With a thriving live poker scene in Florida, it may be surprising to learn that the state hasn’t legalized online poker yet. Florida has numerous popular poker rooms but is still struggling to gain traction for real money online poker.
As one of the most populated US states, adding Florida to the list of legal US online poker states would be a game changer. With 21.5 million people, Florida would be a massive addition and a huge part of an interstate compact – especially if it eventually grows to include online poker in Texas or online poker in California.
How far is Florida from actually having legal online poker? While there are numerous casinos and live poker rooms in the state, steps toward any form of online gaming haven’t yielded any results yet. But poker overall has boomed since the state upped betting limits to $100.
Best Florida Online Poker Sites
Can You Play Online Poker for Real Money in Florida?
Watch our video below for a quick run-through of your online poker options in Florida.
With no state-licensed options as of 2020, your next best option for online poker in Florida is Global Poker. Global Poker is a sweepstakes poker site that operates legally through sweepstakes licensing, which we’ll explain more below.
At Global Poker you can play for both play money (Gold Coins) or what are called “Sweeps Coins,” which can ultimately be exchanged for cash prizes.
Sweeps Coins are allocated when you buy sets of Gold Coins, and then can be used for specific “SC” tournaments and ring games.
What games can you play at Global Poker?
In 2020, Global Poker saw major expansion. Players stuck at home flocked to the site for some poker action. That included major tournament series series including:
Numerous satellites and buy-in ranges are offered during its major tournament series. Some of those series even included added promotions, such as an opportunity to represent the brand at a live tournament event.
Many festivals also include a season-ending Tournament of Champions plus impressive trophies for every winner. Players can also expect big guarantees during these tournament series.
For example, the 2020 Summer Series featured a guarantee of SC2,135,000. That’s a huge amount paid out to players and that guarantee was beaten – attracting more than 18,000 players and paying out SC2,270,000. That was a nice extra SC135,000 paid out.
Sweepstakes Poker for Cash Prizes
Until traditional, real-money online poker is legal in Florida sweepstakes poker can be a great alternative. Global Poker is the largest and most trusted brand offering it. The platform is offered in both the US (excl. WA) and Canada (excl. Quebec) and owned by VGW Holdings Limited. VGW also owns and operates two popular sweepstakes casinos—LuckyLand Slots and Chumba Casino.
Games are licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority so players can expect safety and security. As mentioned you can make use of a free-to-play virtual currency called Gold Coins or use Sweeps Coins. Players using either form of currency can compete in:
- Ring games
- Tournaments (SnGs, MTTs)
- Jackpot Sit & Go’s
- Bounty tournaments
- Major tournament series
As for game variety you can expect to find plenty of:
- Texas Hold’em ring games & tournaments
- Crazy Pineapple
If you purchase additional Gold Coins you’ll receive the added virtual currency known as Sweeps Coins. These are used in separate Sweeps Coin ring games, sit & go’s, tournaments, and live tournament series with major guarantees.
The great thing about Sweeps Coins is that they can be exchanged for cash prizes and gift cards. Win a big tournament? Head to the cashier to send some of those winnings to your player account.
Global Poker app & free no purchase bonus
Global Poker doesn’t have a dedicated app but uses a clean and simple browser-based platform that makes playing from anywhere a simple process after logging in. That includes playing on your phone.
Signing up and playing is easy with Gold Coin purchases made very quickly and easily. The unique sweepstakes format gives players the chance to use any major credit card or common online poker payment methods like PayPal.
Collect your free no purchase poker bonus and start playing via the link below:
How to Play Free Online Poker in Florida
Beyond Global Poker, there is another option to play free online poker in Florida. Real money poker sites, (which you can find legally in five current legalized states: New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Delaware), also offer play money games and tournaments which you can access for free
Most famous among them, of course, is international poker juggernaut PokerStars, which currently offers real money poker games in New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Poker players in Florida won’t be able to access any real money games but can download and play free games from the PokerStars.net client. The PokerStars software is widely considered the best in the business and makes it very easy for primarily live players to transition to online fairly seamlessly.
PokerStars also has some unique features that make it particularly appealing for playing free games online. That includes its Home Games option. If you’re among the thousands of poker players forced to find an alternative to a weekly live home game during the pandemic, you can set up your very own league and tournaments to play online poker with friends.
Other major online poker site brands, including partypoker, World Series of Poker (WSOP) and 888poker, offer similar free-to-play platforms. If the software is available in Florida, players can create an account at these sites and play free games at home or on their phone.
If you have an account at a licensed online poker site and travel to any legal online poker state (NJ, PA, NV, MI DE; soon to be WV), you can switch over to real-money poker as easily as making a deposit and jumping into any game.
Online poker with friends in Florida
As mentioned above PokerStars also offers the opportunity to play free online poker with friends. The Home Games feature allows a group of friends to get together for some poker action online at the .NET site.
