount of money available in both tournaments and cash games.
To be honest, we are all quite focused on our mobile devices. According to Pew Research, 96% of Americans own a cellphone, and 81% of us have smartphones. However, the same research shows that nearly three-quarters of American adults own a laptop or desktop computer.
So, to cast the widest net possible, most online poker sites offer both a mobile app and a poker client that you can download. As it turns out, there are reasons why you might choose to use one or both options.
To be frank, most people who want to play online poker in Pennsylvania have a smartphone or tablet. So, let’s talk about how to go about setting up and playing on one of these devices.
The first step is to use the link to visit one of the poker sites above. It’s important to use our link and take note of any bonus code you see, as we often have bonus offers that are unavailable elsewhere.
Through the link, you will need to find the logo button that corresponds with the type of operating system you use. If you’re not sure, you should check with your device retailer. However, as a general rule, if you’re not using an Apple device (iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch), then you’re using Android.
After you install, register for a new account. The registration button is usually large, a noticeable color and in the upper-right corner of your display.
Once you’ve registered, you will need to find the cashier and fund your account to play. For both registration and depositing, be on the lookout for any bonus codes you might need to enter.
Now that your account is set up and you’ve made a deposit, you are ready to look for a cash game or tournament on your phone / tablet.
One of the first things that you may notice is that the online poker app you’re using is specifically designed to run on your device. The displays for both the lobby and games are formatted to fit your screen precisely and optimally.
To that end, there may also be elements present through the mobile app that cannot be found on the site’s client. Various animations, features or just an overall smoothness might be the hallmark of a dedicated app.
You also maintain greater flexibility in terms of the physical location you need to access your games. Any place that has wireless internet, whether it’s your home, a coffee shop or somewhere else, is potentially a location to play a few hands.
Mobile apps are generally great, but they do come with a few challenges. Most of these drawbacks are functions of device size more than anything else, but they do bear consideration.
For one thing, it is much more difficult to multi-table using one of these apps. The buttons to switch between games can be small, and each game’s display takes up the entirety of your device’s screen.
Those of us with poor eyesight may also find it challenging to determine suits and card values from time to time. On those smaller screens, it can be a challenge to determine whether you have a spade or club, which is a problem if you’re drawing to a flush.
Finally, you might simply prefer the posture options you have with a laptop or desktop over those with a smartphone. Having to hold the device in your hand the entire time or bend over it like it’s a book with a small font can be hell on the spine.
Some players will prefer to use their laptops or desktops for their online poker needs. Thankfully, most online poker sites (including PokerStars) offer downloadable clients for players that want to play on their laptop or desktop computer.
A client is basically an old-school computer game program. You download the software directly from the poker site itself, and after you run it, the client will load itself onto your computer.
After that, a quick double-click will open the client window and take you to the site’s lobby. Once you’re there, make sure to register and deposit into your account, if need be.
Don’t forget to check PA bonuses and input any bonus codes that we have listed. Bonuses, whether on a mobile app or a client, are usually best for new players.
The most obvious reason to download the software to your laptop is the increased size of everything. Anyone who suffers from mobility, eyesight or technological problems is likely to have an easier time navigating larger icons, objects and cards.
Furthermore, it is much easier to find an ergonomic position for long poker sessions with a laptop. The options for larger screens, carpal tunnel-resistant mice and comfortable seating make it possible to create an optimal space for excellent poker play.
It is also much easier to multi-table with a laptop or desktop. The games rarely take up the full screen of a computer, and a mouse or trackpad can easily move between the different games you choose to play.
However, it bears mention that many sites and site developers have chosen to put their collective focus on mobile devices. The popularity of apps over laptops among the younger crowd makes app development a move toward the future.
As a result, you can run into out-of-date or poorly supported features on poker clients from time to time. Clients are also one-size-fits-all programs. So, there might be some compatibility or performance issues that crop up while you play, depending on what type and the age of your computer.
Finally, you may have a shallower experience in terms of features and animations through the client. Many companies simply choose to put their money into the app development side of things.
Pennsylvania is still relatively new to the online poker scene, so tournament offerings are still in their early stages.
With that said, PokerStars PA is certainly worth your time if you’re looking for great tournament action.
There are already multiple weekly and annual tournament options on the site:
In addition to these options, some tournaments run on-site daily. Tournament players don’t have any shortage of opportunities in Pennsylvania.
If you do a search for online poker in Pennsylvania, you may come across other sites. They may advertise that they are legal and safe poker sites in PA.
All poker sites in PA are licensed and regulated by the PGCB. If the poker room is not licensed by the PGCB, it is not a legal poker site.
Offshore gambling sites are a much bigger risk because they routinely have softer oversight than their domestic counterparts. The regulatory agencies in charge of them could have problems like lower standards, inexperienced regulators, or even outright collusion with the sites themselves.
