Poker In Illinois

Poker In Illinois

Cardrooms and online poker options in Illinois

As Illinois broadens its gambling options, it’s reasonable to question whether online poker will be included. Currently, there are no online poker sites in Illinois. Nonetheless, promotional sweepstakes sites provide an alternative for gameplay.

Indeed, one specific social site, Global Poker, provides online poker games with the opportunity to win cash rewards. In the following sections, we will explain how this site operates and maintains its legal status.

You’ve landed on the right page if you’re an online poker player in Illinois. We possess all the current information about the ongoing affairs of online poker in the Prairie State.

Global Poker accepts Illinois poker players

Up to $1250 to bet on sports
250% Slots + Table Bonus
150 Free Spins On Gorilla Or Buffalo Ways
50 Daily Boost For Your Massive Wins
Grab your 175% + 50 free spins
Up to $1,250
On Caesars
Stream NFL Games In App For Free
+ Get 1,000 Caesars Reward & $1,000 Tier Credits
Redeem for Bet Credits, Hotel Stays, & More!
Use Promo Code: LEGALFULL
No Sweat First Bet
Up to $1,000 No Sweat First Bet
Available on Desktop, Android & iOS
To Claim: Click Play Now
No Sweat First Bet
Available on Desktop, Android & iOS
Up to $1,000 No Sweat First Bet
To Claim: Click Play Now

Is online poker legal in Illinois?

Illinois state law prohibits the operation of online poker sites within the state boundaries.

Why can I find sites to play?

Numerous unregulated online poker sites operate outside the US, and they don’t adhere to the same standards and practices found in regulated gaming in Illinois.

When visiting these operators, you’re exposing yourself to several risks. Firstly, it can be challenging to ascertain whether you’re interacting with legitimate sites. They might not be operating a fair site or providing secure locations for your money and personal information. Their operations from outside the country further complicate the confirmation of their legitimacy.

Being external to the US, these sites have an unsettled legal status. A broad interpretation of the law and some enthusiastic law enforcement could easily block your access and stop you from retrieving the funds in your account.

At present, the wisest course of action is to employ a promotional sweepstakes site or patiently anticipate the introduction of domestic online poker for real money in your state. Despite the undeniable frustration, it’s indeed the sensible thing to do.

Will Illinois regulate online poker?

It’s difficult to determine. There’s a legislative push in Illinois to legalize online poker eventually, but the timing of this action remains uncertain.

However, the positive aspect is that in 2021, the House and Senate presented bills for online casinos, incorporating online poker in the provisions. Therefore, it is challenging to imagine online poker being excluded if online casinos are ultimately regulated in Illinois.

Neither of the online casino bills were approved during the May legislative session, but the topic will undoubtedly be revisited in subsequent sessions.

Meanwhile, let’s discuss the poker options currently available to you in Illinois.

What are social poker sites?

The nature of promotional sweepstakes poker sites can be quite puzzling. Although they appear and operate like regular online poker sites, they are surprisingly legal in most states. How is this possible?

Understanding the definition of sweepstakes is crucial. You might have already participated in some, such as Publishers Clearing House or McDonald’s Monopoly, but you may not be able to define what a sweepstakes contest is, apart from being a form of prize giveaway.

Specific rules must be adhered to by any sweepstakes contest or social site. Foremost among these is that entry must be free. Consequently, each sweepstakes game you come across will assert that no purchase is required.

Secondly, it is obligated to award the advertised prize. Therefore, even if you personally have never been visited by the PCH Prize Patrol, someone invariably is. Perhaps the most astounding fact about these giveaways is that they are legally prohibited from being fraudulent.

Sweepstakes are also required to operate within a specific timeframe, having a clear start and finish. They are not allowed to run indefinitely.

You might be questioning how this applies to a poker site. Usually, the explanation can be found in the site’s policy of providing two distinct currencies.

The site will make its play currency available for purchase. When a player makes a purchase, they will receive this play money. Occasionally, they will also receive bonus chips, which can ultimately be redeemed for different prizes.

You can also directly request the site for some of its currency. Despite the site making the process difficult, it is legally obliged to provide actual entries to anyone making such a request.

The social poker site of choice – Global Poker

Despite the existence of various other promotional sweepstakes websites, Global Poker stands out as the go-to site for poker games, particularly for US players. As part of the VGW Holdings family, Global Poker provides games using its play money called Gold Coins, as well as its sweepstakes currency known as Sweeps Coins.

