Play Real Money Poker Online in Michigan
Poker joined other forms of legal online gambling in Michigan in the fall 2020. Many of the biggest and best online poker sites have set up Michigan-only platforms. You can play cash games, tournaments, and innovative new forms of poker from your desktop — or by using a mobile poker client on your phone/tablet.
Player volumes are critical to the success of poker sites. This means that Party Poker, PokerStars, and WSOP.com will be competing to get as many players as possible. This Michigan online poker guide will subsequently explain how to play poker online for free or real money in Michigan, and how to take advantage of the many great bonuses, promotions, and loyalty rewards available.
This page also covers the Michigan poker sites in detail. You will find out about which brands are available and what makes them different from each other below. There is also an overview of the different games, rewards, and banking methods offered.
Best online poker sites in Michigan
The following poker sites are expected to launch first in Michigan. Each brand will partner with a brick and mortar casino for their license. While these are the biggest names in the poker industry, you will only be playing against others from Michigan. It is hoped that player pools will be linked with other states with regulated gambling at some point soon.
#1 – PokerStars Michigan
Internationally, PokerStars is the biggest online poker site. Among players, their software is considered the best – with apps and a desktop download available. This site has proven a big success in New Jersey already. They are favorite to be the biggest Michigan room. Alongside online poker tournaments and cash games, new poker formats can be enjoyed. These include “Spin and Go” tournaments, which have random prize pools and a super-fast structure. PokerStars also runs the fast-fold “Zoom” poker format.
You can choose from two different welcome bonuses at PokerStars. Either $30 in tokens for a $20 minimum deposit, or a 100% matched bonus of up to $600.
#2 – WSOP.com Michigan
The name of this site is an acronym for the “World Series of Poker” brand. The software is powered by 888poker, and the brand owned by Caesars Entertainment. They already have sites in Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The new Michigan WSOP.com site will be stand-alone – you will only play against others from Michigan.
There are plenty of tournaments, cash games, and a lottery sit and go format called “Blast Poker” at WSOP.com. You can also qualify for live events at this site. This will include qualifiers to the WSOP next time it is scheduled.
New players at WSOP.com get $10 in free play simply for signing up. This allows you to check out the games and app, without risking your own money. There is a big 100% to $1,000 matched welcome bonus available for players that choose to deposit.
#3 – Party Poker/BetMGM Michigan
Party Poker was the original poker site. They are still popular around the world and already have a New Jersey poker room. This brand will partner with the MGM Grand Detroit, via a national partnership with owners of the Party brand, GVC Holdings. Players will likely be shared with the BetMGM Poker room, which uses the same software – this shared liquidity will be for players in Michigan only initially.
Party has innovated over the years. They have a busy tournament schedule, soft cash games, and events including the “PowerFest”. New players can try out the games with a $25 no-deposit bonus. This is $10 in cash game buy-ins and $15 in tournament tokens. There is also a 100% deposit match, up to $1,000.
Top online poker bonuses in Michigan
With a little knowledge of how Michigan’s online poker sites structure their bonuses and rewards, you will be in a great position to get your poker bankroll off to a flying start.
Some of the strategy tips lower down the page also come into play. These include understanding variance and bankroll management and picking the right buy-in levels.
Free-play bonuses should be your first target. These are typically smaller amounts. You get between $10 and $25, depending on the site. Sometimes this will be bonus credits to use as you want, other sites give you tokens for specific games – for example, Spin and Go tournaments.
All the sites require some play-though. This stops people from simply claiming the bonuses and then withdrawing the cash. The amount of play to clear each bonus varies significantly. Some sites have a 1x play-through, others can be as high as 20x.
Matched welcome bonuses
If you make a deposit, then you should look for matched welcome offers. Michigan poker rooms typically offer a 100% match on your first deposit. The maximum varies from site to site – the biggest deals are around $1,000.
You will need to clear your bonus by accumulating points in real money online poker games. This type of bonus is released into your account in increments as you hit points targets. Check the time allowed to clear your bonus. This can vary between 30 days and 120 days, depending on the site.
For a long time after your initial bonus deals have been banked, the loyalty schemes at the online poker sites will be key to keeping your bankroll topped up. They vary significantly between the sites. PokerStars have a “Stars Rewards” scheme, where you unlock virtual treasure chests for gifts based on the games you play most. Other sites like WSOP.com have a points-based scheme. You can exchange points to buy bonuses or tournament tickets.
