Michigan Online Poker Launch Info

Michigan online poker sites are currently preparing to launch. The state’s online gambling expansion includes legal online casinos and online sportsbooks as well as online poker sites. This expansion will make Michigan one of only a handful of states allowing all forms of online gambling. We anticipate Michigan online poker will launch in early 2021.

When Will Michigan Online Poker Launch?

Michigan’s Joint Committee of Administrative Rules met on December 1, 2020. The result of the meeting meant that state lawmakers hoped online gambling would launch in Michigan before the end of the year. Unfortunately, the Michigan Gaming Control Board had to cancel its December meeting. This will delay the review and approval of licenses for online gambling and online poker apps.

It will likely be after online sports betting and online casinos launch, which is currently expected in January 2021. In a public meeting on January 12, 2021, MGCB Executive Director Richard S. Kalm said he expects online poker to launch later in 2021.

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The introduction of legal online poker puts Michigan on a shortlist of states offering state-regulated mobile poker. Only New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania currently present the opportunity to play online poker legally.

Michigan, along with West Virginia, will soon join that list. Online casinos and poker in the Wolverine State will function in partnership with the state’s commercial and tribal casinos. The partnerships already in place will likely produce Michigan versions of partypoker and PokerStars.

PokerStars already operates in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and partypoker offers legal online poker in New Jersey. These platforms offer a full slate of cash games, tournaments, and progressive jackpot sit & gos.

WSOP.com Michigan could also eventually launch in the state, but the brand isn’t partnered with a land-based casino as of yet.

Michigan Online Poker Sites Launching Soon

PokerStars Michigan

The world’s largest online poker brand already operates in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The state-regulated versions of PokerStars function as in-state platforms, separate from the international PokerStars client.

PokerStars NJ launched in 2016, marking a return to the US for the online poker giant. PokerStars PA debuted in November 2019 and set a US monthly revenue record for a regulated poker site in April 2020.

Michigan players can expect PokerStars MI to offer online poker as a Michigan-only network, barring a change in federal online gaming laws. PokerStars Michigan will come to the Wolverine State under the license of Odawa Casino Resort.

Partypoker Michigan

Partypoker stands as one of the world’s most popular online poker platforms. The international version of the partypoker client was cut off from the US market after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, with partypoker deciding to voluntarily leave the US industry.

The brand returned to the US with the launch of partypoker NJ in 2013. A Pennsylvania version of partypoker will launch soon as well.

Partypoker MI will launch as an in-state online poker network, and MGM Grand Detroit will likely function as the retail casino partner for partypoker in Michigan. Partypoker parent company GVC Holdings is a partner to MGM Resorts for online gaming, under the Roar Digital brand.

Michigan Online Poker Partnerships

  • PokerStars: Odawa Casino Resort
  • partypoker: MGM Grand Detroit

Will Michigan Join An Interstate Player Pool?

When the Michigan online gambling bill first passed, it permitted Michigan’s legal online poker sites to launch as in-state only platforms. That would mean that players logging in to PokerStars or partypoker in Michigan are required to be within state borders when playing. Geolocation services on each platform would lock out players outside of Michigan.

It also meant that Michigan poker players would not be able to join an interstate player pool. In the end, this seemed to be more of an omission from the gambling bill rather than a conscious decision to not allow Michigan players into the interstate pool.

What Is An Interstate Poker Player Pool?

WSOP Nevada, WSOP NJ, 888poker NJ, and the 888poker network in Delaware all share the same player pool. This merged player pool, known as the All American Poker Network (AAPN) functions as the only legal interstate online poker network in the US. An interstate player pool means, for example, that WSOP players in Nevada can play against WSOP players in New Jersey. This opens up the number of players so make games more available and more competitive.

Will Michigan Poker Players Be Able To Play With Players In NJ or NV?

The omission of interstate poker regulations from the 2019 online gambling legislation is addressed in 2020 Senate Bill 0991. The bill outlines laws “for multijurisdictional internet poker” and proposes that Michigan’s online poker operators be permitted to join interstate player pools.

