The Midwest is known for many things, one of which is a love of playing poker. Illinois is no exception to this, as the state has had a long history of land-based games, both legal and illegal, over the decades. Online poker was another big success in the state, but with changes in legislation, that part of the industry has faced its challenges.
To bring you up to speed on everything related to poker in Illinois, we built this page. Our team of experts gives you all the latest news or regulation and where you can play land-based cash games and tournaments. Our Poker Guide section can help new players as well as those who have an idea of how to play the game.
Online Poker in Illinois
With a rabid poker player base in the state, it is not surprising that Illinois was one of the states where online poker was the most popular when real money poker sites emerged in the 2000s. With so many players from the state playing in real money cash games and tournaments, it was a real jolt to many when the online games were stripped from the state (and the whole country) in 2011. Since then, players have been not-so-patiently waiting for the game to come back. The good news is that several states, including nearby Michigan, have passed comprehensive online gaming bills, including poker in them. While the sports betting bill that passed in Illinois does not have poker in the language, it is only an amendment away from being added once the sports betting sites are operational.
Land Based Poker in Illinois
Poker players across Illinois are very fortunate to not only have poker rooms scattered across their own state but several locations on the border of nearby states like Indiana and Wisconsin. You can check out or pages about those states to get more information on those rooms.
As far as land-based poker in Illinois goes, there is a wide range of rooms offering both cash games and tournaments to residents and visitors to the state. The state has hosted some large poker festivals as well over the years, with the backing of brands like the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker.
If you are looking to stay in Illinois and play live poker, you can choose from any of the following poker rooms:
Central Illinois Charitable Games (Tuscola, IL)
Chicago Charitable Games (La Grange, IL)
Chicagoland Charity Poker (Arlington Heights, IL)
Grand Victoria Casino (Elgin, IL)
Harrah’s Joliet (Joliet, IL)
Harrah’s Metropolis Casino (Metropolis, IL)
Hollywood Casino Aurora (Aurora, IL)
Jumer’s Casino (Rock Island, IL)
Par-a-Dice Casino (East Peoria, IL)
Windy City Poker Championship (Flossmoor, IL)
Social Poker in Illinois
Out of the ashes of the real money, online poker industry in the United States came the advent of social poker. In combination with the growth of social networks like Facebook and the displacement of millions of poker players in the U.S., social poker sites allowed players to get back to the felt if only in a play money scenario. These games, which rely on a player’s desire for recognition instead of winning money, grew to massive heights in the early 2010s and continue to be very popular today. You can check out our reviews of these sites to understand why we think they work very well as training grounds for online poker players in Illinois.
Subscription Poker in Illinois
Illinois residents have another way to get to play online poker that could win them lots of amazing prizes, and that is through subscription sites like Club WPT. These sites, which charge players a one-time monthly membership fee to access dozens of monthly tournaments, fall under sweepstakes laws. While the tournaments don’t award cash, there are still some great prizes up for grabs like seats at land-based World Poker Tour events. The gameplay is very strong, so this is another great way for Illinois poker players to keep their skills sharp without having to leave the house.
Mobile Poker in Illinois
When the real money online poker sites left the U.S. in 2011, playing poker from your mobile phone was not a realistic solution. In the decade since, mobile technology has improved so much that it seems like it’s the only way to play cards. Phones and tablets have displays large enough to be able to see cards and act easily, and many sites offer multi-tabling functionality as well.
While you are waiting for the real money sites to return to Illinois, you can head to your device’s app store and comb through the play money apps that are currently available. These apps will give you a chance to get used to how the game looks on a mobile device, which will put you ahead of the curve when the regulated sites finally return to the state.
Online Poker in Illinois FAQ
Is it easy to learn games like Razz and Omaha?
There are so many great poker games out there, and they all basically work off the same principles, so yes, it is relatively easy to learn how to play these games. Our Poker Game Guides give you the basis on the rules and the gameplay – with that knowledge, you can make your way to a free play game and test out the theories for yourself! With so many poker training videos and books out there, you can definitely learn to play these other games, which we believe are more fun at times that No-Limit Hold’em, which has become somewhat formulaic over the years.
I see some sites being advertised to Illinois players that offer real money games. Are they legit?
Technically, that depends on your definition of “legit.” First, there is no law preventing you from playing at an offshore online poker site – you are safe there. It is not legal for these sites to operate in Illinois, but as they all operate from countries like Costa Rica, it is almost impossible to stop them from offering their games. These poker sites have had their fair share of issues over the years, and the added risk that they could go out of business without any notice, taking your money with them, should be enough to keep you away from them as an option for playing real money poker. Stick to what is available in the state, and if you are traveling to a jurisdiction where online poker is legal, then you can jump into some real money action there.