2019 Guide To America’s Best Poker States

Bart Shirley January 10, 2019 2463 Reads
US Poker Guide

As we enter a brand new year, it’s important to take stock of the poker scene in various hotspots around the country. Here is USPoker’s 2019 guide to America’s best poker states.

The year 2018 was up and down for poker. On the bright side, the 2018 edition of the World Series of Poker Main Event drew the second-largest field in history, with 7,874 souls competing for the game’s grandest prize. This turnout indicated that poker may be trending a bit upward.

However, poker is not without some concerns. There have been room closures, and poker revenue in New Jersey already pales in comparison to the nascent sports betting market.

Below is our guide to the situations in some of America’s best poker states. Please note, however, that this list is not meant to be exhaustive.

Poker rooms exist in almost every state and region of the country. However, these six areas seem to have the most activity right now.

One thing to note is that online poker does not necessarily follow behind live poker juggernaut states. For instance, Delaware, which does not appear in the list below, has online poker available for its residents. West Virginia will likely join the First State in that fraternity soon, too.

California

California, at least in terms of sheer numbers, is the most active poker state in the US. The Golden State boasts more cardrooms and tables than most other states combined.

In addition to the dedicated cardrooms in the state, there are also many tribal casinos that offer poker. Roughly 20 of the Native American venues in California have a poker room.

  • Number of cardrooms: 88
  • Total number of tables: 1,986

Notable cardrooms

  • Bay 101
  • Casino M8trix
  • Club One Casino
  • Commerce Casino
  • Hawaiian Gardens Casino
  • Hustler Casino
  • Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady Casino
  • Lucky Chances Casino
  • Ocean’s Eleven Casino
  • The Bicycle Hotel & Casino

Notable upcoming tournaments*

  • Player Appreciation Series  Hustler Casino
  • WPT Gardens Poker Championships  Hawaiian Gardens Casino
  • WSOP Circuit-Los Angeles  The Bicycle Hotel & Casino
  • WSOP Circuit-Sacramento  Thunder Valley Casino Resort
  • WPT LA Poker Classic  Commerce Casino
  • WPT Rolling Thunder  Thunder Valley Casino Resort
  • Shooting Star  Bay 101
  • WPTDeepStacks Sacramento  Thunder Valley Casino Resort
  • Card Player Poker Tour VII  Ocean’s Eleven

Florida

In the past two decades, Florida has become one of America’s best poker states. The Sunshine State is now quite the destination for poker players that live east of the Mississippi River.

Interestingly, out of roughly 30 poker rooms in Florida, there are few small-time operations. Almost every room contains at least 10 tables, and many have more than 20 available for play.

  • Number of cardrooms: 29
  • Total number of tables: 934

Notable cardrooms

  • bestbet Jacksonville
  • bestbet Orange Park
  • Derby Lane Poker Room
  • Seminole Hard Rock Tampa
  • Palm Beach Kennel Club
  • Melbourne Greyhound Park
  • Daytona Beach and Racing Card Club
  • Big Easy Casino
  • Hialeah Park Casino
  • Isle Casino Pompano Park
  • Miccosukee Resort
  • Orange City Racing and Card Club
  • Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Racing & Poker Room
  • One-Eyed Jacks at Sarasota Kennel Club

Notable upcoming tournaments*

  • Lucky Hearts Poker Open — Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood
  • New Year Accumulator Series — Derby Lane Poker Room
  • bestbet Winter Open — bestbet Jacksonville
  • WSOP Circuit-South Florida (Winter) — Seminole Coconut Creek

Michigan

Michigan is perhaps not the first state to come to mind regarding poker. However, the Great Lakes State is a top destination to play the game.

In fact, the number of cardrooms in the Detroit area alone nearly surpasses the entirety of Florida’s offering. Despite a recent hiccup at the governor’s desk, it seems that the public’s appetite for gaming in Michigan remains alive and healthy.

  • Number of cardrooms: 40
  • Total number of tables: 330

Notable cardrooms

  • Greektown Casino
  • Hollywood Casino Toledo
  • MGM Grand Detroit
  • Motor City Casino
  • FireKeepers Casino
  • Gun Lake Casino
  • Soaring Eagle Casino

Notable upcoming tournaments*

  • MSPT $1,000,000 Guarantee (May 16-19, 2019)  FireKeepers Casino 
  • Canadian Pot Limit Omaha Championship — Caesars Windsor

Play Online Poker for Real Cash Prizes – US Players Accepted

Online poker

Online poker was part of the series of bills that crashed into Gov. Snyder’s veto a few weeks ago. So, while online poker seems relatively imminent in Michigan, its timeframe is less than clear.

