Poker in Illinois: The Current Situation
Playing poker in the state of Illinois is legal, and the casino industry in the state continues to grow. There will be new casinos built in the coming months, that's for sure. Unfortunately, there won't be any Illinois online poker rooms coming anytime soon.
The first step to making online poker a reality here would be to legalize online casino gambling. There have been some attempts at doing this in recent years. Poker players in Illinois would benefit from a change in the state laws as it would allow them to play poker from the convenience of their own homes.
As other states around Illinois explore or launch iGaming, it will put pressure on Illinois lawmakers to do the same. Online poker will be coming at some point, but it could still be a few years away.
Illinois Online Poker Legislation
The state began to explore the idea of legalizing online poker in 2017. That was when the state was looking for new revenue sources. A bill passed through the Senate that year by an overwhelming vote of 42-10. Unfortunately, it died out in the House.
When the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting in 2018, Illinois lawmakers shifted their focus to legalizing that. In the process, they set online poker aside. In 2019, Illinois passed an Expanded Gambling Act, and sports betting was officially legalized.
Proponents of Illinois online poker were hoping to get online casino gambling included with that bill. But that didn't happen. No further action has yet been taken to push this issue. However, there is enough support from Illinois lawmakers to at least get the discussion back on the table at some point.
In other words, there is still hope.
Illinois Online Poker Sites
When Illinois does launch online poker sites, this will be the first section that you will want to look at. We will provide a list of all of the top online poker sites in the state. We will also highlight the top offers from each one.
It's unclear at this time what sites will offer online casino gambling when it becomes an option. That said, there are a few companies that are likely to be on the list. These are companies that are already offering sports betting in Illinois. They will therefore be likely to add online casino and online poker gaming as soon as they are permitted to do so.
Some of the companies that you are likely see on the list of best Illinois online poker sites are:
Picking the Best Online Poker Rooms
Although there aren't any Illinois online poker rooms currently operating, when they do arrive we'll highlight the best of them. The key features that we look for in a poker room are as follows:
Player Pool and Game Selection
The first things that we consider are the number of players and the total number of games that are available. It's important to find a site that has a large player pool, as that means more action.
We'll also outline the different games that are available at each online poker room, as those will vary. This will allow you to choose a poker site that offers the games that you most enjoy playing.
The next thing that we look at when reviewing an online poker site is bonus availability. Bonus offers typically include some form of free bet or deposit match, albeit with playthrough requirements attached. We take all of the information at hand and show you which Illinois online poker sites have the best bonus offers.
All of the online poker rooms that we will discuss will be legal and regulated in Illinois. However, that doesn't mean that they will all offer the same level of security. All legal venues will be safe, but some online poker rooms will go the extra mile. That can give you a lot more peace of mind when signing up.
All of this will be broken down for you in detail. The site that have the best security will also be ranked higher than those that don't.
Different online poker rooms tend to use different software providers to power their platforms. That variation can make a big difference for you as a player. Platform type might not be important to everyone who wants to play online poker, but it is to many.
The online poker rooms with the best platforms will provide a smooth and comfortable experience for the player. They will also make the entire site will be easy to navigate. This is one of the most important aspects we will look for when picking the best Illinois online poker rooms.
It's very likely that many of the online poker rooms in Illinois will have an associated mobile app. Those will also vary in quality. Ideally, the mobile experience should be very similar to what you would find online, and allow you to play all games.
Before choosing the best Illinois online poker room, we will take a close look at how any associated app functions and operates.
Land-Based vs. Online Poker
The actual rules of poker are exactly the same whether you are playing online or in a land-based casino. Even so, there are some major differences in how it is played. For this reason, some poker players have a clear preference for form over the other.
Some of the main things that will notice when Illinois online poker becomes legal are are as follows:
One of the biggest difference between online poker rooms and their offline cousins is the number of tables that are available. Land-based casinos are typically restricted in the number of poker tables that they can have by their size, not to mention cost.
That isn't the case online. As more players start visiting an online poker room, the number of available tables can be increased. Similarly, the range of tables can be expanded to accomodate the needs of those players. For example betting limits and buy-in levels can be widened.
Another major difference will be seen in the pace of play, as online poker games tend to go much faster. Some online poker rooms will set timers for each player, which means that decisions will have to be made quickly.
As long as all of the players are active in the poker room, bets can be made quickly, and a hand can be finished in a matter of minutes. Of course, this doesn't mean the speed of online poker makes it superior to land-based poker. Some players prefer to take their time when making decisions, in which case offline poker would be better.
Easy to Switch Tables
You will also come to appreciate that it is very easy to switch tables in an online poker room. It won't be necessary for you to wait to cash out as you would in a land-based casino. Instead, you can simply take your chips and move to another table.
The poker room lobby will have all of the available tables listed by type. That makes it very easy to switch from one table to another.
Signing Up with an Online Poker Room
Even though Illinois online poker is not yet legal, when the rules change the sign-up process will be simple. We know this because it will be very similar to signing up for an online sports betting account.
The sign-up process can normally be completed in less than ten minutes. But first you will need to choose an online poker room that you want to play at.
It is likely that there will be several Illinois online poker rooms for you to choose from. You should feel free to sign up at multiple sites if you would like to do that. Just make sure that every site you join is properly regulated according to the law in place at the time.
The Sign-Up Process
You will first be asked to provide some basic personal information. Rest assured that this is for the casino's eyes only. Information that you will be asked for will include:
- Legal name
- Date of Birth
- Social Security Number (last four digits)
The online poker room will then use this information to verify your identity. When that has been done, you will be asked to create a username and password. You will need to use these every time you sign in to the new account.
Be sure to choose a username that you will remember, and pick a password that you haven't used elsewhere. Some online poker rooms will also allow you to add an additional layer of security to your account. This is always a wise thing to do if the option is given.
With that done, you'll be all set to log in and start looking for a game to play. Before you do that, however, you may first want to put some cash into your account.
The banking options that will be available at Illinois poker sites will be very similar to those at online sportsbooks. Methods of depositing and withdrawing money will be safe and secure, and easy to use.
Your chosen Illinois online poker room will naturally be keen for you to play with real money. It will therefore do everything possible to make the process as user-friendly as possible. One way it will do this is by giving you several deposit options. The most common ones are:
- Online Bank Transfer
- Prepaid Card
- Cash at Casino Cage
There typically aren't as many withdrawal methods available as deposit methods, but the process is still easy. Some deposit methods are reversible, in which case withdrawing via the same method is the fastest option.
If you can't use the same method as the deposit, other options will be made available to you. Those might include:
- Check by Mail
- Cash at Casino Cage
How to Claim an Illinois Online Poker Bonus
Online poker bonuses sometimes need to be claimed rather than being issued automatically. You should check the terms of the bonus to find out if this is the case.
Bonuses which need to be claimed will require you to enter a promotional code. This is done when you make your initial deposit. A space for you to enter the code will be provided. Enter it, but always check that it is accurate before submitting it. If you enter a code incoreectly, you could miss out on the bonus altogether.
Once you have made your deposit or logged into the site, you should see the free bets or site credits that come with the bonus. From there, you can start using this bonus when playing online poker.
Most online poker bonuses will come with what is known as a playthrough requirement. This is the number of times that the bonus must be used before it can be withdrawn as cash. Be sure to keep track of any such requirements and complete them before the stated deadline.
Illinois Online Poker Mobile Play
When Illinois legalizes online poker, it is almost certain that you will be able to play on mobile devices. This has been the case in other states that have already made online poker legal.
If you would like to play poker on your mobile, think about this from the outset and check to see that your chosen venue has a suitable app.