Pennsylvania Online Poker

Pennsylvania was the fourth US state to officially legalize online poker. Real money online poker arrived in 2019 when PokerStars officially soft launched its PA online poker site on Nov. 4.

Since that launch, poker players in PA have seen the lineup of tournaments and cash games expand, traffic grow and prize pools increase. The recent PA Spring Championship of Online Poker, for example, guaranteed $2 million across 96 tournaments but ultimately paid out over $3.1m in prize money.

The main event set the record for richest online poker tournament in PA history with a $368,200 prize pool.

Best online poker sites PA

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Latest Pennsylvania online poker news

Play Online Poker in PA

Pennsylvania legalized online poker (along with online casino games, sports betting, lottery and others) in October 2017. After PA online casinos and sports betting launched in July 2019, the only remaining gaming option yet to launch was poker. That changed on Nov. 4, 2019.

pokerstars pa tablePokerStars, through its partnership with Mount Airy Casino Resort, was the first poker site to launch in Pennsylvania. While PokerStars is the largest poker operator in the world with millions of players, you can only play against other poker players in PA for now – although an online compact among other legal US poker states is possible in the future.

Still, since its launch PokerStars PA has seen a surge of interest and PA online poker players will find:

  • An expanded weekly tournament schedule and boosted nightly guarantees
  • Increased cash game and tournament traffic
  • Lots of game variations including Hold’em, Omaha & 8-Game plus Sit & Go’s
  • Frequent promotions and bonuses

The bonus currently offered at PokerStars PA consists of either:

  • $30 free if deposit $20 using marketing code FREE30
  • Bonus match up to $600 using marketing code STARS600

Claim your PokerStars bonus and download the PokerStars PA software or app now right here:

WSOP, partypoker in PA’s Future?

While poker fans in the state may be hoping for the fast arrival of WSOP.com (and partner site 888poker.com), that has yet to happen. WSOP.com is owned by Caesars Entertainment, which owns Harrah’s Philadelphia.

party poker poker appHarrah’s Philadelphia has a 28-table live poker room already, which would make PA a likely launch spot for the online platform as well. As a provider of software for WSOP.com, 888poker may be a possibility as well as it also offers online poker in New Jersey and Delaware.

So far, partypoker only offers online poker in New Jersey. The company has been bullish on growth in recent years however. PA offers a large population and opportunity at expansion in the growing US market.

While some operators may have been out of the market, the global shutdown has shown the expanded opportunity available to offer more online poker platforms in PA. It’s a good bet another operator will move in to compete with PokerStars over the next year. That will offer even more possibilities for online poker growth in Pennsylvania and the player perks that come with added competition.

PokerStars PA (Mount Airy Casino Resort)

Mount Airy Casino isn’t a major live poker destination by any means—its nine-table poker room is the second smallest of the casinos which offer live poker in PA—but the casino enacted quite the coup by snagging a partnership with PokerStars for its online poker room.

With its debut in November 2019, PokerStars became the first real money online poker site in the state. The company still remained the only poker platform in the state as of Summer 2020.

PokerStars is the most popular online poker company in the world with millions of players on a daily basis. In Pennsylvania, the company operates a “fenced in” environment, meaning only those within PA are in its player pool. Despite the limitation, though, the company has been able to build nice cash game and tournament pools.

pennsylmania paAlong with its flagship tournament series, the Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker (PASCOOP), PokerStars PA continues to add more and more events. One recent example was the one-off PennsylMania event. The $250 buy-in event played out on May 17 with a guarantee of $250,000.

As of May 2020, PokerStars remains the only PA online poker operator. Player pools were averaging 800 players per day with 24-hour peaks as high as 1,800 players.

PokerStars also operates in New Jersey but both states, as mentioned, are “fenced in” markets meaning both operate markets where players compete with other players only within that state. With the Wire Act still in litigation, expanded interstate compacts are on hold for the time being but a shared player pool is the ultimate hope.

