PA Gaming Review provides the essential details for understanding the online poker scene in the Keystone State. Before you register at a new site, you will want to read our reviews to make sure you find the best deals in online poker.
We only review online poker rooms that are 100% legal and regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). So, be assured that no matter which online poker room you choose, if we’ve reviewed it, it is safe.
Beyond safety, there are many other factors to consider when choosing the online poker room that is right for you. For that reason, honest reviews that analyze the crucial factors of Pennsylvania’s online poker rooms are paramount. Here you will find no-nonsense, detailed explanations of the different operators, the online poker landscape in PA, and what you can expect when you sign up, deposit, and play.
Online gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2017. As always, the passing of legislation is the green light, but setting up poker sites and gaining the appropriate licenses and regulatory permission takes some time. It was not until the end of 2019 that the Keystone State saw its first legal online poker room.
As a state with a large population, the poker scene in PA is flourishing, and it recently saw its second, third, and fourth operators launch. You can stay up to date with all the latest news and changes to Pennsylvania poker at PA Gaming Review. It is the best way to stay informed about everything related to online poker in Pennsylvania.
The information provided in the reviews on this site will help you choose the Pennsylvania online poker room that is right for you. You can check bonus and promotion details, the frequency and guarantees for tournaments, and see if the software will meet your needs. All of the operators featured are regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), which means they are 100% legal and safe.
Most operators also run online casinos and sportsbooks, and you can find reviews for the Pennsylvania sites here too. Read on to find out the critical factors for choosing an online poker room and how to spot a legitimate one that suits your needs.
Online Poker in Pennsylvania
Online gambling, including sports betting, poker, casino games, and daily fantasy sports, was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2017. Two years passed between the signing of the bill and the launch of the first online poker room. In that time, the regulatory body established rules and issued licenses to several operators.
One poker site was quicker off the mark than the others. PokerStars launched in 2019, and PA became the fourth state to provide a regulated poker room. It was another two years before players in the state had options, with BetMGM, Borgata, and WSOP all launching poker offerings in 2021.
To receive a license and have regulatory approval, operators have to meet certain standards. All poker rooms need to partner with a land-based casino. Seven licenses were issued after legalization. However, that does not mean that all operators will launch a poker room, as some will stick to their strengths and focus on sports betting and casino games.
Thanks to the large population and the success of initial launches in the state, players in PA have an excellent choice to make. When deciding between the best Pennsylvania online poker apps, you have four well-established operators to pick. Not only that, but the state has three active online poker networks: PokerStars, Partypoker US network, and WSOP.
PokerStars was the first site to launch in Pennsylvania, with its land-based partner Mount Airy Casino Resort. For almost two years, it was the only poker room in the state. It did a large amount of work to grow the poker scene in PA.
It brought large tournaments to the state that were a success. The Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) and the Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker (PASCOOP) series had big guaranteed prize pools. The popular and potentially lucrative main events attracted a significant number of players, making PokerStars the go-to site for tournament series.
The poker brand reached a new level of fame in 2003 when it became the first online site where a World Series of Poker (WSOP) champion qualified. Chris Moneymaker went on to join Team PokerStars Pro, which has also brought a lot of attention and success to the brand.
It currently operates in three regulated markets in the US, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan. PokerStars is a global brand, though, with a worldwide reputation. It also runs regulated sites in Europe.
BetMGM Poker Pennsylvania
BetMGM was the second poker room to launch in Pennsylvania. It arrived in April 2021, giving PA players a choice of regulated sites for the first time. Its land-based partner is Hollywood Casino. The state was ready for a new operator, and the success of BetMGM proved that a healthy poker market could thrive.
BetMGM was not new to the poker business. It had already launched a successful operation in New Jersey, and a site in Michigan also arrived in 2021. It is part of the Partypoker US Network, with two other brands, Borgata and Partypoker. Borgata also launched a poker room in Pennsylvania, and the two sites share a player pool.
There is potential that the third brand in the network, Partypoker, could also launch in PA soon. That would mean a player pool split between the three sites. BetMGM and Borgata PA use the Partypoker software, which is renowned for its reliability. As newcomers to the state, the brands are working hard to attract players with inviting welcome bonuses.
