Poker in Pennsylvania
The state of Pennsylvania serves as a major gambling hub for the United States. In terms of annual commercial land casino revenue, it ranks second among the 50 states, behind only Nevada. This is despite the fact that “only” 31 casinos are listed for Pennsylvania on the worldcasinodirectory.com. According to the site’s statistics on venues per state, that number isn’t even in the top 10, but those few dozen casinos still handle to surpass states like California (173 land casinos) and Montana (500+ casinos). Rivers Casino, located in Pittsburgh, is notable for its role in the game of poker in Pennsylvania. The two AI vs. Human poker tournaments were held here. In these trials, top poker players faced off against AIs developed by the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University.
In 2015, a human team composed of Doug Polk, Jason Les, Dong Kim, and Bjorn Li bested a poker bot named Claudico. In 2017, however, a group consisting of Les, Kim, Jimmy Chou, and Daniel McAulay were defeated by a new and improved AI known as Libratus in a 120,000-hand sample. It was the first time an AI had ever won at poker, making it a landmark event on par with Deep Blue’s 1997 chess victory over Garry Kasparov.
It wasn’t until the latter half of 2016 that Pennsylvania made national poker news. The state legislature is considering a bill that would make it the fourth US state, after Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, to offer regulated and taxed online poker to its citizens.
The bill was finally signed into law in October of 2017 after being discussed for nearly a year. PokerStars PA, which opened in November 2019, was the first online poker room in Pennsylvania to receive a license from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
- Inhabitants: 12,800,000
- Harrisburg (the capital)
- Dollar (USD) is the official currency of the United States.
- Pennsylvania is shortened to PA as an abbreviation for the state’s name.
- UTC+4 is the time zone in which we currently find ourselves.
Where You Can Play Poker in Pennsylvania Casinos:
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia
- Parx Casino
- River’s Casino Pittsburgh
- Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia
Poker Stars from the Keystone State
Joe McKeehen won $7.683 million in 2015’s World Series of Poker Main Event. After that, he went on to win two more WSOP gold bracelets: in 2017 he took down the $10,000 Limit Hold’em event for $311,817, and in 2020 he won the $3,200 No Limit Hold’em High Roller online event for $352,985.
McKeehen has made a name for himself in the poker world thanks to his unkempt appearance and his penchant for donning sports apparel at high-profile tournaments.
Jake Schindler, who grew up in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, has amassed $25.270 million in live tournament earnings, making him the state’s all-time money leader on Hendon. To the tune of $3.6 million, he placed second in the $300,000 Aria Super High Roller Bowl in May of 2017. He has never won more money at a single live tournament than he did at that one. German poker pro Christoph Vogelsang defeated him in a heads-up match for the championship.
Enjoying Live Poker in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s New Live Poker Laws
Land-based casinos are completely legitimate in the state of Pennsylvania. The 2013 Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act is the current applicable law.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board issues licenses and establishes regulations for the industry. Clearly, non-government organizations and foreign firms can do the same.
In March of this year (2019), the Sugarhouse Casino (now known as Rivers Casino) in Philadelphia was fined $30,000. This news made national headlines thanks to the Pennsylvania Gaming Board, which is responsible for enforcing these types of laws throughout the state. After filming an episode of Poker Night in America, two of the players, Doug Polk and Jeremy Kaufman, decided to play a $42,000 flip of 10-Card Stud, forcing the casino to fork over the large sum.
The issue was that the gambling establishment was not authorized to deal the made-up game.
Gambling Halls with Live Poker in Pennsylvania
The Rivers Casino in Philadelphia does not offer 10-Card Stud, but they do have No Limit Hold ’em tournaments. They frequently host several tournaments each day with entry fees between $65 and $150. On a daily basis, they host a $150 Deepstack tournament.
The Big Rush tournament, which cost $340 and featured three Day1s and a prize pool of $100,000, took place in March of 2020. In the introduction, we mentioned that Rivers has a second location in Pittsburgh.
You can play NLHE cash games at stakes of $1/$2, $1/$3, $2/$5, and $5/$10, as well as PLO at $1/$2 and PLO8 at $5/$10, and 7-Card Stud at stakes of $20/$40, at Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack. Past WPTDeepstacks tournaments have been held at Bensalem’s Parx Casino. Parx also hosts its own tournament series, the Big Stax, with entry fees starting at $340 and going as high as $2,560.
Poker Rooms and Casinos in the Keystone State
Pike State Poker Rooms Online
Pennsylvania, as we mentioned in the introduction, was the fourth state in the United States to make it legal online poker in October 2017. With the passage of that law, it became legal to wager on sporting events and play casino games over the internet.
We also stated that in November of this year, PokerStars PA became the first online room in the state. In August of 2020, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board issued Unibet, an online sportsbook based in Europe that also offers poker, a permanent license.
Partypoker and WSOP.com, two other sites, had originally confirmed their intentions to enter the market. Their launch has been delayed, however, because of unforeseen complications with the issuance of their licenses.
Despite the fact that Stars is currently their only option, the future of online poker, for example, major poker apps like ClubGG in Pennsylvania, is much brighter than it is for most players in the rest of the United States.