Ever since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was overturned back in May 2018, it seems that it has had a cascade effect, impacting online casinos and online poker.
It was not until 2011 when The Wire Act’s scope was reduced to just sports betting. Before this, though, we saw free online poker as early as 1998 with Planet Poker.
Best Online Poker Casinos In West Virginia
Today, online poker is legal in a handful of states, though they vary in terms of the scale of operation. Online poker is all peer-to-peer.
This means that, unlike an online sportsbook or casino where you play against the house, you play against other real-life players. However, the companies hosting online poker take small percentages of pots and entry fees, similar to daily fantasy sports.
The entire iGaming industry is seeing a massive boost in popularity, and online poker is no exception. Here we will look at one of the states where online poker is legal, West Virginia.
Is West Virginia online poker a game of skill?
If there is one casino-style game that requires skill, it’s online poker. Going up against other players, you’re also, in some way, playing a game of chess. The object is to best your opponent based on your skill level.
Online poker is undoubtedly a particular game type which, with more and more practice, you can become an expert.
The key to understanding peer-to-peer poker is that it isn’t house-banked. What does that mean?
House-banked games, such as blackjack, have a built-in mathematical edge for the casino. Probability says you aren’t going to beat the casino over the long run in the game. And it’s worth remembering that blackjack is about as close to 50-50 as you can get in a casino.
But the casino wins in the long run in blackjack because of its small edge, an advantage that is there even if you play perfectly. Casinos do not allow any hint of card counting in blackjack because it can tip the scales in the favor of the player.
But, card counting aside, you can’t win in the long run at blackjack.
Poker is a different animal because the house simply takes a cut of the action between the human competitors. The fee is commonly referred to as the rake, and it is possible to play well enough to beat your opponents and the rake in the long run.
This is why professional poker players do exist, while you should be very skeptical of anyone who claims to make an income from any other casino gaming offering.
It’s up for debate what percentage of poker is luck and what percentage is skill, but it ultimately doesn’t matter. It’s both, of course, but the skill becomes the dominant factor when you have a large sample size of hands or playing sessions. The winners emerge.
Real-money West Virginia online poker sites 2023
While online poker is legal in West Virginia, there are no active online poker sites because of its tiny population. It became technically legal in 2019, but the state has been somewhat slow-moving in getting anything that’s not online sports betting off the ground.
Do not worry, however, as real-money online poker in the state is a matter of when, not if.
West Virginia’s population of about 1.8 million might sound like plenty in absolute terms, but when you cut that down to people over 21 and who are interested in poker, the state becomes less of a viable market on its own.
It would ideally link up with other states to form a larger online poker player pool.
With that said, once a framework is decided upon, expect online poker platforms to come to the state. There are some sites that we could expect to be the first movers: BetMGM and PokerStars.
PokerStars is one of the global leaders in online poker, and BetMGM has also made it part of their portfolio and is expanding rapidly in the online space.
However, if you still want to play online poker that is legal with the potential to make real money, you can also explore Global Poker—a totally free social poker room where you can compete for sweepstakes cash prizes.
Free sweepstakes online poker in WV
As mentioned, Global Poker is the go-to free social online poker site, not only in West Virginia but in the entire country (except Washington State).
To anyone aged 18 and over, Global Poker offers Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Bounty Poker, and multiple other types of poker games. Here, you will compete in tournaments for real prizes, but the gaming is dedicated to virtual currency.
Who can play online poker in West Virginia?
Once online poker becomes available in the state, players must be 21 years of age or older to play legally. The same goes for online casinos and sportsbooks.
The age of 21 is the commercial casino gambling age across the U.S., while 18 is the typical age for tribal casinos and sweepstakes online casinos.
It goes without saying but it could be important to remember: People of any gender, race, or background can play online poker.
Online poker variants offered
Texas Hold’em is one of the more well-known online poker variants. However, there are plenty of others players can enjoy. Right now, we could only speculate on what would be offered when real-money online poker comes to the state.
The likely online variants coming to West Virginia include:
- Texas Hold’em (no limit, limit)
- Seven Card Stud
- Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight-or-Better
- Omaha (pot-limit, limit)
- Five Card Omaha
- Omaha Hi-Lo Eight-or-Better
- Five Card Draw
- Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw
- Deuce-to-Seven Single Draw
- Eight Game Mix
Online poker cash games in West Virginia
With online poker, there are two types of games you’ll discover. These include cash games and tournaments. With cash games, you exchange money for chips with a minimum and maximum buy-in amount.
Another term for a cash game is “ring game.” The other popular perk about cash games is that you can choose to quit and exchange your chips for cash at any time.
With no real-money online poker platforms available in West Virginia, there are no cash games yet.
Online poker tournaments in West Virginia
Now for another type of online poker play—tournaments. While in cash games you exchange cash for chips with minimum and maximum buy-ins, tournaments feature the same buy-in for everyone, and everyone gets the same amount of chips.
With cash games, you can leave at any time, but it does not end with tournaments until one player has all of the chips.
Tournaments typically offer substantial cash payouts, allowing you to win huge amounts of money for a relatively low investment. However, tournaments are tougher to win. But when you do it will be worth your time and effort!
You’ll often see this game type promoted by large online poker entities, such as the World Series of Poker or PokerStars.
Types of online poker tournaments
Not all online poker tournaments are the same. The formats are pretty straightforward, but they can have substantial differences.
- Freezeout: These are the classic and traditional type of poker tournaments in which you buy-in just once and play until you are either out of chips or you are the person at the end with all the chips. The famed World Series of Poker main event is an example of a freezeout.
- Re-entry/Rebuy: Unlike a freezeout tournament, these tournaments allow you to get back into the game even after you’ve been knocked out or felted. Sometimes there’s a limit on the number of times you can re-enter, other times there is a time limit on when you can.
- Freeroll: These types of tournaments involve no buy-in, so you are playing for free, hence the name “freeroll." Online poker sites typically offer these for new and lesser experienced players in order to give away free money to help people start their bankrolls. The overall prize pools are relatively small, as the house is typically paying for it all.
- Satellites: These types of tournaments are designed to have you qualify for a larger or more expensive tournament. Sometimes satellites don’t play down to a sole winner because the top five, for example, finishers might all receive the buy-in for the next tournament.
- Bounty: You earn money or other benefits from eliminating players from the event, in addition to any prize money you are slated to receive based on your finishing in the event.