Along with PA, the company also has become the market leader of online poker in New Jersey. Its smooth software and recreational player-friendly bent has found similar success in Pennsylvania.

PokerStars PA Marketing Code

PokerStars players in PA can receive the same universal bonuses PokerStars players can access in NJ. Those bonuses are:

  • Deposit $20 and Get $30 free play
  • Marketing code: FREE30

The first bonus is paid out as:

  • $10 in cash within 36 hours
  • $10 after 7 days
  • 5 Spin & Go tickets worth $10 total

The up to $600 match bonus at 100% is accessed with the marketing code:

New players also get:

  • Free entry into a $5,000 depositor freeroll
  • 1 million in Play-Money chips

PokerStars PA Poker App

As PokerStars users around the world know well, the PokerStars software and poker app are the best of the best. Designed and implemented by poker players for poker players, the PokerStars platform is unmatched by its competitors.

pokerstars pa appThe options in Pennsylvania are no different. You’ll get all of the premium functionality and customization of the full PokerStars client as you’d find it in New Jersey and around the world. You can also download the slick and efficient PokerStars PA app for both iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Android.

While the fully downloadable desktop client has all the bells and whistles, the app isn’t far behind. Tournament and cash game lobbies, the cashier, game and player stats and your account details are all easily accessed and managed strictly via the app.

If it’s your first time downloading or logging in to the PokerStars app, you’ll find it easy to get the hang of. The opening vertical opening screen allows you to scroll through a center slide bar with numerous options. Navigating with a single finger is also easy.

You’ll find all the traditional PokerStars options like tournaments and cash games but also unique games, including Zoom Poker and Jackpot Spin & Gos perfect for app play.

Game play itself is smooth and glitch-free, from finding a table or event to betting and raising. Viewing your account and filtering cash games and tournaments for stakes and tables available is very user friendly.

The app is also aesthetically pleasing and not cluttered or cumbersome. Open the app and you’ll find the trademark PokerStars red, green, and blue color scheme. A menu bar at the bottom of the main screen makes navigating and moving between screens easy. You can even toggle between games if you want to do some multi-tabling.

PokerStars PA Tournaments

Since launching in November 2019, PokerStars has seen a surge in player demand and run several major tournament series. The PA Championship of Online Poker, for example, was so popular in its first run that the initial $1 million guarantee was boosted twice to $1.25 million. The series attracted more than 13,400 entries and paid out more than $1.5 million.

More recently the PokerStars PA Spring Championship of Online Poker played out over 96 events in April and paid out over $3.1 million. Overall PokerStars PA is seeing big turnouts and daily tournament traffic has regularly surpassed New Jersey since the first months of operation.

pokerstars bounty buildersTournament players will find no shortage of daily events to check out. There are events for every bankroll and taste – from traditional events to turbos to bounty events. Here’s a look at what to expect followed by a complete daily schedule:

The Daily Bigs – Players begin these daily freezeout events with 10,000 starting chips and 8-12 minute blind levels.

The Hot Turbos – These are fast-paced turbo events with 10,000 chips and 5-minute blind levels. Tournaments feature six or nine-handed tables.

Bounty Builders – Progressive Knockout tournaments that run daily with a cash bounty placed on all players. When you eliminate a player you also win a cash prize. Additionally, the bounty on your own head increases after knocking out another competitor. Players start with 10,000 starting chips with blind levels of 5-10 minutes, and most feature guaranteed prize pools.

Nightlies – These are traditional nightly events for those who enjoy staying up late and playing some cards.

Sunday Majors – These are the weekly major events on PokerStars PA featuring big guarantees.