Setting up a poker club is simple. After setting up an account, log into PokerStars.net and look to the right side of the lobby. Click on the three buttons at the bottom giving you more options.
Once selected, click on “Home Games” and then on the option to create a poker club. Give the club a name and create the invitation code for players you want to invite. This is a password so other players can join the club.
The new poker club is now ready for players to join and start playing with friends. Invite your friends with the name of the club and invitation code.
PokerStars will send you an invitation via email making it easy to forward to other players. As club manager, there’s one added step – you’ll then need to approve players once they’ve joined.
At PokerStars Home Games, you can also personalize your club with different colors and images. When players are approved and ready to hit the table, the club manager can schedule tournaments and cash games. In cash games, you can also set the table stakes.
A nice feature on PokerStars Home Games is that you and your friends can play a wide variety of games beyond Texas Hold’em – from Seven Card Stud to Badugi to Eight-Game Mix. These games are also available for cash games and you can customize your own settings including:
- Number of seats per table
- Game type (regular, rebuy, knockout)
- Blind levels
- Game speed
PokerStars has gone the extra mile in the Home Games feature. Club managers can make announcements on the club site, set up leaderboards, track event results, and more. PokerStars Home Games can make for a fun and easy way to gather at the online tables.
Casino and Online Poker Partnerships in Florida
So far, as mentioned, real money online poker and real money online casino games haven’t been legalized in Florida. Players will have to wait a bit to see any movement on the legalization front.
If any future were modeled after legislation in other states, expect to see some casino properties in the state partner up with some major operators. Major players like those mentioned above – PokerStars, WSOP.com, partypoker, and 888poker – would be interested in such a large poker market.
Seminole Hard Rock is a likely casino partner for online poker sites as is bestbet Jacksonville.
Which poker sites are illegal in Florida?
Since Black Friday, when the Department of Justice shut down and seized a few major offshore poker sites, there are still some illegal, offshore sites offering online poker to players in the US. This isn’t legal, however, and these companies are operating outside legal jurisdictions without facing regulations that legal US sites face.
Slow payouts and missing funds are frequent complaints at sites like this. Legal, real-money online poker and casino operations in the US must undergo licensing and approval by state gaming commissions.
This ensures player funds are secure and you can be assured of a safe and fair online poker site. Offshore sites don’t face the same level of scrutiny and licensing that legal American sites undergo.
Until Florida becomes a legal state, play-money online poker at real-money sites remains an option for players.
Online Poker Bonuses in Florida
One of the best things about playing legal online poker in the US is that poker sites go out of their way to reward new players. This can include free money simply for creating an account.
For those looking to jump in the action and claim what’s known as a no purchase bonus at Global Poker, the sign-up process is simple. Players will need to provide some basic information like:
- Phone number
You may also be asked to provide a copy of your driver’s license or some other legal identification for security reasons. Once that’s complete, you’re ready to go. You can begin playing for Gold Coins to get a feel for the platform. If you’re ready to add some Sweeps Coins to the mix, simply head to the cashier to purchase additional Gold Coins and you’ll receive some Sweeps Coins as a bonus. USPoker’s exclusive bonus package at Global Poker includes:
Florida Live Poker Rooms
While no casino properties have partnered with any online operators, there are many live poker rooms in the state. The state has a vibrant poker scene with numerous options. Here’s a look at some of those:
Miami, Fort Lauderdale, South Florida area
- Seminole Hard Rock (Hollywood) – This property unveiled a completely new room in 2020, complete with a nice rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Players will find a great atmosphere with 37 tables. The property hosts major series from the WPT.
- Seminole Coconut Creek (Pompano Beach) – Nice room with 23 tables and nice weekly tournaments.
- Miccosukee Resort (Miami) – Small but busy room with five tables.
- Magic City Casino (Miami) –19-table room with plenty of promotions and considered one of the best in the Miami area.
- Casino Miami Jai-Lai (Miami) – Newly redesigned room with 12 tables and numerous games spread.
- Hialeah Park Casino (Hialeah) – A nice South Florida room with 33 tables.
- Gulfstream Park (Hallandale) – 20-table room with regular tournaments and promotions.
- Big Easy Casino (Hallandale) – Plenty of action in this 30-table room including regular freerolls.
- The Casino at Dania Beach (Dania) – Find regular action and tournaments with 21 tables.
- Isle Casino Pompano Park (Pompano Beach) – Big 38-table room with nice comps and an excellent environment – one of South Florida’s best.
- Palm Beach Kennel Club (West Palm Beach) – Huge 64-table facility that regularly hosts mid-tier tournament series.
- Casino Fort Pierce (Fort Pierce) – Further north than the others listed here, 25 tables with several games spread.
Jacksonville and North Florida
- bestbet (Jacksonville) – Excellent room and environment with 70 tables. Numerous cash games and major tournament serie including the regular WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble.
- bestbet (Orange Park) – Large poker room with 37 tables with plenty of cash game action and tournaments.