In July 2021, Pennsylvania got its fourth online poker room courtesy of WSOP. As the newest on the scene, only time will tell how it matches up to the competition. However, the top brand name and the fact that PA has the largest population of all the regulated poker states mean things should head in a positive direction.
WSOP has a network of poker sites. It already runs rooms in New Jersey and Nevada. Its expansion to Pennsylvania included the launch of its new Poker 8 software, which is more innovative than its previous platform. The World Series of Poker name is well-known in the poker community thanks to its tournaments as well as the online offerings.
WSOP works with its land-based partner, Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino. To mark its arrival in the state, for the first time in PA, a gold bracelet online series will run over eight days in August. The site offers satellite events to give players access to these prestigious tournaments.
Multi-State Online Poker in Pennsylvania
At present, shared liquidity is not possible, which means that only player pools for state networks can exist. However, multi-state online poker seems to be just around the corner. Sharing liquidity across the states where poker is legal will create larger and more diverse pools of players.
Such a move could transform Pennsylvania online poker. Bigger and better player pools mean you are more likely to find a game that suits you. It will impact traffic, so wait times will be reduced, seats will be filled, and you can expect tournament prizes to go up. It also means that players of all different levels will be involved, so you can find tables where you can learn from others and improve your skills. Peak times will extend over longer hours.
All of the states in the US where online poker is legal will be impacted. Pennsylvania, in particular, will benefit, as it already has three networks operating in the state that could link up with their poker rooms elsewhere. With more traffic and bigger prize pools, events, tournaments, and series could grow. Not only will sit and go seats fill more quickly, but poker sites will also be able to add variety.
There are many fun and exciting ways to enjoy poker, but if the player pool is spread too thinly across different games and types, there are long wait times. With shared liquidity, the opportunities to play poker variants besides Texas hold ‘em and Omaha will increase. Fast fold and other formats are likely to thrive in that environment too.
What Will Change
The former interpretation of the Wire Act meant that transactions between states for online gambling were not allowed. The legislation has been revisited, and the most recent decisions show that this law only applies to sports betting.
The Department of Justice has not appealed the decision. Many high-profile online gambling attorneys consider this the green light for interstate transactions and multi-state poker. However, others are seeking clarification.
As with any changes in the law, the legislators and regulators need to reach an agreement on how this could work in practice. The important factor is that they are now in a position to move forward with plans to make shared liquidity possible.
The change in legislation could encourage states like West Virginia and Connecticut to introduce online poker. Interstate transactions mean an operator within a state is not reliant on the size of the population there for its success. It could also lead to poker-only legislation for states that want to have poker rooms connected to other sites without the need for launching casinos.
When Will You See Multi-State Online Poker
Once multi-state activity is established, live poker in the US will boom. As clarifications are still pending, it could be some time before some states move forward with their plans. However, others see the absence of an appeal from the DOJ as the starting point for the work in this area.
Regulators will need to put the necessary rules and structure in place to protect players and ensure that each room is still running legally. Once that is cleared up, the final stage will be for the networks to mobilize. Many are already in an excellent position to link rooms in different states. We will need to be patient for a little longer, but it is reasonable to expect changes to occur within a year if clarification is forthcoming.
Types of Online Poker Bonuses Available in Pennsylvania
When you sign up and play at an online poker room, you can expect a warm welcome. There is a fantastic range of Pennsylvania online poker bonuses available. Operators use them to attract new players or to reward existing ones. You can use them to distinguish between the different sites, and they are an excellent way to get started.
Bonuses usually mean extra money in your balance to play and explore the site. There are typically restrictions, which means you cannot withdraw the bonus as cash. However, if you meet the wagering requirements, your winnings will be added to your account for you to enjoy in whatever way you choose. Bonus money also removes the risk of spending your own.
At PA poker rooms, you will find the most popular types of promotions, including a welcome bonus and no deposit offer. The welcome bonus is usually triggered by your first deposit, where the operator matches the amount that you pay by 100%. This reward could also be accompanied by a no deposit deal, which gives you a small amount, such as $25 or $50 simply for creating an account.
Regular players can take advantage of the Pennsylvania online poker promotions. Deposit bonuses are not just for new accounts. Some sites run weekly or monthly offers to match your deposit. You will also see special deals connected to events, holidays, and competitions.