Those possessing Sweeps Coins have the opportunity to use this currency to participate in games on Global Poker, potentially winning more Sweeps Coins. If any Sweeps Coins are won through promotional play, they can be exchanged for actual rewards.

Conversely, Gold Coins hold no value beyond Global Poker and are exclusively utilized for playing games on the platform.

Global stands out for its sleek interface and the large number of games it offers. Games are typically available at all hours, with the majority being hold’em games. However, Omaha High games are also frequently active. Occasionally, you may even find a tournament for Crazy Pineapple.

In addition to its cash game offerings, Global also provides sit and go’s, jackpot sit and go’s, and fast fold poker. All types of games come with a broad spectrum of buy-in levels.

Global Poker is likely the best option for players in Illinois. It operates with transparency and always has action available. If the best you can do for online poker is Global, then you are certainly doing well.

Poker apps vs. downloading a poker site

These days, nearly everyone utilizes a smartphone or another mobile device. A significant part of our lives is managed through these devices, which often also serve as a source of entertainment.

Thus, it isn’t astonishing to find that online poker applications for Apple and Android are available. In states where online poker for real money is permissible, you typically have the choice of using an app compatible with your device or downloading a poker client to your computer.

Promotional sweepstakes sites are less likely to have an app. Global, for instance, has notably abstained from developing an app or client, instead offering an optimized browser version of its site.

Playing online poker is perhaps best suited to a conventional computer. The extensive graphics required, coupled with the challenges of multi-tabling on a mobile device, make mouse-based play a superior choice for many individuals.

This is not to suggest that the app is unusable or not worth using. Poker is just a visually intense presentation, involving the table, cards, and other players occupying seats. As compared to other gambling games, poker requires you to have more information readily accessible. Hence, the larger display provided by computer screens is quite beneficial.

Online poker tournaments in Illinois

Generally, poker tournaments are quite appealing due to their cost-effectiveness and the potential for large winnings. Unlike the slow and steady pace of cash games that may only allow you to double or triple your money on a good day, tournaments offer the opportunity to win prizes that are significantly higher than your initial investment. Plus, they limit the maximum amount you can lose.

It goes without saying that tournaments are also a big hit online. Actually, online poker sites operate tournament series quite similarly to how the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour do. Players contribute money to a prize pool, start with an equal number of chips, and keep playing until one player has all the chips.

No Limit Texas Hold’em tournaments are typically the most prevalent, as is usually the case. Nonetheless, it’s frequently possible to encounter games such as Pot-Limit Omaha, stud, limit poker, and Omaha Hi-Lo as options. Global Poker, currently the top choice for players in Illinois, offers tournament options in hold’em, PLO, and interestingly, crazy pineapple.

Nonetheless, the influence of regulated online poker on tournament opportunities in Illinois would be significant. While it’s achievable to earn money through promotional sweepstakes tournaments on Global Poker, this potential could increase exponentially with complete access to regulated poker sites.

In addition, if Illinois were to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) and share its liquidity with other states, its residents and visitors would gain eligibility to participate in some of the largest online poker tournaments. This would significantly increase the potential for winning prizes, with six-figure and even seven-figure wins becoming a real possibility.

If the WSOP decides to launch in Illinois upon the legalization of real money online poker, you might have the chance to win the most prestigious prize in poker – the WSOP gold bracelet. The WSOP now exclusively offers bracelet events online, hence Illinois residents might potentially etch their names in poker history from their own homes one day.

Real money poker vs. play money poker

You might have encountered online poker in some form previously. Numerous free platforms are certainly available for you to play as much as you desire. Additionally, you might have experienced live poker in an Illinois casino. If that’s the case, you’re likely familiar with many of the games and features that you may encounter online.

Nonetheless, it’s crucial for you to understand the fundamental differences you may experience if online poker in Illinois becomes a reality. Interestingly, this version of the game differs significantly from other forms you might have encountered.


The initial observation you’ll make is the significantly increased speed of online poker compared to its live version. Regardless of whether you’re on a free play site, a promotional sweepstakes site, or a real money online poker Illinois site, you’ll encounter at least double the number of hands compared to a live game.

The high speed of online poker is often cited as proof that the game is rigged. It’s true that bad beats and coolers occur more frequently online, but so does everything else. We simply fail to recall the higher frequency of pocket aces, flopped sets, and suckouts that we benefit from, focusing instead on the tough beats.

