In late 2017, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf passed a bill that expanded gambling in the Keystone State. The bill made Pennsylvania the fourth, and most populous, state to legalize online real-money poker. Though, due to regulatory hoops, it was not until November 2019 that PokerStars PA became the first active site.
Legal Online Poker Sites In Pennsylvania
- Bonus Offer: $30 free on $20+ first deposit OR 100% deposit match up to $600
- Not part of an interstate playing pool
- PokerStars is also available in New Jersey and Michigan
- Local casino partner: Mount Airy Casino Resort
Currently, PokerStars PA is the only site available for real money online poker in Pennsylvania. This isn’t too bad though, as PokerStars is widely considered to be among the best online poker platforms. At PokerStars PA, new players have access to industry-leading bonus offers and some of the best cash games and tournaments anywhere on the internet.
PokerStars has been a smash hit since its inception in Pennsylvania. The on-site traffic regularly exceeds that of PokerStars NJ. Players should not have a problem finding a game that suits their tastes and bankroll.
Perhaps the biggest reason for PokerStars PA’s success is their tournament offerings. The site regularly hosts big, guaranteed prize pool multi-table tournaments (MTT’s), like the Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker. These typically run on a monthly basis and attract some of the most competitive players in Pennsylvania.
The site also offers weekly tournaments including freerolls, a $250 Sunday High Roller, and a $200 Thursday Thrill. The PA site also hosts many other types of tournaments like the popular Sit & Go’s.
Roughly three-fourths of the site’s traffic goes to cash games (out of an average total of 400 players). Like in the New Jersey version of the site, PokerStars PA offers a variety of cash game variants, including no-limit hold ’em (NLHE), limit hold ’em, pot-limit Omaha (PLO), Omaha hi-lo, limit stud, 2-7 triple draw, razz, and more.
Though the site offers many poker variants, the vast majority of traffic belongs to NLHE and PLO. PokerStars offers blinds between $.01/$.02 and $25/$50. However, it will usually be hard to find games at the upper-most stakes. PLO and NLHE are the most regularly populated sites with the most expensive stakes at $2.50/$5.
What Other Legal Online Poker Sites Are Coming To Pennsylvania?
While PokerStars PA is the only current site up and running, there are several other approved sites with local casino partnerships on their way:
- PartyPoker PA (Valley Forge Casino)
- BetMGM (Independent License)
- WSOP/888 (Harrahs Philadelphia)
What Online Poker Bonuses Are Available In Pennsylvania?
One of the best things about signing up for a new real money poker site is the bonuses. Sites from around the country regularly entice players to choose their platform by offering competitive promotions. PokerStars PA has two solid first deposit bonuses, as well as other competitive promotions.
No (Or Low) Deposit Bonus
While some sites in other states have a “no deposit” bonus (free money towards gameplay), PokerStars offers a “low deposit” bonus. For an initial deposit of $20 or more, PokerStars PA will give you an additional $30. While the no deposit bonus may seem superior, the $30 given by PokerStars for a low deposit is industry-leading.
To access this promotion, new players will need to use the bonus code FREE30. The $30 comes in two different forms: $20 in cash and $10 in tournament tickets.
In addition to the cash and tickets, this bonus also gives new players free entry into the Depositor Freeroll Event. This is a tournament that runs on the last Sunday of each month. It gives new players the chance to make money without needing to pay for a buy-in.
The second bonus option offered by PokerStars PA is its 100% deposit match. PokerStars PA will match your first three deposits, totaling no more than $600 (only deposits made within your first 60 days of signing up will qualify). This means that if you were to deposit $100, the site would match that with another $100. If you choose this bonus, use bonus code STARS600.
The matched money, however, does not come in a lump sum. PokerStars pays out the bonus incrementally at a wonderful 50% Rakeback rate (cash games rake plus tournament fees). This means that for every $100 you pay the site in rake or fees, you will get $50 back. It becomes cheaper for you to play until your match bonus is paid back. Players have four months to recoup as much of their match bonus as possible, so get playing!
Important Note: PokerStars gives players the option to choose between the above two bonuses. You do not get both. In general, the STARS600 bonus will be the better option for players with a bigger bankroll. While $30 in free play is great, it doesn’t compare with a $600 match bonus. For players new to poker or just looking to invest a small sum, the FREE30 bonus would probably be the way to go.
Monthly Tournament Leaderboard
PokerStars offers a great bonus for tournament players. Each month they rank players based on their tournament performances. Their ranking is derived from a points system, which players get from finishing in the top 15% of a tournament (bigger tournaments will award more points).
At the end of the month, the top 60 players on the tournament leader board will take their share of a $7,500 prize pool. The number one ranking player every month will earn $1,500 in tournament dollars.
Golden Button Challenge
Lastly, PokerStars PA offers a fun promo called the golden button challenge. All you need to do to qualify for this challenge is to win a hand (as the button) with an Ace at a hold’em table with at least four other players present. This will enable you to win a cash prize of up to $20,000.
Does Pennsylvania Share Online Poker Player Pools With Any Other States?
At the moment, Pennsylvania poker players are “ring-fenced.” This means there are not yet any sites in Pennsylvania that share player liquidity with other states, so players in PA can only face-off with each other.
However, Pennsylvania does have the ability to open up interstate player pooling if they so choose. Current laws permit state regulators to make this decision; Pennsylvania officials will need to sign in to some sort of contract with other states.
One option is for legislators to sign the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement. This agreement already allows New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada to pool players (currently only done on WSOP/888). Pennsylvania could become the fourth state to sign the agreement if it can get approval from state regulators.
Do Pennsylvania’s Online Poker Sites Offer Mobile Apps?
PokerStars has been long famed for its software. The mobile app, available on both iOS and Android, is one of the best on the market. The gameplay on the app looks very similar to gameplay on a desktop, sleek with great graphics. The mobile app is easy to use and hosts the same tournaments and cash games that players will find on the desktop version.
The only real drawback of the mobile app is that it is difficult to play multiple games at once. This probably won’t be an issue for the bulk of players. However, professionals who often want to play several games at once will have trouble. This is mostly because mobile screens are much smaller than desktop screens. While you can play multiple games at once on the mobile app, you can only see one game at a time (meaning you have to click back and forth to see the different tables).
Pennsylvania Legal Online Poker Sites FAQs
21. Like for all forms of gambling, online or in person, you must be 21 years of age or older to play.
No. DraftKings does not currently have an online poker site. Generally, DraftKings Casino will offer video poker only. PokerStars is the only site up and running in Pennsylvania. More sites are on the way!
No. PokerStars PA is the only option right now. However, WSOP has already been approved and struck a deal with Harrahs Philadelphia. When WSOP comes to market players will be able to play on one of the best poker platforms in the world (also, WSOP will be the app most likely to engage in interstate pooling if they are allowed).
Yes. Every online poker site in Pennsylvania is licensed and regulated by the state.
It’s easy to deposit on PokerStars PA. All you need to do is to download the app, set up your account, and decide on a payment method. The site (and most poker sites) accept all the major forms of payment, like credit card, Paypal, and bank transfer.
Like in any other state, the best time to play in Pennsylvania is when the most players are active, that way you will have the best chance of finding the game you’re looking for. The times with the most traffic tend to be after 8:00 PM on weekdays and in the afternoon on weekends.