Poker in Iowa [2024 Complete Guide]

Poker in Iowa

During presidential election years, Iowa garners significant attention as it conducts its primary elections before any other state. This prominence extends to its gambling industry, evidenced by its 24 operational casinos. These casinos, noted by the World Casino Directory, underline Iowa’s significant role in the gambling sector.

Additionally, the presence of ten active poker rooms across the state, as reported by, suggests a thriving poker scene in Iowa. Interestingly, despite this bustling gambling environment, Iowa’s laws technically prohibit gambling, with certain exceptions in place.

poker in iowa

Dog and horse races, casinos on riverboats and Indian reservations, informal gambling among friends, and so on all fall outside of this rule. The Iowa State Legislature offers a downloadable pamphlet detailing their state’s stance on gambling, and within that pamphlet, poker receives special attention. Even if a venue supplies a dealer, it is the only card game that falls under the social gambling exemption.

Iowa is not such a horrible place for bettors after all, despite the fact that gambling is technically “illegal” there.

Quick Summary

  • Three Million Fifteen Hundred And Fifty Thousand
  • Cities: Des Moines
  • Money in U.S. dollars ($)
  • Currently, it is 6 hours behind UTC.
  • IA is the abbreviation for Iowa.

Where You Can Play Poker in Iowa Casinos:

  • Prairie Meadows Hotel, Racetrack & Casino
  • Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort
  • Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs
  • Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel
  • Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs

Poker Stars from the Hawkeye State

The Hendon Mob’s latest Iowa all-time money list features William Reynolds of Sioux City, IA, at the top. He has won a total of $1.985 million in live tournaments.

He won the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas in January 2010. His winnings from that tournament totaled $576,240, making it the largest sum he has ever won from a single live tournament. Additionally, he has won over $1.5 million in online MTT cashes while using the screen name “Altrum Altus” on PokerStars.

Next up is Des Moines native and all-around nice guy Jeffrey Fielder. His total live tournament earnings amount to $1,858,060. He won $312,080 in the January 2013 $1,675 Main Event at the WSOP Circuit Choctaw in Durant, Oklahoma.

Live poker in Iowa

Iowa’s poker laws

As we mentioned up top, gambling is strictly illegal in the Hawkeye State, but there is a long list of exemptions. Specifically, the criminal law in Iowa pertaining to gambling is laid out in Iowa Code 99 et seq. and Iowa Code 725.5 et seq.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is in charge of issuing licenses and enforcing regulations for the extensive variety of gambling activities that do not fall under the exceptions.

Halls hosting live poker games in Iowa

In Council Bluffs, Iowa, at the Horseshoe Casino, you can choose from a wide variety of cash table games. Games range from $1/$3 and $2/$3 for No Limit Hold’em, $3/$6 for Limit Hold’em, $6/$12 and $10/$20 for Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better, and $2/$6 for Pot Limit Omaha.

They have also hosted WSOP Circuit events and tournament series like the RUNGOOD Poker Series and the Horseshoe Poker Classic. The buy-ins for the 2020 WSOPC Council Bluffs tournament started at $250 and went up to $1,700 for the Main Event.

Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs is a river casino on the Mississippi River that operates between Council Bluffs, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska. A variety of table games, such as “Cajun Stud” and “Flop Poker,” are available for play on board. These games pit you against the house rather than other passengers.

iowa google maps

They feature “Head’s Up Hold’em” among the games available on their website. It’s enticing, and it’d be awesome if you could play no-limit hold ’em (NLHE) cash games against other passengers on this river boat. Nonetheless, you should get in touch with them to clarify which game they mean by that because there is no additional data about the game on their site.

Prairie Meadows Hotel, Racetrack & Casino in Altoona, Iowa also offers live and monetary gambling. There are two No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) tables with $1/$2 and $2/$5 stakes, one Limit Hold’em (LHE) table with $3/$6 stakes, and one mixed NLHE/PLO/PLO8 table with $5/$10 stakes. A Bad Beat Jackpot worth thousands of dollars is also offered.

Both the Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel in Tama, Iowa and the Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort in Larchwood, Iowa feature poker rooms for their customers to enjoy.

Gambling Halls and Poker Rooms in the Hawkeye State

A few forms of gambling are allowed, but online poker is not one of them. Actually, the Iowa Code makes no reference to any form of online gambling whatsoever.

Unfortunately, due to the Federal Wire Act of 1961 and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, this activity is prohibited throughout the United States. Therefore, Iowa residents should either use a site located outside of the state’s regulatory jurisdiction, such as Americas Cardroom, or a real-money sweepstakes poker app, such as PPPoker.

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