Alaska is far removed from the rest of the United States, but it shares a lot of the same beliefs and values. It may be considered the Land of the Midnight Sun. However, when it comes to gambling, this state continues to be in the dark. There have been some possible changes coming to the gambling landscape in general in Alaska, but we are going to focus on the world of poker on this page – what can be played by folks in the state, where it can be played and how to improve your poker skills enough to make your way down to the Lower 48 for big events like the World Series of Poker.
Online Poker in Alaska
Alaska, despite being so far away from the other U.S. states, is still considered the same as the rest of the states when it comes to federal rules and regulations. So, when the online poker boom came in the early 2000s, Alaskans were able to play with the rest of their countrymen and with those from around the world that flocked to huge games being offered by Poker Stars, 888 and many more sites. However, those days were short-lived as the offshore companies running these sites were forced to shut down their American offerings. By the middle of 2011, there were no legal online poker sites left for people to play.
While some states have taken the initiative of creating legalization to make online poker legal, Alaska is not one of them. For the time being, there are no legal online poker sites open to players in Alaska.
Land Based Poker in Alaska
Alaska is one of the most conservative of all the states when it comes to gambling in general. Perhaps it is due to the population makeup, or the lack of direct access to activity in other states, but up until recently, there were no truly legal forms of gaming in the state. IT remains one of the handful of states that doesn’t even offer lottery games to its residents.
With that in mind, it should come as no shock that there are no land-based poker rooms in the state. Players have the option of traveling south into British Columbia and playing at one of the rooms there, but aside from that, players who want to play land-based poker are limited to home games.
Social Poker Sites in Alaska
Poker players (and pretty much anyone else) living in Alaska starved for social interaction have been able to find solace in companies like Facebook that have created massive social networks. One of the great offshoots of the social networks has been the rise of social poker sites. These sites, which are all accessible from Alaska, allow poker enthusiasts to play games against thousands of other players from around the world. These games, which do not award real-money prizes, still play with the same rules as regular poker, so they are a great way to keep a player’s skills sharp. There are loads of different social poker sites open to residents from Alaska, all of which can be found with a simple search on Facebook or one of the other social networks.
Subscription Poker in Alaska
The World Poker Tour was looking for a way to get more casual poker players involved and excited about their television events back in the heyday of poker. The WPT events are always very popular broadcasts in regions like Alaska, but some players are still intimidated by playing for real money to try to qualify for these massive land-based tournaments.
The Tour found a solution in creating a subscription-based site with its branding. Club WPT is one of the only sites of its kind, featuring tens of thousands of dollars in prizes available to be won in poker tournaments that cost only one simple monthly fee to access. The way that players from Alaska can access subscription sites like this instead of real money sites is that they qualify for sweepstakes status, making them fall under a different classification for legal purposes.
Club WPT allows players to win trips to their events around the world, meaning that for very little money, you could find yourself on one of the very broadcasts that Alaskans love to watch on TV.
Mobile Poker in Alaska
Most Alaskans are accessing the internet via their mobile devices like everyone else in North America, and the good news for poker fans is that the games that you love to play have been formatted to be played seamlessly from your phones and tablets. In fact, some companies haven’t even bothered to build a PC version of their games. This shift to mobile accessibility will continue to grow in the poker world, as new versions of mobile poker games are taking the shape and design fo phones into consideration when products are being built. A quick trip to the app store on your device will show you what mobile poker is available in Alaska for you to download and play.
Poker Guides and Training Tools
No matter if you are playing in a home game, on a free play site or at one of the subscription platforms, poker is a game that you can constantly get better at, and these days Alaskans have access to some of the best training tools available to everyone who wants to learn. We have a Poker Games Guide on this site that reviews hoe to play all the different types of games (you likely only have played Hold’em if you are a casual player), and if you check out that page you will also find links to other poker training tools and books that you can use to make yourself the best player possible at the tables.
Online Poker in Alaska FAQ
If I am traveling to another state, can I play online poker there?
That really depends on the state that you are visiting. Since the crackdown on online poker sites in 2011, only a handful of states have reopened legal options:
Michigan (launching in 2020)
If you do visit one of those sites, you can indeed register and play legal online poker, but when you leave the state, you are not going to be able to access your account, so make sure you tidy up all your transactions before you leave!
What about offshore sites or sites hosted in other countries – can we access them from Alaska?
Even though many of the larger sites no longer accept players from the U.S., there were a few smaller sites that managed to escape the wrath of the Department of Justice. Those sites are operating outside the jurisdiction of the U.S., and if you are willing to take the risk that you have no legal recourse if something were to happen to your account, then they are options. Bear in mind that we do NOT recommend these sites to residents of Alaska – poker is hard enough without adding the extra difficulty of trying to get your winnings out of one of these offshore sites.