Nevada

Even if other states surpass Nevada in terms of table numbers or cardrooms, none are likely to do so in terms of prestige. Accordingly, Nevada remains the home of the world’s most famous poker tournament and the center of the poker universe.

Surprisingly, recent reports from the state indicate that the Silver State continues to decline in its poker offerings. In fact, five poker rooms in Las Vegas itself shut their doors in 2018, including at an MGM property on the Las Vegas Strip, Treasure Island.

Nevertheless, a trip into the desert is the poker equivalent of a bird returning to roost. So, the list of notable cardrooms should hold few surprises for fans of the game.

  • Number of cardrooms: 56
  • Total number of tables: 558

Notable cardrooms

  • Bellagio Resort & Casino
  • Aria Resort & Casino
  • Venetian Casino
  • Wynn Las Vegas
  • Orleans Casino
  • Green Valley Ranch Casino
  • Harvey’s Lake Tahoe
  • Peppermill Casino

Notable upcoming tournaments*

  • World Series of Poker — Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino
  • WSOP Circuit — Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
  • WSOP Circuit — Harvey’s Lake Tahoe
  • DeepStack Extravaganza (NYE) — Venetian Casino
  • Poker Masters — Aria Resort & Casino
  • Wynn Poker Classic — Wynn Resort and Casino
  • Wynn Signature Series — Wynn Resort and Casino
  • WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic — Bellagio Resort & Casino
  • WPT Aria Summer Championship — Aria Resort & Casino

Online poker

Nevada is also one of the few states in the country that has active online poker. The only legal site available in the state is WSOP.com NV.

Thankfully, Nevada pools its players with New Jersey and Delaware. So, table selection and tournament fields are better than a single state’s worth of players.

New Jersey

New Jersey‘s live poker scene is an example of quality over quantity. Specifically, no other key poker state has less than ten cardrooms available for play.

However, the tournament scene and reputation that the Garden State possesses makes it impossible to ignore as a poker destination. The fact that New Jersey is one of the few locations outside Nevada with online poker also preserves the state’s place in the poker lexicon.

  • Number of cardrooms: 6
  • Total number of tables: 203

Notable cardrooms

Notable upcoming tournaments*

  • WSOP Circuit — Harrah’s Atlantic City
  • WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open — Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
  • Borgata Poker Open — Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

Online poker

New Jersey is the most prominent state for online poker in the country. Its market is sufficient to sustain four separate networks. They are:

  • WSOP NJ/888 Poker
  • partypoker NJ/playmgm/Borgata
  • PokerStars NJ
  • Pala Poker

Of the four, PokerStars NJ is clearly the class of the bunch. The market leader has improved the table selection and possibilities for events in the Garden State, which is a positive for its players.

However, it has done so at the expense of its three competitors, which are all struggling to make ends meet, at this point. The juice for New Jersey gambling has clearly shifted towards sports betting, and poker is sadly becoming more of an afterthought.

Still, there can be no denying that New Jersey is the location for American online poker right now.

Pennsylvania

Much like Florida, most of Pennsylvania‘s cardrooms have a sizeable number of tables. Impressively, all of the state’s rooms feature at least 10 tables, and some of them offer more than 50 playing options.

There are also several poker rooms in casinos located just across state lines in West Virginia and Delaware. While those facilities aren’t reflected in the list below, the rooms are nonetheless viable options for players in Pennsylvania who want a change of scenery.

  • Number of cardrooms: 9
  • Total number of tables: 235

Notable cardrooms

  • Parx Casino
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia
  • Sands Bethlehem
  • SugarHouse Casino
  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh

Notable upcoming tournaments*

  • WPTDeepStacks Big Stax May ’19 — Parx Casino
  • HPT Meadows — The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Online poker

Online poker in Pennsylvania is not a thing quite yet. All signs point to its debut happening soon, however.

In fact, the best industry estimate is that the Keystone State will kick things off sometime in the next couple of months. In total, there are ten different entities that have applied for poker licenses and could potentially have sites. They are:

  • Parx Casino
  • Stadium Casino
  • Mount Airy
  • Sands Bethlehem
  • Hollywood Casino
  • Valley Forge
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia
  • SugarHouse Casino
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono
  • MGM (using Borgata license from New Jersey)

Of the ten, six will probably launch sometime in early 2019. Online Poker Report estimates that Parx, Mount Airy, Harrah’s, SugarHouse, Valley Forge, and Hollywood will go live in the next few months.

Pennsylvania is also quite likely to join the tri-state compact that pools players from Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. The addition of the Keystone State will be a shot in the arm for all networks involved.

So, stay tuned for developments in Pennsylvania. They’re coming soon.

*Please note that the list of upcoming tournaments reflects the known and scheduled events as of January 2019. Certainly, there will be more notable events coming up in these great poker locations in 2019.

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