Online poker is back in Pennsylvania. Many of the biggest and best-known poker sites are now legal and licensed to run games within state lines. They include PokerStars – with partypoker and WSOP.com expected to join soon.
As a player you can take advantage of the big marketing budgets these sites will use to gain traction in the Keystone State. There are no-deposit bouses, big matched welcome offers and generous loyalty schemes available right now.
This page has everything you need to understand the games, bonuses, and software options available at the legal PA online poker sites. You’ll also find a brief explanation of how the sites work and a detailed FAQ located at the bottom of the page.
Yes. Seven casinos took up the poker license, most as part of a package deal.
Instead of $4 million per gambling vertical, several PA casinos paid $10 million for poker, online slots, and online table games licenses. Many also spent $10 million for a separate sports betting license.
It took a long time from when the gambling expansion act (H 271) of 2017 was passed for PA online poker sites to appear. License holders prioritized sports betting and casinos as these have higher revenue than poker.
Poker sites need to reach a critical mass of players to offer a good enough choice of cash games and big guarantees for their tournaments. This naturally limits the number of successful rooms possible, and healthy market share is critical.
The biggest rooms in other regulated states are strong favorites to be the biggest and best in Pennsylvania. Here are the sites to check out:
Poker players worldwide consider the PokerStars desktop client and apps to be the best software around. This covers the speed and smoothness of the games – plus small factors like how easy it is to resize tables and the ability to upload your own pictures.
PokerStars partnered with Mount Airy Casino. They were the first online poker site to launch in Pennsylvania – and have exceeded expectations in popularity. Player pools are not shared with their New Jersey site for the time being, which will be the case for all PA online poker rooms until further notice.
There are two bonuses for new players:
Regular players will enjoy a novel loyalty program. Stars Rewards gives you chests as you play, these have prizes tailored to you – going up in value depending on the stakes you play.
Games at PokerStars include the usual mix of cash games, tournaments and sit & goes. This site has a fast-fold cash game called Zoom Poker, and a lottery sit & go format called ‘Spins’. Regular ‘PACOOP’ (Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker) events feature big prize tournaments – the highlight of a busy tournament schedule. They also run a number of other exciting tournament series that come with hefty guarantees.
Party Poker is the biggest rival to PokerStars. This site is owned by gambling giant GVC, which has a national deal with MGM. Valley Forge Casino will supply licenses for GVC.
Once live, PA poker players should receive $25 simply for signing up. This bonus comes in two parts:
If you like what you find, then you can get a 100% matched welcome bonus on your first deposit up to $1000 max. Promotions include leaderboards, reload bonuses and a loyalty points program.
In addition to the packed list of cash games, tournaments and sit & goes, you can now play ‘Fast Forward’ poker at Party. This is a fast-fold format, where players are moved to a new hand as soon as the current hand is folded.
The partypoker software has been completely revamped since they were last available in the US. You will find smartphone apps and desktop downloads for both Windows and Mac devices. At launch, games will only be against other players from PA. In time it is hoped that the shared player pools will expand to cover Pennsylvania – allowing games against other partypoker players from other states.
WSOP is short for ‘World Series of Poker’. This brand is owned by Caesars Entertainment – owners of the iconic Harrah’s Casino in PA. There are active WSOP.com poker sites in both Nevada and New Jersey – and soon, Pennsylvania.
Software for this site is powered by 888 Poker, offering both an app and a downloadable desktop version.
There are some generous bonuses for new players at WSOP Pennsylvania:
You can clear your bonus by collecting points in the real money games. WSOP have satellite qualifiers to the World Series events – as well as online poker promotions. Look out for new poker formats including ‘Blast’ lottery Sit and Goes, alongside the usual mix of NL Hold’em and PLO cash games and tournaments.
For online casinos and sportsbooks, you’ll normally access the website to enjoy gambling. Poker sites are different. Most players prefer to download a desktop software client to access the games. This gives you all the game types, and the ability to comfortably multi-table (play more than one table at a time). It also ensures the games are stable. Avoiding the client crashing just as you get dealt pocket aces is important.
PokerStars PA launched with both an Android and an iOS app available.
When you access the PA poker rooms, you will find four main poker formats. Which are available (and have games running) will depend on the size of the player pool at each site.
Here are the main formats:
At international sites, there are a lot of poker variations to enjoy. The smaller player pools in Pennsylvania will mean that only No-Limit Hold’em and some Omaha variations like PLO and PLO8 will be available. If PA joins a wider group of state sites then Stud, Draw, and mixed games could become available.