PokerStars PA Daily Tournament Schedule

Event Buy-in Guarantee Time
DAILY BIGS
The Morning Big $10 $10 NA 10 am
The Big $15 $15 NA 1:30 pm
The Big $5 $5 NA 4 pm
The Big $10 $10 $1,000 6 pm
The Big $20 $20 $1,500 7 pm
HOT TURBOS
Lunchtime Hot $20 $20 NA 12:30 pm
The Hot $10 $10 NA 8:15 pm
The Hot $5 $5 NA 9:15 pm
The Hot $50 $50 NA 10:15 pm
The Hot $30 $30 NA 11:15 pm
BOUNTY BUILDERS
Bounty Builder $10 $10 NA 3 pm
Bounty Builder $20 $20 NA 9 pm
Bounty Builder $15 $15 NA 10:30 pm
NIGHTLIES
Nightly Stars $100 NA 7 pm
Moonlight Express (hyper-turbo) $20 NA midnight
SUNDAY MAJORS
Sunday Warm-Up $50 $8,500 4 pm
Sunday Storm $10 $4,500 5 pm
Sunday Special $200 $45,000 6 pm
Sunday High Roller $500 $15,000 7 pm
Sunday Supersonic $75 $5,000 10 pm

PokerStars Cash Games

No Limit Texas Hold’em remains the most popular online poker game at PokerStars PA. Plenty of action should be available with blinds starting at 1-2 cents and going up to $1-$2 during most hours of the day. Those stakes can increase during peak hours, and players will find six-max and full ring tables spread.

If you’re ready to get away from NLHE for a bit, look for Pot Limit Omaha and Pot Limit Omaha High/Low. Players can regularly find some action in these games with blinds from 1 cent to $1. Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud High/Low are also available in PA, but finding action is rare. There might be a game or two on the weekends.

PokerStars Sit & Go’s, Jackpot SnGs, Zoom Poker

Tournament players short on time may want to check out some other interesting options. From low rollers to high rollers these events allow for some fun and a chance to win some cash. All these events are also great on mobile devices.

PokerStars NJ spin & go promo

  • Sit & Go – These are single-table tournaments for players who may not have a ton of time on their hands, but enjoy some tournament action.
  • Jackpot Spin & Go – Three-person events in a winner-take-all format. A prize wheel spins before the tournament begins to determine the prize players will compete for. This ranges from twice your buy-in to much more.
  • Spin & Go Flash – These are even faster Spin & Go events with levels lasting only a minute and starting stacks of only 500 chips.
  • Spin & Go Max – Another fast-play option but this one has an even bigger twist. Players are all in once a certain number of hands have been played.

Cash game players may also want to check out Zoom Poker. This is a fast-fold poker game where the action is lightning quick and there’s no waiting after making a fold. Instead, players immediately “zoom” to another table with two new cards. This keeps you with constant action and always in a hand.

PA Poker Promotions / Bonuses

One of the things players at PokerStars have come to love are the regular promotions and rewards. From player rewards to unique events, you will find plenty of reasons to keep coming back. The platform tries to constantly up its game and offer some fun extras. Here’s a look at what players can expect:

Stars Rewards – This player rewards program is a bit different and tailors benefits to an individual player. You earn points every time you play a real money game. If you collect enough points to complete the progress bar, you’ll win a Chest loaded with rewards. These are specific to each player and geared toward events you’ll want to use.

Stars Rewards Showdown – This recent promotion rewarded players with Stars Chests containing two cards. Those could be used in a showdown where the best hand won varying prize amounts. Hit a royal flush and collect up to $2,500.

PokerStars Cardex – This fun promotion involved players being given a red or black card on a spinning device known as the Cardex. Those playing any No Limit Hold’em cash game have a shot at a mystery cash prize of up to $5,000. A player dealt his selected card in a game and then winning the hand progresses up a step. Players need to complete all five reels on the Cardex to receive a cash prize.

FoxBet and PokerStars Casino – Those in PA can also play casino games or bet on sports via the casino or sportsbook. The software client and app offer seamless integration to allow players to play some Blackjack or bet on the day’s sports action.

WSOP $10,000 Freeroll

When partypoker and WSOP.com launch in Pennsylvania, you can expect plenty of promotions from these operators as well. WSOP.com gets pretty creative with its promotions including regular Reload Bonuses.

