Iowa residents, like many in the Midwestern United States, have a love affair with poker. Between the land-based poker rooms, the private games (shh… don’t tell anyone), and the online poker that was readily available in the 2000s, the popularity of the game has continued to grow over the years.
Today, the landscape is ever-changing, and this page will keep you up to date on everything poker-related in the state – from who laws that are changing could affect poker players to understanding the rules of all the games out there, we have you covered!
Online Poker in Iowa
Americans found themselves playing real money online poker by the millions in the 2000s when some of the largest games in the world could be found on these sites. While sitting at home, you could play against thousands of players and if you hit the right cards, you could be winning events with seven-figure prize pools! Alas, all of that came crashing down in the early 2010s when the sites offering online poker in the U.S., all of which were unlicensed, were shut down by the government.
These days, Iowa residents can only dream of the days gone by, and perhaps find a small glimmer of hope in the recent changes to sports betting laws. Iowa residents are now able to make online sports bets due to the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018, and with the door now slightly open, a conversation may occur to expand the bill to also allow for other forms of online gambling in the state.
Land Based Poker in Iowa
Well before people were playing poker for millions from their computers, poker in Iowa was flourishing at the land-based level. Today, those poker rooms continue to be full of players looking to make money in cash games or pick off their opponents in tournaments run daily and weekly. A couple of the rooms are significantly bigger than the others and host large-scale tournaments which attract players not only from Iowa but from all over the country!
Here are all the places you can play poker live in Iowa:
Catfish Bend Casino
Diamond Jo Casino Northwood
Grand Falls Casino Resort
Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs
Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino
Social Poker in Iowa
Real money online poker players found themselves out in the cold when the poker sites all shut down in 2011, but those who were playing for free or casually found some solace almost immediately in the social poker scene. Sites had been popping up all over the place on Facebook, and before long, there were millions of poker players hitting the digital felt. These sites give players two ways to play – either for free or by purchasing extra play money chips to bypass smaller stakes games altogether. Yes, we know this sounds crazy – buying chips that you can never cash out – but the sites running these games found out the players are also happy to play for recognition from their peers. The gameplay can be a bit suspect at times with so many play money players in the mix, but at the higher end, the quality of play definitely increases.
Subscription Poker in Iowa
Back in the days when online gambling laws were still cloudy in the U.S., many entrepreneurs were looking for ways to capitalize on a rabid poker player base. One way that a few groups came up with was by offering poker as a sweepstakes game. In 36 states, including Iowa, players can pay a one-time monthly fee to access these games, where they can then go on to win prizes of all shapes and sizes. One of the leaders in Subscription poker is Club WPT, where players have a chance to win their way to a live World Poker Tour event. If you haven’t tried these sites in the past, we encourage you to do so – until real money poker is back and live in Iowa, this may provide you with the closest thing.
Poker Training in Iowa
Even though you may not be able to access real money online poker in Iowa currently, one day it will return and when it does you want to be at the top of your game! There is so much to learn about the game of poker, and the best place to start is with our Poker Playing Guides. Most people who have played poker typically have only played Texas Hold’em, but there some amazing other variants that exist out there! With our guides to each of the different games, you can learn the rules quickly and start practicing at any play money online site that spreads those games! We also offer some tips and tricks courtesy of our in-house poker experts, and links to informative books, videos, and websites that can help you improve your game no matter your skill level.
Online Poker in Iowa FAQ
Can Iowa residents play online poker with any offshore sites, or are they all shut off from access?
Even though it appeared that all online poker sites were removed from the U.S. back in 2011, there are still a handful of smaller operators continuing to evade the law and offering their games to residents of Iowa and many other states. These sites may offer poker, but they have trouble processing payments, so getting your money to and from the sites may prove to be troublesome. In general, we don’t see the value in the additional risk you have to take to play with these companies that are not bound to any U.S. regulations.
If I am traveling to a state that offers online poker, am I allowed to play at those sites?
Good news! You do not have to be a resident of a state to play legal online poker in it! However, you will need to be located within the state borders to be able to access the sites, apps, and your account. If you are traveling to a state like New Jersey, you can just put in your personal information and make a deposit, but remember to clean up your account before you leave unless you want to leave your balance in there until you return.
I always feel like play money online poker is rigged – why is that?
This comes down to the skill level overall at the tables, as well as the lack of actual risk in playing the games. When there is no money on the line, players tend to bet entirely without fear, which doesn’t exactly replicate the real money game. Social poker is slightly better as a replacement, and subscription poker is even better. Play those games if you are looking for more than a shovefest every hand.