If you have only ever enjoyed poker on free to play apps, you will need to read up on strategy before you jump into the real money games. There is a huge difference in skill level as soon as real money is on the line.
The online poker rooms in Pennsylvania have options to enjoy play-money only tables. These can help you get to know the different types of poker game and how the betting rounds work. At PokerStars, the Home Games function lets you create private tables for your friends and colleagues. You can even play them with friends outside of PA, as long as they are for play money.
You can try out real money poker games at some sites without making a deposit. Party Poker should offer $10 in cash plus $15 in tournament entry tokens just for signing up. Other sites like PokerStars give you tokens worth $30 for just a small deposit.
To get off to a solid start at the real money poker tables, it is worth starting off at smaller buy-in levels than you would play in a live setting. This will give you a chance to assess the skill levels of your opponents and make sure you can beat the games before you move up to higher buy-ins.
The online poker sites which have the most players in PA will have a huge advantage over competitors. PokerStars got a leg up on the competition as the first to market and exceeded expectations right away, taking in nearly $2 million in rake and tournament fees in its first month back in November.
As the number of players grows, bigger tournaments, better promotions, and a wider choice of cash games become available. This has the effect of attracting more players. Currently, PokerStars PA offers a choice of two welcome bonuses, namely $30 free if deposit $20 using marketing code FREE30, or a 100% bonus match up to $600 using marketing code STARS600, not both though.
Once more online poker rooms go live in Pennsylvania, there will be fierce competition for new players. You can take advantage of this by getting your bankroll off to a great start thanks to the sites’ big marketing budgets and generous bonus offers.
Based on poker rooms in other regulated states, here is what to expect:
Depending on the brand, you might also be offered crossover promotions for the different gambling verticals.
Sports betting and casino games are well established in Pennsylvania, with many of the license holders for poker involved in all three industries. For example, players can now sign up for Fox Bet online sports betting and also access the PokerStars PA online poker and online casino verticals.
With poker being a skill game, more players will withdraw money than the other gambling verticals. You’ll have a lot of choices for how to get your money on board and your profits back off again.
While not all the online poker rooms will have all of the methods listed, the deposit methods below are the most commonly accepted.
For now, PA poker games are ring-fenced. This means that tables will not be shared with poker players from other regulated states like New Jersey and Nevada.
Three major international brands already partnered with Pennsylvania casinos, with only PokerStars and Mount Airy Casino live with their online poker product. More announcements are expected soon to clarify plans for online poker.
This is the full list of the PA casinos which have licenses to open online poker rooms:
|Poker Site||Casino Partner||Software||Status||Bonus|
|PokerStars||Mount Airy Casino Resort||PokerStars||Live||$30 Free|
|PartyPoker PA||Valley Forge Casino||PartyPoker||Approved||TBD|
|SugarHouse||Rivers Philadelphia||Rush Street||Approved||TBD|
|Penn National||Hollywood Casino||IGT||Approved||TBD|
|Parx Casino||Parx Casino||GAN/Kambi||Approved||TBD|
|Wind Creek Casino||Wind Creek Casino||TBD||Approved||TBD|
There are 10 live poker rooms in Pennsylvania. They are:
Yes, online poker became legal as part of the gambling expansion act of 2017. Sites are licensed under existing B&M casinos. They are under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board.
You need to be 21 or over, and inside state lines to play online poker in Pennsylvania. Note that there is no requirement to be a permanent resident of the Keystone State.
PokerStars PA has fully launched in Pennsylvania.
No, the player pools at PA poker rooms are ring-fenced. You will only play against others from inside state lines. The state has the option to compact with other states eventually, but likely won’t pursue shared liquidity until the ongoing DOJ and NH Lottery Wire Act court case is resolved.
No, geolocation technology will only allow you to play if you are inside state lines. If there is any doubt, or location masking technology (for example a VPN) is detected, you will not be able to play. If caught, you stand the chance of having funds confiscated and your account banned.
Cash games, tournaments, and Sit & Gos are all available. Formats like fast-fold poker should get added at some point as well.
Texas Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha will be the main game formats available.
Yes. All sites will need to demonstrate the integrity of their random number generator (RNG) software, which controls the shuffle of cards. Despite many rumors to the contrary, there has never been any mathematical evidence that the deal at major sites are rigged. They are overseen by PGCB and subject to rigid testing and regulations to ensure the product is nothing but fair.