The bill passed through the state Senate in October by a 36-1 margin, then made it through the House with a 36-1 yes vote in December. SB 0991 now only needs a signature from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to go into law.

Michigan gambling regulations expect Gov. Whitmer to sign the bill with no objections, opening up the possibility for Michigan’s online poker sites to join a multi-state agreement. Once Governor Whitmer signs the bill, it will become Michigan law approximately 90 days after.

We anticipate that Michigan poker apps will launch after sports betting and casino apps. It is likely that poker apps could launch before Senate Bill 0991 officially becomes law. Hopefully, Michigan players will only have to wait a short time, though, before being able to play as part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement.

Guide To Legal Online Poker Sites In Michigan

Michigan Poker Variations

Michigan poker sites will offer all the typical variants of poker you will see in a typical poker room. This includes Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Poker sites will offer cash games as well as poker tournaments, twenty-four hours a day.

It is possible to more unique or less common variants won’t be as common when Michigan online poker launches if there aren’t enough players to form a table for that variant. As more players join the poker sites, though, this could change.

Bonuses At Michigan Online Poker Sites

Deposit Match Bonuses

Like many other forms of legal online gambling, the most commonly offered bonus at mobile poker sites comes in the form of deposit match bonuses.

A deposit match bonus matches a percentage of the amount of your first deposit with an equal amount of bonus money. The terms and conditions of a deposit match bonus offer can vary dramatically across different platforms, so it’s important to read the fine print and understand how the bonus works at a chosen online poker site.

PokerStars and Partypoker Deposit Match Bonuses

While waiting for online poker sites to launch in Michigan, we can look to sites in New Jersey to see what types of bonus offers they have for new players.

At PokerStars, for example, the platform offers a 100% deposit match bonus up to $600. This means that a maximum of $600 can be unlocked, but it requires a total of $600 or more across your first three deposits.

After making any combination of your first three deposits, PokerStars releases bonus funds based on how much you play. The bonus is released by earning redemption points, which are based on how much rake you pay into the platform while you play.

The redemption points amount to $0.35 in bonus funds for every $1 in rake paid in cash games or tournaments. After making your first deposit, you have four months to try to generate redemption points and unlock the bonus funds.

Partypoker extends a 100% deposit match bonus up to $1,000 for new players. Like PokerStars, the partypoker bonus is unlocked in increments, based on how much rake paid into the site.

See our full Guide To Michigan Online Casino Bonuses.

Online Cash Games In Michigan

Partypoker Cash Games

The New Jersey partypoker client offers heads-up, six-max, and full ring cash games around the clock. Most of the cash game tables play as No-Limit Hold’em games, but Fixed-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and Seven-Card Stud are also offered on the ring game menu.

Players of all bankrolls can find cash games starting as low as the $0.01/$0.02 micro stakes games. Partypoker features high-stakes cash game action up to $25/$50.

Partypoker cash games offer the highest traffic from 5 pm-11 pm eastern time on weekdays, and from 2 pm-11 pm on weekends. The Michigan version of partypoker will likely offer a similar menu of poker variants and cash game stakes.

PokerStars Cash Games

Michigan players should find no trouble finding poker cash games at a variety of stakes when PokerStars Michigan goes live in the Wolverine State. PokerStars presents a menu of stakes and poker variants that includes numerous options outside of No-Limit Hold’em.

Those options include Limit Hold’em, Stud, Razz, 2-7 Triple Draw, 8-Game, and several others. The stakes for Limit Hold’em and 8-Game go all the way up to $100/$200.

Like most poker rooms, however, most of the games play as No-Limit Hold’em, at stakes from $0.01/$0.02 up to the high stakes tables at $25/$50.

Online Poker Tournaments In Michigan

Partypoker Tournaments

The tournament schedule at partypoker NJ features more than 50 daily tournaments. Buy-ins range from $1 micro stakes events up to $320 and beyond for the platform’s “Mega” tournaments. The largest of those events plays as a $12,000 guaranteed weekly tournament with a $535 buy-in.