Furthermore, these sites exist outside of both Pennsylvania and US legal jurisdiction. So, they are not subject to US courts in any way, shape or form. If you run into difficulties with payments or collusion, you won’t have any recourse of action.
Finally, you may be running afoul of US law yourself by playing on these sites.
The interpretations of laws like the Wire Act and the UIGEA put several crimps on American interests gambling overseas, and the last thing you want is a law enforcement official knocking on your door over a poker game on your computer.
With PokerStars, you have a viable and safe option that you can use anytime you like. There’s no reason to take a risk with an offshore site.
Pennsylvanians have enjoyed the option of playing legal poker in the state since 2010. At the time, an expansion of the existing law allowed casinos to place table games of all types inside their venues. The list of approved games included poker.
However, Pennsylvania’s law to allow online poker contains a few major pills to swallow. For one thing, operators must shell out $10 million for the license fee to operate. In addition, all proceeds that companies gain from online poker are subject to a 16% tax.
Each online card room must have a land-based partner in the state. The land-based tie is common for many gambling expansion laws, including in nearby New Jersey.
You must be at least 21 years or older to participate in online poker games in Pennsylvania. You must also be physically inside the state lines to play.
Pennsylvania’s stance on home poker games is one of the least clear in the United States. Under state law, poker is considered gambling and would, therefore, be forbidden from play outside of registered and licensed venues.
The state law regarding charitable gaming in the state makes no carveout for poker, either. So, it would appear that, by and large, home games are problematic for Pennsylvanians.
However, the law does not specify a criminal charge for operating a home game. As a result, those playing a friendly game at their house would likely have nothing to fear.
Tread cautiously, though. There aren’t any poker games for which the risk of a criminal record is worth it.
Pennsylvania is home to nine legal card rooms. These facilities are all located in Pennsylvania casinos; there aren’t any standalone locations.
They are throughout the state. Most Pennsylvanians and visitors to the state shouldn’t have any shortage of options available to them.
Every room in PA is sizable. Only one single venue has fewer than 10 tables. The largest room is at Parx Casino, where there are more than 60 tables on the floor. Others, like Harrah’s Philadelphia, Rivers Philadelphia, Rivers Pittsburgh, and Wind Creek Casino, each have roughly 30 tables at their disposal.
|Poker Room||Address||# of Tables||Games Played|
|Harrah's Philadelphia||777 Harrah's Blvd, Chester||28||NLHE, Limit hold'em, PLO, Omaha/8, Stud|
|Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course||777 Hollywood Blvd, Grantvill||17||NLHE, PLO, Omaha/8, Stud, Mixed games|
|Meadows Casino||210 Racetrack Rd, Washington||14||NLHE, PLO, Omaha/8|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono||1280 PA-315, Wilkes-Barre||8||NLHE|
|Mount Airy Casino||312 Woodland Rd, Mt Pocono||12||NLHE, PLO, Stud|
|Parx Casino||2999 Street Rd, Bensalem||61||NLHE, Limit hold'em, PLO, Mixed games|
|Rivers Philadelphia||1001 N Delaware Ave, Philadelphia||28||NLHE|
|Rivers Pittsburgh||777 Casino Dr, Pittsburgh||30||NLHE, Limit hold'em, PLO|
|Wind Creek Casino||77 Wind Creek Blvd, Bethlehem||26||NLHE, Limit hold'em, PLO, Stud|
Those unfamiliar with Pennsylvania could be forgiven for believing that the Keystone State has long been friendly to gambling. After all, the state is home to 12 casinos already, and recent legislation has further expanded the state’s overall gambling profile.
In reality, however, Pennsylvania only dabbled in gambling until 2004. Its significant forays were the state lottery and a lively horse racing market.
However, public opinion turned in favor of expansion in the early 2000s, and the first major piece of legislation of Pennsylvania gambling passed in July of that year.
Pennsylvania inhabitants and lawmakers had pushed for casino gambling since the state lottery had debuted in 1971. Although other efforts in the 1980s and 1990s had failed, the growing sentiment that casinos were no longer the province of organized crime led to a groundswell of support for casino expansion.
Thus, Act 71 created the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) and authorized the development of casino properties in the state. Lawmakers sought to create a new source of tax revenue for the state and to bolster the state’s horse racing industry.
As a result, many of Pennsylvania’s casino properties began their lives as horse racing venues. The act allowed them to rebrand as casinos, but only in a limited capacity. The only new type of gambling that the tracks could introduce was slot machines.
However, regardless of the limitation, most of the properties took the state up on its offer to expand. In hindsight, the massive expansion that followed in the years to come was simply a matter of time.
The next major development came in January 2010. After six years of operating with only slot machines, Pennsylvania’s casinos were itching to allow a broader slate of gambling games to enter their venues.
SB 711 granted their wishes. It authorized the insertion of up to 250 gaming tables at Class I and Class II facilities in the state, which covered most of the major casino properties.
It even went so far as to define table games as “any banking or non-banking game approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.” Naturally, this list of games includes poker.
