Online poker games are going on right now and are completely legal in Pennsylvania. They offer a chance to practice your gambling skills and to win big.
Best Online Poker Casinos In Pennsylvania
Unlike slots, for example, poker games are a gambling opportunity where skill matters. The house does take a small percentage of the pot in a cash game, or an entry fee in a tournament. But if your poker skills are good, then you will have a better chance of winning.
Games are played against fellow poker players, not directly against the house. Popular in the mid-2000s, poker is now making a comeback online.
One of the key states in that comeback is Pennsylvania, which legalized online poker in 2017 and saw its first iPoker games begin two years later.
Is PA online poker a game of skill?
Yes. While you can’t choose your cards, making the right decisions will make you more likely to win money in the long term.
Serious poker players improve their skills through practice. By learning about all the different kinds of hands, and their opponents, they can make educated decisions. Of course, the key to the cards is to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.
In comparison to other casino games, poker is undoubtedly the most skill based. Sports betting is another game where skill is involved, but nothing is quite like peer-to-peer poker because you aren’t playing against the house — you are competing against another human.
There’s long been debates on how much skill and how much luck is in poker, and that debate will always continue. It’s impossible to say, and it ultimately depends on your playing style and the ability level of your opponents.
The least skilled player at an online poker table can win — even big. Any (under)dog can have his or her day. But over the long run skill begins to become more of an overwhelming factor in poker.
The best player at the table can experience a downswing where they lose and lose, but if they are truly better than their opponents, that downswing won’t last and they will eventually start winning again.
As far as which traits in poker contribute to the skill component of the game, that is hard to say. One of the most widely credit poker traits that increases your skill level is patience. You don’t have to play every hand you are dealt.
Real-money PA online poker sites
There are several popular real-money regulated poker sites in Pennsylvania. Some of the top online poker brands in the U.S. and abroad cater to Pennsylvania poker players, so people in the state should feel fortunate to have such options.
Each real-money online poker site in the state is regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, so all the games are fair and secure.
- PokerStars: Launched in 2001 and owned by The Stars Group. Offers Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS platforms. It is the largest online poker site in the world.
- BetMGM Poker: Launched in 2020 in PA and run by MGM Resorts International. Linked to the Hollywood Casino in PA. Players can deposit and withdraw cash there.
- Borgata Poker: Launched in PA in 2021 and run by MGM Resorts International. Linked to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. Players can deposit and withdraw cash there.
- WSOP.com: Owned by Caesars Interactive Entertainment. Geared primarily towards tournament poker. WSOP stands for the World Series of Poker, and it has run poker tournaments in Las Vegas since 1970.
Free social online poker sites in PA
Real-money online poker sites aren’t the only options for people living in or visiting the state of Pennsylvania.
Global Poker is the leading free online social poker site in Pennsylvania. Global Poker offers tournaments, prizes, weekly poker bonuses in PA, and a global poker championship. It also provides free online poker lessons for beginners.
Global Poker is free to play for residents of Pennsylvania.
By being a sweepstakes online poker site, you don’t deposit real money into Global Poker. That said, you can purchase online chips to play with and redeem them for real cash prizes.
Nothing beats a real-money site, but Global Poker allows people to play with less risk.
Who can play online poker in Pennsylvania?
Anyone over 21 years of age and physically present in the state can play online poker in Pennsylvania. You do not need to be a resident.
To prove that you are physically present in Pennsylvania, you will have to download a plugin. This plugin will show your location to the online poker site.
To play on Global Poker, you only have to be 18.
PA online poker games
There are many variants of online poker, and we recommend trying them all out! It is hard to be an expert at all of the games, but with enough practice you can master every poker variant.
The most common variant is, of course, Texas hold’em, which is commonly seen on TV. However, poker is a much richer gaming experience than just hold’em. Virtually all variants, however, follow the same basic rules in terms of hand rankings.
Other popular poker variants include:
- Seven Card Stud
- Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight-or-Better
- Omaha (pot-limit, limit)
- Omaha Hi-Lo Eight-or-Better
- Five Card Draw
- Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw
- Deuce-to-Sevent Single Draw
- Eight Game Mix
Online poker cash games in Pennsylvania
One way to play poker online is in a cash game, also called a ring game. In a cash game, players exchange money for chips and play at one or more tables. Often there is a minimum and maximum buy-in.
Players can leave whenever they choose and cash out their chips.
The blinds do not increase in a cash game, unlike in a tournament. Cash games run around the clock, and you can play in one as long as the table as other players. When a player leaves, the online poker site tries to fill that seat as soon as possible. Sometimes cash game tables have waiting lists.
Cash games can have a varying maximum number of players. Online poker platforms typically have heads-up tables, as well as what are considered shorthanded tables of six players. Sometimes you can find a cash game with eight players maximum.
Usually, though, cash games are hold’em games with a maximum of nine players. This is often called a full-ring game.
Online poker tournaments in Pennsylvania
In a poker tournament, players compete against each other to win the top prize. There may be many tables running at the same time.
When a player runs out of chips, they are out of the game and cannot buy in again. Tournaments typically offer the most significant prize money since they pool money from many participants.
Some basic versions of online poker tournaments include:
- Freezeout: Participants buy-in with a certain number of chips, but once they run out, they are out of the game.
- Re-entry: Participants who run out of chips have the option of buying back into the game. The rules may vary- in some cases, a player may only buy back in a certain number of times, or perhaps only before a certain amount of time.
Real-money poker sites may have special marquee tournament festivals spaced out throughout the year. They may also have weekly tournaments.
Live poker rooms in Pennsylvania
Legal online poker in the Keystone State wouldn’t be here had it now been for the groundwork laid by the retail, brick-and-mortar poker rooms. These rooms have been around for many years, helping make Pennsylvania one of the largest live poker market states in the country.
The idea is that live poker and online poker can complement each other. For example, online poker rooms will have much lower stakes available than any live poker room has. Live poker rooms have stakes as low as $1-$2 hold’em, but an online poker room can offer games with blinds as low as pennies.
If you want to test your skills at a live poker table in one of Pennsylvania’s casinos, there is no better way to practice first than at a legal online poker site in the state. You can make and learn from your mistakes for much less money online.
Brick-and-mortar poker rooms in PA include:
- Hollywood Casino Penn National: 16 tables, opened 1972
- Mohegan Sun Pocono: 9 tables, opened 1965
- Parx Casino: 48 tables, opened 1974
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia: 28 tables, opened 2010
- The Meadows Racetrack & Casino: 14 tables, opened 1989
- Live! Casino Philadelphia: 29 tables, opened 2021
- Mount Airy Casino: 12 tables, opened 2007
- Presque Isle Downs: 7 tables, opened 2007
- Rivers Casino Pittsburgh: 30 tables, opened 2009
- Wind Creek Casino: 26 tables, opened 2009
Covid-19 and Pennsylvania poker
Although live poker can be done safely with masks and proper precautions, online poker is still 100% safe from COVID.
So long as you play on reputable sites, you won’t even get computer viruses, let alone lethal respiratory viruses.
Eventually, Covid-19 should be less of a concern, but for now you can be safer playing online.