A partnership between partypoker and the World Poker Tour regularly brings special WPT online tournament series to the partypoker client. The WPT Online Borgata Series, for instance, offered more than $275,000 guaranteed across an 11-event series.

Partypoker MI will bring WPT special events, as well as a full slate of daily tournaments, to Michigan players.

PokerStars Tournaments

The slate of regularly-scheduled tournaments includes around 50 events daily. Some of the biggest guarantees on the daily slate include the $100 buy-in Nightly Stars tournament, which guarantees an $8,000 prize pool.

Big weekly guarantees include the Super Tuesday, with $15,000 guaranteed in a $250 buy-in tournament. The $250 Thursday Thrill PKO guarantees $10,000, and the biggest prize pool of the week comes through the $200 Sunday Special, with $35,000 guaranteed.

PokerStars Michigan will likely also offer Michigan-only versions of its popular Championship of Online Poker tournament series, which Pennsylvania and New Jersey players enjoy multiple times per year.

What Other Online Poker Sites Are Coming To Michigan?

WSOP.com

WSOP.com stands as the biggest online poker operator in the US. The iconic brand already operates in Nevada and New Jersey, and a Michigan edition of the WSOP online platform seems like a good fit for the brand and Michigan’s 10-million population.

Michigan’s online gambling laws would require WSOP to form a partnership with an existing land-based casino. Eldorado Resorts, parent company to WSOP, doesn’t own any retail properties in Michigan, however.

A WSOP Michigan online poker site could only come forth if Eldorado Resorts teamed up with a Michigan commercial or tribal property. No announcement has yet been made regarding such a partnership, however.

How To Fund A Michigan Poker Account

There are a variety of options to fund a Michigan online poker account. These are the same deposit options that are available at online casino apps. Some of the most popular include electronic bank transfers, credit or debit cards, and PayPal.

Using a credit card can sometimes cause problems. Some US banks are skeptical of legal online poker sites, even ones that are fully licensed by the state government. Often times, bettors find their credit card deposits are declined at online poker sites. If that’s the case, try using a bank transfer or establish a PayPal account with your credit card to fund your account that way.

Michigan Poker Rooms

Traditionally, poker in Michigan meant visiting one of the many poker rooms at one of the commercial or tribal casinos in the state. In Detroit, the three commercial casinos have a reputation for quality poker rooms. The MGM Grand features 17 poker tables and tournaments several days a week. The same is true for Motor City Casino Hotel, which also has 17 tables. Greektown Casino has a dozen poker tables in its poker room.

Many of the state’s tribal casinos also offer poker rooms, normally with fewer tables than the Detroit casinos do. The exception is Firekeepers in Battle Creek, which has more than two dozen poker tables, making it one of the most competitive in the state.

Legal Online Poker Sites Versus Illegal Poker Sites In Michigan

State-regulated online poker platforms will bring legal online poker to Michigan for the first time. Playing at a legal mobile poker site presents many advantages over putting your money on an illegal poker site.

Security Of Funds

For starters, your money is always safe at a state-regulated poker platform like PokerStars MI and partypoker Michigan. These platforms function as extensions of legal land-based casinos.

This means your money is as safe at partypoker MI as it would be sitting on the table at the MGM Grand Detroit. You only have to work about playing well and keeping your opponents from taking your money, as there’s no threat of the house running off with your cash.

Illegal or offshore poker sites, or poker “clubs” that play on mobile devices, offer no such security of player funds. Taking a deeper look into poker clubs and other illegal poker rooms reveals myriad stories of the club or site operator taking player funds and running.

How Can I Tell The Difference Between A Legal And An Illegal Poker Site?

Legal online gambling sites will always display the seal of approval from the appropriate gaming regulatory agency. Both partypoker NJ and PokerStars NJ, for example, show the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement seal.

In Michigan, all state-regulated online gambling platforms will display a seal from either the Michigan Gaming Control Board or the National Indian Gaming Commission.

How Do I Know That Legal Online Poker Sites Offer Fair Games?

Another reason to pick a legal, state-regulated online poker platform over an offshore site is the guaranteed fairness of games. Anything less than that means you’re risking your money in a rigged poker game, causing you to lose money and question your play.

