Michigan Online Poker Launch Info

Michigan online poker is now live. The state’s online gambling expansion includes legal online casinos and online sportsbooks as well as online poker sites. This expansion makes Michigan one of only a handful of states allowing all forms of online gambling. The first Michigan online poker site launched on Friday, January 29th.

When Did Michigan Online Poker Launch?

PokerStars Michigan is the first online poker site available. It launched on the 29th of January. PokerStars Michigan does not share pool players with other legal online poker states but a recent online poker bill could make that a possibility in late 2021.

We expect BetMGM Poker to launch a Michigan online poker site in the next few months.

In addition, check out our guide to Legal Online Casinos In Michigan to see what other casino games are available now in Michigan. 

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The introduction of legal online poker puts Michigan on a shortlist of states that offer state-regulated mobile poker. Only Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania currently present the opportunity to play online poker legally. West Virginia will soon join this list.

Online casinos and poker in the Wolverine State function in partnership with the state’s commercial and tribal casinos. PokerStars launched in partnership with Odawa Casino in January 2021. BetMGM Poker also already has a partnership in place and should launch later in 2021. The BetMGM Poker technology will be backed by partypoker, which already has an app in New Jersey.

PokerStars Michigan offers a full slate of cash games, tournaments, and progressive jackpot sit & gos. BetMGM Poker will likely offer a similar collection of games when it goes live.

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

PokerStars Michigan

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

PokerStars launched in 2016 in New Jersey, marking a return to the US for the online poker giant. PokerStars debuted in Pennsylvania in November 2019 and set a US monthly revenue record for a regulated poker site in April 2020. PokerStars Michigan launched on January 29, 2021.

PokerStars MI could eventually share player pools with PokerStars New Jersey, thanks to an interstate poker bill signed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Both New Jersey and Michigan now have legislation in place to offer shared player liquidity with other states.

PokerStars Michigan operates in the Wolverine State under the license of Odawa Casino Resort.

BetMGM Poker Michigan – Coming Soon

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 partypoker brand returned to the US with the launch of partypoker NJ in 2013. A Pennsylvania version of partypoker will launch soon as well. In Michigan, the poker app will launch under the brand name BetMGM Poker, but using the same technology.

BetMGM Poker MI could eventually join the partypoker US Network as a multi-state online poker collaboration. MGM Grand Detroit will function as the retail casino partner for the Michigan poker app. BetMGM and 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
  • BetMGM Poker: 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 BetMGM Poker 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, 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 an 85-16 margin, then made it through the House with a 36-1 yes vote in December. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed off on SB 0991 in January. The bill will become Michigan law approximately 90 days after Gov. Whitmer’s signature.

Guide To Legal Online Poker Sites In Michigan

Michigan Poker Variations

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

It is possible that more unique or less common variants won’t be as common in the early days of Michigan online poker 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 BetMGM Poker Deposit Match Bonuses

Michigan’s legal online poker sites offer various welcome bonuses 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. We assume the BetMGM Poker bonus will work the same when it launches in Michigan.

See our full Guide To Michigan Online Casino Bonuses.

Online Cash Games In Michigan

BetMGM Poker (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 BetMGM Poker 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 at PokerStars Michigan. 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

BetMGM Poker (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.

BetMGM Poker, using its partypoker technology. 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.

The daily tournament slate includes the Daily Bigs. The series runs five tournaments per day, at buy-ins from $5 to $20.

PokerStars Michigan will 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. Oftentimes, 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.

Poker rooms at both commercial and tribal casinos were shut down for most of 2020 due to COVID-19. Michigan lawmakers haven’t announced a timetable for the return of live poker to commercial casinos.

Tribal casinos, not bound to the state’s COVID-19 emergency orders, can choose to repoen their live poker rooms at any time.

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 BetMGM Poker Michigan. These platforms function as extensions of legal land-based casinos.

This means your money is as safe at BetMGM Poker 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 the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

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 BetMGM Poker 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. The Michigan Gaming Control Board licenses and regulates all online gaming in the state. PokerStars Michigan is partnered with tribal casino Odawa Casino Resort, which also has to comply with the rules and regulations of the National Indian Gaming Commission.

BetMGM Poker MI, licensed to MGM Grand Detroit, will also fall under the regulation of the MGCB.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board exists 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 BetMGM Poker 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 BetMGM Poker And PokerStars

As two of the biggest names in online poker around the world, both BetMGM Poker (backed by 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?

Michigan poker players are able to choose from a variety of cash games, tournaments, and progressive jackpot sit & go tournaments.

PokerStars and other online poker apps 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 are 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?

Senate Bill 0991 puts the framework in place for Michigan’s online poker sites to potentially share player pools with other states.

New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware currently operate with an arrangement known as the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). This agreement allows online poker sites in each of those states to share player pools if they wish.

SB 0991 allows Michigan to enter into interstate poker agreements. This could result in Michigan joining the MSIGA.

 

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.