Also, the level of play online is significantly higher, partly due to the faster speed. To put it simply, gaining playing experience becomes much easier if you’re dealt twice as many hands. In fact, many players engage in multiple tables simultaneously, likely seeing far more hands than a player in a live setting.

Naturally, an increase in skill isn’t solely dependent on the number of hands played. Habitual online poker players can utilize a myriad of tools to monitor their own and their opponents’ gameplay. Even though some sites are starting to limit the use of heads-up displays (HUDs), situational hand charts, and hand history data software, players have been employing these applications for years, witnessing significant improvements in their games as a result.

Available poker games

A significant distinction between live and online poker lies in the sheer accessibility of games. While you might need to wait for an online table, the delay will probably only be a few seconds, compared to the uncomfortable wait of several minutes or even hours in a live poker room.

Even when all tables at your selected site are occupied, you can always start a new one. The poker site has no issues with this, and unlike a live room, it doesn’t need to provide staff for it. Thus, you can quickly start a full game from scratch.

The site will always have available tables. There are no concerns about space limitations. Similarly, there are no constraints on the type of games. Unlike live poker rooms that can only provide games that players desire, online sites have the ability to offer a full range of poker games at any given moment.

It’s clear that most players opt for No Limit Texas Hold’em as their preferred game. However, many sites typically offer options for Pot-Limit Omaha. Larger sites may also provide opportunities to play other games such as Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, stud, stud hi-lo, crazy pineapple or razz. Some sites occasionally introduce their own unique game variants.

Most sites also offer a variety of table sizes for play, including options for two-handed, six-handed, or nine-handed tables.

You’ll find that the stakes vary as well. Online poker sites are well-known for providing players the chance to play games for mere pennies – an opportunity you won’t get in a physical casino. But you can also discover some high-stakes games online. A considerable number of poker professionals extensively ply their trade online, so there is substantial money to be won.

Additionally, you will have the option to choose the type of game you desire to play. Cash games are consistently accessible, and typically, you can locate a tournament starting at any given time.

In addition, majority of websites provide sit and go tournaments that start once a certain number of players have bought in. A variation of these competitions, the jackpot sit and go, is gaining popularity. These are ultra-fast, winner-takes-all tournaments where you compete against two to three other players. As the tournament commences, the prize pool is randomly determined and can be significantly higher than the buy-in fee.

Fast fold games are the final type of game you’ll encounter online. These cash games automatically move you to a new table as soon as your current hand is played, regardless of whether you’ve folded or won. This enjoyable method helps to reduce the amount of time you spend waiting for hands to finish.

Account management

One distinction that could be seen as a disadvantage for some is the lack of anonymity in online poker. Instead of quietly finding a seat in a live casino, you will need to set up an account and share some personal details to play on your preferred site. This is unlike the live casino experience and could potentially be off-putting for some players.

Additionally, you’ll need to supply certain financial details to fund your account. Playing for real money isn’t possible unless you deposit funds, and the only methods available for this are those provided by poker sites.

Before finalizing a site, ensure you review the deposit and withdrawal methods available. If you can’t find a banking option that suits your needs, it’s perfectly reasonable to opt for a different site. However, most sites provide several deposit methods to cater to diverse preferences. Usually, you’ll have the following options:

  • Credit or debit cards
  • Electronic checks (ACH)
  • Digital wallets (such as PayPal, Skrill, Neteller)
  • Online banking/wire transfers
  • Prepaid cards
  • PayNearMe (via 7-Eleven)
  • Money at a terrestrial partner’s counter

Clearly, not all websites will offer these options. Specifically, the availability of the cage deposit option is rather inconsistent, so it’s better not to depend on it as your main method initially.

However, as you prepare to make your first deposit, it’s recommended to visit this site to check for any available bonus codes or options for new players. Online poker sites are keen to offer free site credits, tournament tickets or other goodies to entice you to try them out, and we likely have the best offers available.

Warning about playing free money poker games

Should you desire to play poker online without any charges, you are more than welcome to do so. Numerous social casinos and play money sites such as PlayWPT, Zynga, and Big Fish are readily available.

However, we must issue a warning against using these sites as a rehearsal for the real game. The free money games have a fundamental gameplay defect that could be catastrophic for the ambitious online poker player.

Since play money chips have no real value, players often play without any strategy or logic. Games with free money typically see players going all-in on every hand, and it appears that some players push their “money” into the middle in every single round.

Therefore, even though you can play and attempt to achieve significant hands, playing correctly on free money sites or treating a real money site like a free money site will not lead to much progress.