Two of the key ways that operators recognize and provide extra benefits for their customers are through loyalty schemes and competitions. Not only do they provide perks, but they make playing more fun.
These programs are normally open to all players, although the top levels for VIPs might be invitation-only. They work through points, which are earned as you play. Typically $1 of rake or tournament fee equals a certain number of points.
The points determine your tier, which entitles you to certain benefits. You might be able to redeem your points for special offers, bonus cash, or other prizes. Besides prestige, your status might lead to invites to live events, perks at land-based casinos, or dedicated services at the online poker room.
A common and popular type of promotion is a tournament leaderboard. These could run for daily games or sit and go events. They usually require you to opt-in. Leaderboards can run for a particular month or over the whole season.
They give players the chance to accumulate points through achieving a certain standing or finishing position in different events. You compete against other players to get the most points, for example, through top-five finishes. The leaderboard will have a prize pool, with the player in first place receiving a significant amount. However, the top 50 finishers, or more, could get a reward, so it is an excellent opportunity to get something extra just by playing.
Prizes could include cash, bonus funds, a seat at a main event table, or a luxury item. Another common reward for all kinds of promotions is tournament tickets. This means you can buy a seat without using your cash balance. They usually have an assigned value, with bigger numbers giving you access to better events.
How to Play Online Poker Legally in Pennsylvania
For you to truly enjoy your experience at a poker site, you need to know that it is a safe place to play. Safety means that your personal details, finances, and bank information are not at risk. One of the best ways to guarantee this is to choose a licensed and regulated poker room. The Pennsylvania online poker reviews on this site only cover legitimate operators.
How to Tell If an Online Poker Room Is Legal and Regulated
There are several signs that will help you determine whether a poker room is legal and overseen by regulators. Legal means it is allowed to operate in that state, and regulated means it cooperates with the state board to meet particular standards.
Operators in the Keystone state receive their license and regulatory approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). A quick and easy way to see if a site is legal is to check the footer. It should display the seal of the PGCB or mention its license and number in a statement. In this text, it should indicate that the poker room is legally allowed to operate in Pennsylvania.
Another sign that a poker room is safe and legal is that it has a connection with a land-based casino or a state lottery. This fact might be advertised in the main website banner, in the footer, or the about section. When viewing those sections, you can also check to see where the brand has its headquarters; it should have a base for US operations.
A reassuring signal is if a site has a customer service number. If there is a way to get in contact besides an email address, it is a good indication that it is a well-organized operation that prioritizes customer satisfaction. Regulatory bodies insist on a certain level of transparency, which means you should find terms and conditions and policies too.
Established poker rooms will have other elements that show they can be trusted. These include rewards programs and reasonable wagering requirements for bonuses. As you browse the site, you can look for recognizable names. This applies to the poker brand itself, to banking methods, and to security systems. For example, if it works with PayPal or McAfee, these are positive signs.
Although reading the Pennsylvania online poker reviews on this site is the fastest way to find licensed and regulated poker rooms, there are other things you can do. If you want to carry out your own review, checking with the state gaming regulator to see the status of a particular operator can set your mind at ease.
How to Choose the Best Online Poker Room in Pennsylvania
Above all else, you will want to choose an operator that puts the customer first. That is especially important when it comes to safety. They should use encryption to protect transactions and have the correct identity checks in place to safeguard your account and funds.
With that in mind, the options for an online poker room should only include licensed and regulated apps. It will leave you in no doubt that the operator will act responsibly, and you will have the opportunity to resolve any issues if something goes wrong. With security taken care of, here are other crucial factors to consider before deciding where to create an account.
Find a Good Welcome Bonus
You will want to get off to the best start possible at your new poker site. One way to do so is to compare bonuses. In Pennsylvania, there are currently four operators to choose from, each with a different deal. Bigger numbers are usually better, but also check whether the reward suits your playing style.
Wagering requirements are important too. If you receive money just for signing up and all you have to do to withdraw it is play one cash game, then the bonus arguably has more value than one where you need to bet the amount several times over. If the main prizes are tournament tickets, but you mostly play cash games, that is also something to consider.
Make Sure There Is a Mobile App for Your Phone
These days, most poker rooms recognize that players want access from their smartphone or tablet. Not all Pennsylvania mobile poker apps are the same. Some could be combined with casino and sportsbook services, while others are dedicated to poker. Find out whether your chosen site has an app available for Android or iOS devices or both. Plus, the quality of the software is critical too.