Another recent promotion was the “Keep it 100” daily tournament. This $215 event featured a $100,000 guarantee and continued each day until the tournament didn’t meet that guarantee. WSOP.com also kicked in a $10,000 freeroll ticket for all those played.

How to Deposit and Play Online Poker in PA

Downloading the PokerStars client or app (or any of the other legal online poker platforms for that matter) is simple and only takes a few minutes. Once that’s completed, players can sign up. You can expect to provide information like:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Username
  • Password

Once that’s done, you can make a first deposit to get in on the action. New players will earn a Free $30 simply by depositing $20. Players will also earn a 100% Match Bonus of up to $600.

PokerStars and other legal, regulated operators make it quick, safe, and easy. Stars offers the following methods to fund an account:

  • Skrill – An ewallet that makes transactions simple.
  • PayPal – The popular ewallet allows for easy deposits and withdrawals.
  • Instant e-checks – Make a quick bank transfer using this method.
  • Visa/Mastercard – Use your credit or debit card to fund an account.
  • PayNearMe – This is a cash funding option available at thousands of retail outlets around the country including 7-11.

Players looking to make a cashout request will also find this a simple process via the Cashier section on the desktop client or mobile app. Players using Skrill, PayPal, or instant e-checks can have money sent directly back to those accounts.

PA Online Poker – Real money poker sites in Pennsylvania

There are seven PA casinos with permits in hand to offer online poker so it’s just a matter of the other operators getting their poker sites and poker apps ready for release. Among the others expected to launch alongside PokerStars soon are:

  • Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia (WSOP/888)
  • Valley Forge Casino Resort (partypoker)
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
  • Parx Casino
  • Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino Resort (Formerly Sands)
  • Rivers Casino (Formerly SugarHouse)

All have received conditional approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to proceed with interactive gaming. All except one casino (Sands Bethlehem) should open its online poker sites for business by the end of 2020.

Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia (WSOP/888poker)

Harrah’s will be a frontrunner for top spot in the PA online poker market when it launches. The Philadelphia-area casino is part of Caesars Entertainment, which also owns and produces the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

As of April 2020, WSOP.com hadn’t launched in PA yet. However, the site now runs major events among players in the shared liquidity markets in both Nevada (WSOP NV) and New Jersey (WSOP NJ). That also includes Delaware through its partner 888poker.

As of spring 2020, WSOP.com tournament series were achieving record fields. This exposed many more players to its online poker product as well as reviving, at least for the time being, the American online poker industry. Many well-known poker pros have thrived online and scored in events like the Online Super Series.

Using a platform fashioned by partner 888Poker, Harrah’s will be the stop for Pennsylvanians who want a chance to play in the WSOP Main Event and related WSOP Circuit events.

Even if WSOP.com does enter the PA market, shared liquidity seems unlikely as of now. PA gaming law doesn’t allow for shared liquidity currently. The state is a “fenced in” online poker market, meaning only players within the state are allowed to play each other. There has been speculation that could change after legal disputes among the federal government and various states regarding the Wire Act are cleared up. That remained an issue as of April 2020.

Valley Forge Casino (partypoker)

Valley Forge is in a unique situation because it has approval for online poker but no strategic partner. However, do not be deceived: Valley Forge’s partner is all but decided already.

There have been interactions between the casino and PartyPoker since at least 2015. Although the situation for PartyPoker in America was rough for a time, the company has emerged as another strong poker option.

Even more importantly, PartyPoker is now the property of GVC. In return, GVC is a strategic partner with MGM Resorts. Resorts, in turn, has an access agreement with Boyd Gaming. Boyd purchased Valley Forge in September 2018.

So, there is a circular quality to the road joining Valley Forge and PartyPoker together. Nevertheless, a deal for Pennsylvania between the two companies seems likely in the next few months.