Loyalty rewards schemes include special freeroll tournaments for players that achieve different levels. You will also find some brands have schemes covering their casino games, sportsbook, and poker room all from a single account.
The final way you get rewarded by the new Michigan poker sites is via promotions. Standing promotions include leaderboards (split between buy-ins and poker formats), reload bonuses, and free to enter tournaments.
One-off and special promotions include specials for new game formats, poker tournament events, crossover promotions with sportsbook/casino games (for example free spins), and seasonal/themed one-offs.
Different poker games at Michigan poker sites
Head to a poker room in one of Michigan’s live casinos and you will find cash games, along with scheduled poker tournaments. Online there are many more poker formats possible. Within each category, you will find variations in the poker type used, table size, buy-in level, speed, and betting rules.
No-Limit Texas Hold’em makes up around 85% of online poker players. You will also find Pot Limit Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo at Michigan poker rooms. Other games are offered (for example 7-Card Stud), though there are few (if any at all) tables outside of peak times.
Here are the main poker games online available, with the most common variations:
- Cash games: Playing with real money in front of you is the original poker format. You will find tables for 2, 6, or 9 players and buy-ins from $2 and up (for 100 big blinds).
- Tournaments: Here you buy-in and receive tournament chips, with the game continuing until one player has all the chips. Prizes are typically awarded to 10% to 15% of the field. Variations include rebuy tournaments, knockout bounties (including the newer progressive knockouts), turbo events, and satellite qualifiers.
- Sit and Go tournaments: Smaller tournaments, often just 1 table, with no scheduled start time. These games start as soon as the tables are full. Variations include turbo and hyper-turbo speed, double or nothing, and satellite qualifiers.
- Lottery Sit and Goes: This format is super-fast, often lasting just a few minutes. Each Michigan poker site handles them differently. Most games are 3-handed, hyper-turbo and only show the prize pool after the game starts. This can be up to 10,000x your buy-in.
- Fast-Fold Poker: This format solves the issue of waiting around after you fold. You will join a pool of players at set buy-in levels, going to a new hand the instant you fold. This is used for both cash games and tournaments. In fast-fold tournaments, the final table will revert to a static table format.
Online poker tournaments in Michigan
Once the sites are established, Michigan will see its poker tournament events. In other regulated states, PokerStars has run online championships. The MCOOP (Michigan Championship of Online Poker) format will include a series of online poker tournaments with giant guaranteed prize pools.
Party Poker also runs tournament events. We will soon find out whether they bring their PowerFest events to Michigan – or opt for different branding. WSOP.com also runs events, this site will offer qualifiers for the Las Vegas World Series of Poker for 2021 and on.
The sites want to ensure that as many players as possible get to participate in their online poker events. They run satellite qualifiers and have give-away promotions to ensure that smaller bankroll players get a shot at the big events.
How to access Michigan online poker sites
You can play online poker via either your desktop or mobile devices. If you are playing the longer tournament format, or like to multi-table, then the desktop software is ideal. Head to the poker room websites and download the Windows or Mac software from there.
Poker rooms also offer apps, these are optimized for smartphone play. You will be able to access a limited selection of the games. Fast-fold formats are popular for smartphone users.
To download an app, follow our links to the poker room via the iPhone or Android device you want to use for poker. The sites will then be able to offer you the correct app. For Android apps, the download will come directly from the sites. For iPhone/iPad users, you will get the app via the Apple App Store.
Registering is quick and easy. You only need your name, and e-mail address, your address, date of birth, and last 4 digits of your SSN to get started.
Online poker tips and strategy
Many players in Michigan will be familiar with the rules and hand rankings from home games and live casino poker rooms. Online poker has some significant differences to live games. These cover the formats, skill levels, and ability to multi-table. The five tips below are designed to stop you from losing your bankroll by making rookie mistakes while you transition from live to online poker.
- Skill level differences: Compared to live games, online poker has a significantly higher average skill level. This format attracts people who grind the games, making profits over multiple tables to make a living. The effect gets magnified as good/skilled/winning players sit at 6 or 8 tables, while amateurs play just 1 or 2. Many new players get caught out by this. If you are used to buying in for $200 at your local casino, then try the $25 or $50 max buy-in tables first. Once you get used to spotting the regulars and can beat those games – it is time to move up.