Thus, Pennsylvania became a legal poker state in 2010. Since then, select poker rooms in the state have grown to be some of the largest and most prestigious in the country.
True to form, gambling proponents in the state could only sit still for a few years before another expansion was in order.
So, in 2017, Pennsylvania passed a gambling expansion — H 271 — that renders any further expansion unlikely. The bill legalized almost every type of online gambling under the sun.
In one bill, Pennsylvania made the following activities legal in the Keystone State:
The bill also allows for the creation of up to 10 satellite casinos to serve underserved areas of the state. Existing casinos can apply to change their licenses and add more slot machines, too.
Of course, rolling out all these changes takes time. So, that’s why you’re going to continue to see new elements of gambling spill into Pennsylvania as time goes on. It’s simply online poker’s time now.
The future for online poker in Pennsylvania is incredibly bright.
PokerStars has a de facto monopoly, but it will not hold for much longer. While PokerStars is partnered with Mount Airy Casino, six other Pennsylvania casino properties have applied for and received their licenses to operate online poker.
Two of them already have high-profile partnerships with notable poker operators. They are:
These two properties could launch their online poker sites at any time. Their hold-up is technical, rather than regulatory.
The other four casinos with peer-to-peer licenses are:
Even though these four have not specified a partner yet, they could do so at any time. To that end, they don’t even have to announce anything; they could just show up one day with a site launch. All four of them are owned and operated by companies with long histories and contacts in the gambling industry, so it’s unlikely any are struggling to find allies.
Pennsylvania is also likely to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) in the near future. The move would allow the state to combine player pools with New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware and, possibly, Michigan.
This combination would further strengthen the industry and give it staying power for all involved. Pennsylvania is the most populous state of the group, but having that kind of interplay between the states is of mutual benefit for all involved.
Things are only going to get better from here.
Poker sites rely on player deposits to survive. Therefore, they always seek to make depositing into one’s account an easy proposition. There are multiple ways that you can deposit into an online poker site.
Those methods include credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, e-checks, e-wallets like PayPal and Skrill, and cash deposits at the land-based partner’s cage. The exact mixture of options varies from site to site, but most people can find something that works at each cardroom.
Before you deposit, though, make sure that you read through the fine print of the terms and conditions for both the cardroom you’ve chosen and your financial institution. Buying chips on an online poker site can sometimes bear onerous fees and transaction refusals that can be extremely frustrating. So, make sure that your chosen method works for everyone involved.
In most cases, the minimum deposit that you can make is $10. For PokerStars, the $10 amount is the minimum across all deposit methods.
However, there can be some variation in the minimum for different methods, so it really depends on what method works for you. Some bonuses also bear their own minimum deposit requirements, so make sure to take note before you try to claim something.
Yes. Most online poker sites will accept deposits from PayPal. Some of them will also process withdrawals to the electronic wallet, but you’ll usually have to deposit with PayPal initially to activate that option.
One benefit about playing poker online is that there are often games available in every conceivable variant of poker. Particularly on PokerStars, players are able to try their hand at different types of games, including some that were innovated online.
Every site you ever encounter will offer no-limit Texas Hold’em. The most popular game live is also the most popular game online, and no poker site would have anything less than multiple tables of NLHE.
Many sites will also offer pot-limit Omaha. PLO runs a close second with hold’em for popularity, and the high-only version of the four-card game is the preferred variant for many serious players.
Aside from that, some sites will also offer options to play stud, limit hold’em, Omaha/8, and other less-common variants. Pennsylvanians, by virtue of PokerStars’ presence in the state, will also be able to try out some of ‘Stars’ created games, which are usually variants of popular games with tweaks to the rules.
Absolutely. Legal online poker is only possible if the state establishes a regulatory structure to oversee the industry. In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has full authority to license, regulate, and sanction online poker sites.
Beyond that, online poker sites in the US are owned and operated by large, well-known gambling operators. These companies, like PokerStars, MGM, and Caesars, have far too much to lose to run anything less than a safe, secure, and reliable site.
At this point, you are only able to play poker with other players in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has yet to join MSIGA, so it is unable to combine any player pools with other states. However, that situation is likely to change, as the profit potential for shared liquidity is likely to great for legislators to ignore.
At this point, no. It is illegal by both state and federal law to gamble across state lines. However, if Pennsylvania can join the multi-state compact, it might be able to work around those prohibitions and open the possibility of playing with friends in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.
Generally speaking, you are going to have to download the client if you’re planning on playing with a laptop. Most sites do not support browser-based play, and frankly, it’s better not to trouble your poor web browser with the complexities of a poker game.
Well, that’s an easy question right now, since PokerStars is the only site active in the state. Philosophically, PokerStars also has the fewest players of any site in Pennsylvania, but that’s a rather pessimistic way to view things. As more sites come online, we’ll start to get a better sense about which site will be king of the Keystone State.