Hollywood Casino

While not in the same pole position as Harrah’s, Mount Airy or Valley Forge, Hollywood Casino may still be part of the first wave of casinos with online poker. The casino’s parent, Penn National, has a longstanding relationship with software developer IGT.

IGT is not as well-known for its poker products as it is for its slot machine design. However, it is not a neophyte when it comes to the creation of a poker platform. In fact, all of Canada’s state-operated poker sites are powered by IGT software.

The only hesitation about Penn National has been the company’s seeming desire to be first in sports betting. The casino group has won the race to be first-to-market for sports betting in both West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Many in the industry believed the company would launch online poker by the end of 2019, but that hasn’t been the case. The company hasn’t commented on it as of April 2020.

Parx Casino

On paper, Parx would seem to be leading the charge into the online poker market in Pennsylvania. The casino is the unabashed market leader on the land-based side of things.

Even more appealingly, Parx has strategic partnerships with not one, but two software partners. Both GAN and Kambi have signed deals to assist the Bensalem casino’s transition into the virtual sphere.

However, neither GAN or Kambi are particularly experienced or regarded as poker providers. If anything, the two companies have a stronger reputation in other casino gaming and sports betting. So, it’s a bit unclear if Parx has a big appetite for online poker or not.

Rivers Casino (Formerly SugarHouse Casino)

This popular casino rebranded as Rivers Casino Philadelphia in October 2019. The move puts the casino in line with its sister properties also branded as Rivers casinos in: Pittsburgh; Schenectady, New York; and Des Plaines, Illinois.

There have been no updates on an online poker launch from the company but it does have a strategic partner and does have approval to offer online poker. Its partner is also Kambi, though, which means that there is no background in online poker.

Rivers has prioritized getting its sports betting operation off the ground so may have a way to go before addressing an online poker product.

Wind Creek Bethlehem (Formerly Sands)

As of May 2019, the casino is now owned by Wind Creek Hospitality, an entity of Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The tribe bought the property from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson for $1.3 billion.

The Poarch Band owns three casinos in Alabama, race tracks in Florida and Alabama, and two casinos in the Caribbean. Wind Creek also manages a casino in Nevada.

Sands Bethlehem officially changed its name to Wind Creek Bethlehem in July 2019 to fall in line with the company’s other properties. The casino operates a 26-table live poker room, but no plans have been unveiled yet when it comes to online poker.

Live Poker Rooms in PA

Pennsylvania has no shortage of live poker rooms. Before the global shutdown, players across the state had multiple spots to play regular cash games and tournaments. Here’s a look at some of the major live poker venues in PA.

Parx Casino (Philadelphia) – This property is one of the poker leaders in the state with 48 tables, major tournament events, and numerous promotions.

Mount Airy Casino Resort (Pocono) – A contemporary poker room with 12 tables and plenty of action. The property is PokerStars’ partner in the state and possibly could host live events if Stars moves in that direction.

Rivers Casino (Pittsburgh) – Another big player in the PA poker market with 30 tables. In 2017, the room hosted heads-up poker players battles with Artificial Intelligence units developed at Carnegie Mellon University.

Rivers Casino (Philadelphia) – This property was formerly the SugarHouse but was rebranded to align with other Rivers casino branding. The poker room houses 28 tables in a relaxed atmosphere.

Harrah’s Philadelphia – This Caesars Entertainment-owned property hosts 28 tables and would be the casino partner for WSOP.com. It’s the only WSOP-affiliated room in the state and hosts satellites to WSOP events.

Wind Creek (Bethlehem) – This property was formerly known as Sands Bethlehem, but was purchased by Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians in 2019. The facility features a nice room with 26 tables.

• Mohegan Sun (Pocono) – This was the first legal casino in PA, opening in 2006. Owned by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, it offers players an 18-table poker room.

• Hollywood at Penn National (Grantville) – This Penn national Gaming property features 17 tables complete with charging stations at each seat. The property regularly hosts the Keystone State Poker Championship Spring Series.