- Bankroll management: Poker has a natural variance. Your entire tournament can change based on a coin-flip near the bubble, or you can suffer bad beats where you got in as 80% favorite. To counter this, good players only sit with a small portion of their bankroll in any one game. A starting point for cash games is 20 buy-ins, with more typical for tournament players. If you are a winning player, this will mean you can ride out any downswings or bad luck – taking home the money over the long run.
- Lack of live reads/math matters more: Many good players in the casinos around Michigan can read players well at critical moments at the tables. Online these live tells disappear. Bet sizing and timing tells will replace them to an extent. To get an edge on your better opponents online, you need to know the math. Simple pot odds vs your outs are not enough these days. At a minimum, the basics of card combinations and ranges, ICM based decisions, and familiarity with GTO concepts are required.
- Specializing in one format: Getting an edge on the field online is easier when you know the specifics of one format better than the other players. Pot Limit Omaha is a great example, with many Hold’em players overvaluing high pair hands and undervaluing run-downs on certain flops. Spreading yourself too thin by switching games often can put you at a disadvantage compared to those that do specialize.
- Don’t play when tired, drunk or unwell: Building a bankroll in online poker requires skill, patience, and discipline. Firing up a game after one too many adult beverages is never a good idea. If you are prone to tilt or taking a gamble, then you’ll need to be extra careful. If you are not able to bring your a-game to the tables (if you are tired or unwell), then you should avoid the real money online poker games. This can also apply to play while distracted. Turning off YouTube, messenger apps and the TV can help you focus on beating the games.
Michigan online poker and the law
Online poker was made legal as part of a big expansion of gambling in Michigan at the end of 2019. Three bills were signed, setting out the licensing and regulatory systems, which were then put into place in 2020. Sports betting, casino gaming, online poker, and Daily Fantasy Sports were all made legal.
Poker licenses are held by brick and mortar casinos. They have partnered with poker rooms, bringing established apps to Michigan. To play legally, you need to be inside state lines. If there is any doubt about your location, you will not be able to play. Poker apps include geolocation technology to facilitate this. You need to be 21+ to play. There is no requirement to be a permanent resident of Michigan.
Banking options at Michigan online poker sites
To enjoy real money online poker games, you need to make a deposit. It is safe to use your bank cards to make payments to gambling sites in Michigan. If you prefer not to for personal or professional reasons, then there are some easy alternatives.
The list below shows the most commonly accepted poker site deposit methods. Note that not every site accepts every method:
- Bank cards: You can use your regular credit or debit cards to get cash to poker sites. Visa and MasterCard are accepted by all the brands. Some also welcome AMEX or Discover cards.
- eChecks: You can make a transfer directly from your bank using ACH transfers. If you get verified (separately with a 3rd party), then this deposit method is instant.
- Bill pay: Poker can be treated as a utility with some larger banks. You can deposit in the same way you pay your electricity bill.
- PayPal/Skrill/Neteller: These are separate brands that are online wallet accounts. You fund them from your bank, creating a secure 3rd party between the bank and poker site.
- PayNearMe: You can make a poker deposit in cash at the cashier of your local 7-Eleven. Other similar systems are sometimes used.
- Bank wire: This slow though super-secure payment option is reserved for larger deposits these days. Money orders can also be used.
- Cash at the cage: You can fund your account by taking cash to the cage of the casino that licenses each brand.
When it is time to cash out, the sites will ask for the funds to go back to whatever method you used to deposit with. Alternative withdrawal options (including a paper check) can be used where this is not possible.
Wrapping up: online poker in Michigan
Online poker got started in Michigan in the fall of 2020. This followed a gambling expansion at the end of 2019 that included sports betting and casino games. Many of the biggest and best poker brands announced Michigan apps. These include big names like Party Poker, PokerStars, and WSOP.com (888poker).
You can enjoy new poker formats, tournament events, and a lot of different bonuses and promotions at these Michigan online poker rooms. More great poker experiences even include the option to play poker online with friends. There are no-deposit bonuses to get your bankroll off to the best possible start.