The games offered at legal poker sites like PokerStars and partypoker allow players the security of regulated, fair games. The online games presented on these platforms deal with the same level of randomness and fairness as their live casino counterparts.

Who Regulates Legal Online Poker Sites In Michigan?

Both commercial and tribal casinos in Michigan can offer legal online poker. Depending on which category the retail license partner of an online poker room falls into, the site is regulated by one of two gaming oversight agencies in Michigan.

Tribal casinos fall under the jurisdiction of the National Indian Gaming Commission. PokerStars Michigan, licensed by tribal casino Odawa Casino Resort, will be regulated by this agency.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) provides oversight for Michigan’s commercial casinos. Partypoker MI, licensed to MGM Grand Detroit, will fall under the regulation of the MGCB.

Both the National Indian Gaming Commission and the Michigan Gaming Control Board exist with the purpose of assuring transparency, accountability, and fairness from the land-based casinos in their respective jurisdictions. Legal online poker sites, by extension, will be held to those same standards.

Why Should I Trust Legal Online Poker Sites In Michigan?

Legal Deposits And Withdrawals

Depositing money at PokerStars Michigan or partypoker MI requires making a legal financial transaction. Trusted methods like ACH/eCheck, credit/debit cards, PayPal, Play+ Prepaid, and even casino cage deposit can be openly used to deposit a state-regulated online poker platform.

That same deposit at an offshore poker site requires that you play the shell game with a third-party payment processor. Your deposit at an offshore poker site will likely appear on your bank statement as an overseas transaction from an outlet you’ve never heard of. That can’t be good.

The Reputations Of Partypoker And PokerStars

As two of the biggest names in online poker around the world, both partypoker and PokerStars operate with a keen interest in player safety, security of personal information, and fairness of games.

Both brands have built their reputations as legal and safe poker platforms. Some other brands in the history of online poker have gone in a different direction, and neither partypoker nor PokerStars wants to end up with a sullied reputation.

How Do I Get Paid If I Win?

Michigan’s legal online poker sites will offer several ways to legally withdraw funds. Some of these methods include ACH/eCheck, PayPal, Play+ Prepaid, and casino cage pickup.

Michigan Online Poker Rooms FAQ

What kinds of online poker games are legal in Michigan?

When Michigan’s legal online poker rooms launch, players will be able to choose from a variety of cash games, tournaments, and progressive jackpot sit & go tournaments.

Both partypoker and PokerStars, in other US states in which they operate, present nearly all of their games at micro to high-stakes price points. No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and several other poker variants will be accessible at Michigan’s online poker platforms.

How old do I have to be to play at Michigan’s legal online poker rooms?

21 or over. The minimum legal age for playing on Michigan’s state-regulated online poker platforms is 21. This age applies to poker sites offered by both commercial and tribal casinos.

Some tribal casinos allow patrons to play at either 18 or 19 as the minimum age, but state laws mandate that online players must be at least 21.

Does Michigan share online poker player pools with any other state?

No. When Michigan’s legal online poker sites launch, they’ll do so as Michigan-only platforms. Players must be located in Michigan while playing, and can only play against other players also located within Michigan. There is a bill that is scheduled to pass the Michigan House of Representatives, though, which could change this and allow Michigan poker players to play in interstate poker pools.

 

What is the tax rate for online poker sites in Michigan?

Online poker and casino revenue in Michigan is taxed between 20% and 28%. The percentage taxed is determined by a tiered system developed by Michigan lawmakers.

Who can get a license to run a legal online poker site in Michigan?

All three commercial casinos, as well as the 12 tribes that operate tribal casinos in Michigan, can apply for an online poker license. All legal online casino apps and poker sites must operate through partnerships with land-based casinos.

The parent companies to PokerStars and partypoker already have online gaming agreements in place with retail casinos in Michigan. Other poker operators, like WSOP, could come to Michigan through future partnerships. Retail casinos are also able to launch their own online poker platforms.

About the Author

Geoffrey Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based freelance writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff’s interests include the legal online poker industry in the U.S. and abroad.