- Creek Entertainment Gretna (Gretna) – Well-regarded room with 26 tables. Nice action with regular tournaments.
- Ebro Poker Room (Ebro) – Excellent room with 25 tables and friendly staff. Nice game selection and tournaments.
- Pensacola Greyhound Park (Pensacola) – Plenty of promotions, tournaments, and satellites in this 25-table room.
Orlando and Central Florida
- Ocala Gainesville Poker (Ocala) – Nice tournament schedule with 14 tables of action and nice ambience.
- Oxford Downs (Summerfield) – Enjoyable room with 24 tables and friendly dealing staff.
- Daytona Racing and Card Club (Daytona Beach) – Plenty of regular tournaments, friendly dealers, and a nice overall feel with 55 tables.
- Orange City Racing and Card Club (Orange City) – Regular promotions and nice tournaments, 33 tables.
- Club 52 at Melbourne Greyhound Park (Melbourne) – Decent room, 40 tables and plenty of $1/$2 and $5/$10 action.
Tampa and West Florida
- Naples-Fort Myers Poker Room (Bonita Springs) – Big promotions and tournaments all week long at this 34-table property.
- Derby Lane Poker Room (St. Petersburg) – Decent lower-stakes action and action with 55 tables.
- One-Eyed Jacks (Sarasota) – Plenty of lower-stakes action with nice tournaments and promotions, 35 tables in a comfortable environment.
- Silks at Tampa Bay Downs (Tampa) – Decent 35-table room with plenty of cash game action and daily tournament. Nice food options.
- TGT Poker and Racebook – Small but friendly and well-regarded room with 10 tables. Lots of unique promotions and great atmosphere.
- Seminole Hard Rock (Tampa) – Nice reviewed room with 46 tables and some heftier buy-in tournaments. Dealers and management earn high marks.
Florida Online Poker FAQ
Is online poker legal in Florida?
Currently, online poker isn’t technically against the law. There has been some movement in recent years to give players some hope. However, Florida online poker legalization may be a few years off.
In 2020, the legislature seemed to be considering online sports betting, but the session ended in March without any agreement. That also didn’t include online poker, but that could at least offer some headway in legalizing online gaming in general.
Threading the needle in Florida won’t be easy and there are numerous obstacles. In 2018, voters also approved Amendment 3, which made any expansion of gambling go to a statewide vote.
The Seminole tribe plays a major role in the state with six casinos including in the Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale area and Tampa. The tribe’s exclusive compact with the state would also have to be renegotiated. The legislature has considered plans allowing the tribe to expand its own gaming footprint with craps and roulette. The plan would also grant the tribe exclusive rights to online sports betting.
In turn, the tribe would pay $500 million in the first year of the agreement. That could move to about $700 million in annual payments in subsequent years. News reports note that the Seminoles are also seeking online gaming as part of a deal. Getting any deal done would be difficult. There’s no certainty poker would be in the mix but if it were legal that seems likely considering the Seminole has a large live poker footprint in the state.
Seminole casinos host several major series throughout the year including big events from the World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker Circuit. Any online poker legalization would more than likely mean the Seminole would offer some sort of online presence. And while the online sports betting legislations may have been on the backburner as of July 2020, not all legislators were giving up hope.
“Certainly, if something was done that everyone could agree upon, I would not be against a special session, if we could finally get this behind us,” House Speaker José Oliva told the Miami Herald. “But if not, there’s a lot of details we can work out for future Legislatures. There’s a lot of work we can do now, for them.”
When will it be legal to play online poker in Florida?
There is no date at this point as the state legislature hasn’t enacted a bill legalizing online gaming. As of 2021, there had been some talk of legalizing sports betting, including via online and mobile, but that has yet to come to fruition. Adding online wagering gives players in the state some hope.
Can I play on PokerStars in Florida?
Florida poker players can only use the PokerStars .NET platform for free play at this time because online poker isn’t legal in the state. This play site, however, offers players an option to play PokerStars Home Games with friends, as outlined above.
What happens if I try to use a VPN to play online in another state?
The use of VPNs to play on regulated international sites isn’t recommended. If discovered, a player can have any funds won confiscated.
You will be removed and recovering player funds may be an uncertainty. There also may be banking issues regarding using these sites from an unregulated jurisdiction.
What happens if I play on an illegal poker site?
Playing at an unregulated, offshore site isn’t legal in the US. These sites also don’t face the same regulations and laws as those in legal jurisdictions. When using these sites, security is always an issue. Many players have struggled at withdrawing money and recovering player funds when they fold.
Where do Florida poker pros play online poker?
Global Poker remains the best option for playing legal online poker in the state although very few, if any, poker pro find their online action there. Games are very low stakes and generally not worth the effort for serious poker professionals. This sweepstakes, social gaming-based site does, however, provide, recreational players the chance to player traditional poker for real money. It’s a great browser-based alternative to traditional real-money online poker.