While the welcome package is important, the regular benefits that you receive over time are just as vital to your playing experience. There are several points to consider, including how easy it is to get rewards and move through the tiers. You might also want to find out whether the perks will be useful and easy to redeem.
Seek the Top Promotions
Another way you can benefit is through Pennsylvania online poker promotions. To determine whether a poker room is a good fit for you, you can check out whether it has a decent range of regular offers. You can check to see how often they are updated as well as the value and type of rewards.
Convenient Deposit and Withdrawal Options
One final element that will impact your overall experience is the payment methods. Ideally, you will find a banking option that is convenient for you. Plus, you will want to make sure that deposits and withdrawals happen promptly.
How to Start Playing Online Poker in Pennsylvania
Now that you know that there are safe and legal opportunities to play online poker in Pennsylvania, you will want to get started. Whichever operator you choose, you can follow this handy guide to be prepared to create your account and make the most of everything on offer. All you will need to do is come up with a strategy and enjoy playing.
- Follow the link to register. Each of the poker room reviews will take you directly to the signup page for each operator, making it easy to start the process.
- Create an account. Although they vary slightly, each poker site will have several steps that you will need to go through to register so that you can access the services. Essential information that you will need to complete the process includes your full name, email address, date of birth, address, and the last four digits of your social security number. You will need to create a username and password, to confirm that you are above the legal age to play, and that you agree to the terms and conditions. Several sites include security elements, which might involve including a phone number to receive a verification code.
- Verify your identity. The four digits of your SSN will help to verify your identity. Many sites will also require you to upload some photographic identification before you make a deposit. This ensures that the details you have provided match and also correspond to the payment method you choose to use.
- Download the app. If you want to play on the go, then find the Pennsylvania mobile poker app for your chosen site. You can use the desktop client, too; they both work with the same credentials.
- Register for bonuses. Now is the time to find out whether you need to opt-in to receive your reward or if you need to enter a promotion code. Check the promotions page for opportunities to register for rewards programs or particular offers. If you need to enter a bonus code, move on to the next step.
- Make a deposit. To trigger a reward and to start playing, you will need to add some cash to your account. Choose a deposit method, enter a bonus code if required, and make sure you stick to the minimum and maximum amounts as specified for the offer you are claiming. Within a few seconds, you should see the funds in your balance, and you can begin your first hand.
When did Pennsylvania start allowing legal online poker?
The state legalized poker as part of an online gambling bill in 2017. However, it was in 2019 that the first online poker room was launched. Today, there are four options for PA players, which are all licensed and regulated by the PGCB. Thanks to the healthy market, you can expect more sites to open in the near future.
Is Pennsylvania online poker rigged?
No. Licensed and regulated sites are fair. You can check the ‘how to play online poker legally in Pennsylvania’ section to learn how to recognize a legitimate operator. Regulation means that poker rooms adhere to rules about transparency and fair play. This means that tournaments and promotions must meet standards, and games are tested.
Who can play online poker in Pennsylvania?
State residents and those visiting can play online poker in PA. Though it might be possible to register for an account while outside the state boundaries, you will need to be within Pennsylvania to deposit and play for real money. Geolocation applications are used in conjunction with the desktop client and mobile apps to ensure you comply and are legally accessing the site.
Does Pennsylvania have multi-state online poker?
No,not yet. Pennsylvania does have a player pool shared by BetMGM and Borgata, who are part of the same network. However, this is shared within the state. Due to current reviews of legislation regarding interstate gambling transactions, it is likely that multi-state online poker will be possible in PA soon.
Is it safe to play online poker in Pennsylvania?
Yes. It is legal and safe to play online poker in Pennsylvania. You need to be 21 or older and located within the state. To ensure your safety, it is best to choose a licensed and regulated operator that has been approved by the PGCB. You can find a 100% legal and safe poker room by reading the reviews on this site.
Can I play online poker in Pennsylvania on my phone?
Yes. You can take advantage of the Pennsylvania mobile poker apps. They give you access to the poker room from your smartphone or tablet. You need to be in PA to play, even if you are accessing it on the go. Mobile apps are usually available for iOS and Android devices.