• Meadows Casino (Washington) – This property 30 minutes south of Pittsburgh features 14 tables and a view of the Meadows horse track from the poker room. The room also hosts Heartland Poker Tour events.

• Presque Isle Downs (Erie) – Another horse racing track and casino offering players seven tables of action.

Pennsylvania online poker FAQ

How can I play online poker in Pennsylvania?

Seven of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos will offer online poker and one—PokerStars (Mount Airy)— launched in 2019. partypoker (Valley Forge Casino) and 888poker/WSOP (Harrah’s) are expected to be live within 12 months.

To play online poker on PokerStars in PA, simply click any of the links above to claim your bonus, register your account and begin playing.

Mobile gaming has exploded in popularity over the last decade. Online poker sites have taken notice and customized their poker apps extensively. Most poker apps now offer really smooth poker experiences that mimic what you’ll find on the full software client. Many players even prefer the streamlined look and experience of playing poker on their phones on the go rather than being tied down to a desk.

The PokerStars app is already available for download in PA. You can expect partypoker and WSOP to offer a similar app option.

Who is allowed to play online poker in Pennsylvania?

Anyone who is older than 21 years of age and inside the state lines will be able to play on any of Pennsylvania’s real money online poker sites. You are also free to travel to New Jersey and play on any of the legal and regulated online poker sites in NJ.

How do poker sites know I’m in Pennsylvania?

As with other states, Pennsylvania requires that all online poker sites and apps use geolocation software to ensure players are logging into the site from instate. Companies like GeoComply specialize in this kind of software and are incredibly accurate for correctly placing players geographically. You’ll need to download the proper geo-location software along with the poker site software or app.

Will Pennsylvania join a poker compact with other states?

Probably. The gaming law expansion in 2017 allowed for interstate player pooling with other states that have online poker. So, potentially, Pennsylvania could join a player pool comprised of Nevada and New Jersey players to start and expand from there.

When will WSOP poker be available in PA?

No plans have been announced yet, but many believe WSOP.com might debut sometime in 2020. Caesars has been tight-lipped about that however. If that happens, WSOP.com would be a “ringed in” platform in the state to fall in line with state gaming regulations.

How many people play online poker in PA?

PokerStars PA was seeing improved numbers as of Spring 2020. An average day might see between 1,200 and 1,600 players. That may not be in line with the site’s international offerings, but a good turnout in a fenced-in state online poker environment.

Can players from other states play on Pennsylvania sites?

As of now, Pennsylvania poker is ring-fenced, which means you can only play against other players within the state.

Licensed states with interstate compacts with Pennsylvania could allow players to access the same pool of participants, but the recent Wire Act opinion has placed the multi-state compact in doubt.

If you are in a state that doesn’t offer regulated online poker, you CAN play on a PA online poker site if you travel to Pennsylvania. You CANNOT use a VPN to mask your real location (and make it appear as if you are in Pennsylvania). It will not work and will get your account closed permanently.

Does Pennsylvania allow online casino games?

Yes. In fact, there will be more online casinos than online poker rooms in Pennsylvania. More of the state’s casino interests applied for and have received a permit to offer online slot play and table games.

The law, H-271, was a massive expansion of Pennsylvania’s gaming opportunities and profile. The law made the following offerings (besides online poker) a possibility in Pennsylvania:

  • 10 mini-casinos
    • A specified number of slots and table games
    • Must conform to geographic requirements to avoid competition with existing casinos
    • Only five licenses awarded so far, and none more are expected
  • Alterations to Category 3 casinos
    • Removes membership fee,
    • Permits more slots via a one-time fee
  • Daily fantasy sports
  • Online casino games (table games and slots)
  • Online lottery sales
  • Sports betting
    • Contingent upon PASPA‘s dismissal, which occurred in May 2018
    • Sports betting launched in November 2018
  • Tablet gaming
    • Available in authorized areas at specific airports
  • Video gambling terminals
    • Similar to slot machines
    • Available only at specific truck stops
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