Illinois poker laws

The Riverboat Gambling Act of 1990, which is the main law regulating poker in Illinois, was instituted at a time when casinos were uncommon outside of Nevada and Atlantic City. This act paved the way for the establishment of casinos in Illinois.

The law stipulated that the Illinois Gaming Board had the authority to distribute 10 casino licenses. Intriguingly, the initial wording of the bill mandated that each casino must be an authentic riverboat that regularly sailed along one of Illinois’ waterways. It wasn’t until 1999 that the boats were granted permission to permanently dock at a fixed location.

All 10 licenses in Illinois have been distributed and utilized to establish casinos. Midwest Gaming and Entertainment received the final license in 2005, which was used for the property that ultimately developed into the Rivers Casino Des Plaines.

Since its inception, the Riverboat Gambling Act has formed the foundation of Illinois gambling legislation. Over the years, additional laws have been incorporated to amend this act and add provisions for aspects such as online lottery, video gambling terminals, and most recently, sports betting.

However, all the modifications made to the law have not meaningfully handled poker. The 2019 expansion of gambling, which enabled online and retail sports betting, did not include any reference to online poker.

In 2021, the House and Senate introduced bills for internet gaming including online poker. However, these bills didn’t receive enough backing to be passed. Regardless, such is the level of interest in the legislature, it’s certain that this topic will be brought up again in future sessions.

Currently, residents and visitors in Illinois can utilize the four poker rooms located within one of Illinois’ retail casinos.

Are home poker games legal in Illinois?

No, home poker games are not legal in Illinois, despite the state having poker rooms and a clear openness to gambling in various forms.

A home poker game isn’t just a minor infraction; it’s categorized as a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties for this offense can include up to a year in jail, several years of probation, and fines amounting to thousands.

Illinois cardrooms near me

Four cardrooms are located in Illinois: Rivers poker room, Grand Victoria Casino poker room, Hollywood Aurora poker room, and Bally’s poker room. Each of these is situated in one of the casino properties of Illinois. The state does not have any legal standalone facilities. The poker rooms at Harrah’s Joliet and Harrah’s Metropolis have been permanently shut down.

Because of Illinois’ unexpectedly detailed gambling laws, these four cardrooms are the only legal places to play poker.

Poker Room Address To Reserve A Seat Number of Tables Games Offered Notes
Grand Victoria Casino – Elgin 250 S. Grove Ave., Elgin, IL 60120 847-531-7753 13 NLHE, PLO, LHE Open 10 a.m.-4 a.m., Wednesdays-Sundays
Hollywood Casino Aurora 1 W. New York St., Aurora, IL 60506 630-801-7471 14 NLHE, LHE Open 3 p.m.-3 a.m., Wednesdays-Sunday
Bally’s Quad City Casino & Hotel 777 Bally Blvd., Rock Island, IL 61201 309-756-4600 6 NLHE, PLO, LHE, O8/B, STUD Open 4 p.m. to midnight, Wednesdays-Sundays
Rivers Casino 3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines, IL  60018 888-307-0777 22 NLHE, PLO, LHE, O8/B, STUD 24 hours

Future regulated online poker in Illinois

Plans are underway to introduce online poker to residents of Illinois, though not all are in favor. Online poker seems set to be part of the online casino legislation, making it a bundled deal.

This is evident as online poker was included in the proposed 2021 House and Senate internet gaming bills. Although neither bill was passed in the latest legislative session, it is clear that there is interest and initiative for this among certain members of the legislature.

It seems likely that online poker will eventually be regulated in Illinois, though it’s hard to predict when. The legalization of online poker in other states could positively influence this outcome. However, for the foreseeable future, online poker in Illinois will continue to be unregulated.

Wrapping up

In summary, online poker is predominantly prohibited in Illinois, particularly in the conventional sense. Renowned firms such as PokerStars and WSOP currently do not have the authorization to function within the state.

Illinois is gradually leaning towards online gambling. The IL Legislature has been expanding the state’s gambling portfolio every couple of years since 2010, indicating that another bill could be on the horizon soon. In 2021, there were proposals for online casino and online poker, but none garnered enough support to pass.

Currently, Illinois residents can take solace in the state’s four cardrooms and Global Poker. They also have the option to play at one of the 10 casinos, two racetracks, various off-track locations, video gambling terminals, or participate in the state lottery.

In Illinois, they have various options including online access to both lottery and sports betting sites. Therefore, there are numerous activities to engage in. For the time being, remain patient, as online poker in Illinois may become a possibility someday.