In 2019, the West Virginia legislature legalized online gambling with the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act. While this is good news for the Mountain State, West Virginia is still yet to see legal online poker come to fruition. The bill does legalize poker, however, with its small population, vendors are aware of the risks of launching in West Virginia. No online poker apps are live in West Virginia yet.
Let’s take a look at what is likely to happen when West Virginia poker sites finally launch.
What Legal Online Poker Sites Are Coming To West Virginia
Another possible site to launch in West Virginia is BetMGM Poker. After all, the site already has a sportsbook up and running in the Mountain State. It seems quite possible that the company would decide to bring their poker site to West Virginia as well. BetMGM Poker launched in Michigan in early 2021.
Again, BetMGM has the same problem here as PokerStars. Both sites are likely skeptical about launching in West Virginia because of the state’s size. The probability seems too high that a “ring-fenced” West Virginia site would not garner enough traffic to survive. The need to get approval for interstate player pooling is paramount.
Perhaps the most likely first entrant into the Mountain State market is PokerStars. The site, owned by The Stars Group, operates as the global leader in online poker. PokerStars already has booming sites in New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Most important, the site’s software is thought to be second to none.
For PokerStars, though, launching in West Virginia probably isn’t a priority. Considering that West Virginia only has a population of 1.8 million, we would expect traffic to be significantly lower than in other states. Further, in the United States, PokerStars only operates “fenced-in” sites. In other words, players on PokerStars sites can only play against players from their state.
WSOP should be the most sought-after site in West Virginia. Not only is WSOP (and its software partner 888 poker) the leading poker site in the United States, it is also the only site to currently offer multijurisdictional play. This means that on the WSOP site players from different states––New Jersey and Nevada––can face off against each other.
Due to West Virginia’s small population, many sites may be reluctant to launch. If, however, WSOP can land a deal to add West Virginia to their interstate playing pool, that would be a game-changer. While some disagreements around the Wire Act would have to be settled first, WSOP would likely be the best site for West Virginia players.
What Online Poker Bonuses Will Be Available In West Virginia
Since West Virginia is yet to have any running poker sites, there are no current bonuses offered. However, the poker vendors that would be likely to launch in West Virginia tend to offer the same bonuses across all of their sites.
The no-deposit (or low-deposit) bonus is a promotion offered by all sites in one form or another. Essentially, the site will give you free money for signing up. In most cases, this money will come in multiple forms––part in cash, credited to your account, and part in tournament tickets or entry into freerolls.
PokerStars offers a low-deposit bonus of $30. Any player who makes a first deposit of $20 or more will get the $30 bonus. This (low) deposit bonus is industry-leading in size, though it does require a first deposit.
Other sites, like BetMGM and WSOP, offer a no-deposit bonus. For successfully signing up, these sites will get you started with a bit of cash! BetMGM offers a $25 sign-up bonus in Michigan. In New Jersey, WSOP offers $10 free upon signing up.
The second type of sign-up promotion offered is the first deposit match bonus. With this bonus, the poker site will match 100% of the value of your first deposit (up to a specified amount). If your first deposit is $100, you will be matched for $100. This money will not be paid to you outright. Rather, players get their match bonus paid to them incrementally through a “rakeback”.
This means that the more you play, the more money you will get back. The rake is how the site makes money––it is the fee taken for hosting cash games and tournaments. A match bonus is basically a rebate on your rake payments, lasting until your match bonus has been paid off. Both PokerStars and BetMGM offer a match bonus of up to $600. WSOP offers a match bonus of up to $1,000.
Most sites also offer other bonuses like loyalty programs and freerolls. Players who play often will increase their ranking in the program, which can earn them rakeback payments and other prizes.
Will West Virginia Share Player Pools With Any Other States
Currently, West Virginia does not share player liquidity with other states. This may be the state’s largest obstacle. In order to field a large enough player pool, West Virginia will likely need to pool its players with other states. Until then, online poker may not be financially feasible.
One option for West Virginia would be to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). This agreement already allows New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada to share player liquidity. If West Virginia is serious about online poker, joining the MSIGA, or a similar deal, must be a priority.
Do West Virginia’s Poker Sites Offer Mobile Apps
When West Virginia poker sites launch, mobile apps will be a sure thing. Every major site has an iOS and Android version of its site. Apps look almost identical to desktop versions, with the only notable difference being the ease of “multi-tabling”. On mobile apps, it is harder to play on more than one table at a time due to the smaller screen size. As a result, some players prefer to use their desktops.
In West Virginia, like other states, players will need to download an app and create an account before they can begin playing. The site will ask for basic information: DOB, SSN, email, and address. Once your data is confirmed, you will be ready to start playing!
Popular Ways To Deposit & Cash Out At West Virginia’s Poker Sites
Depositing and cashing out on poker sites is very easy to do. To deposit, you need to go to the cashier screen and select a payment method. Major sites will accept an array of payment methods––credit card, PayPal, bank transfer, etc. Once your payment is confirmed you will be able to start using it on the tables.
Withdrawing is just as easy. Go back to the cashier screen and select an amount of money to withdraw. You will receive your money by the same banking method you used to deposit. Withdrawals will usually take a few days as the site processes the request.
West Virginia Online Poker FAQs
21. Like for all forms of gambling, online or in person, the legal age to play is 21. This will be the same when West Virginia online poker sites launch.
No. PokerStars (nor any other site) is currently available for play in West Virginia. However, many people believe PokerStars will be the inaugural poker site in West Virginia.
No. As with PokerStars, WSOP has yet to launch a site in West Virginia. WSOP would first need to find a local, land-based casino partner before it could launch. For West Virginia poker players, WSOP is probably the best option as it is the most likely site to offer multi-state player pooling.
Yes! Legal online poker sites will be run through the West Virginia Lottery and regulated by the state.
If sites in West Virginia turn out to be like sites in other states, the smallest stakes will be $.01/$.02. Even players on a smaller budget should have no trouble finding a game that suits them.
The best time to play on online poker sites is always whenever the most people are playing. That way, you are more likely to find the cash games and tournaments you are looking for. This will be especially important in West Virginia if site traffic is lower than in other states. Typically, the best time to play is between 7 PM and 11 PM on weekdays and in the morning/early afternoon on weekends.