With all gaming regulations in the U.S. managed and administered at the state level, you can imagine that there are many nuances between the different states when it comes to poker and where it can and cannot be played. In Minnesota, some unique rules could very well have derailed the industry; however, the game continues to be very popular. This page will give you all the information you need about poker in the state, including a list of where you can find games to play.
Online Poker in Minnesota
Online poker in Minnesota was, as it as across the United States and around the world, hugely popular back in the mid-2000s. Of course, we all know what happened in 2011 that shut down many of the popular poker sites, but in 2009 the state of Minnesota tried to take things a step further and introduced legislation that would make the game explicitly illegal.
Thankfully, the bill did not pass, but to this day, online poker has yet to be regulated in the state. With all the discussion recently around legalizing online sports betting, there will be some inevitable talk about adding online poker to the mix, but for now, lovers of playing from their houses will have to wait a little longer.
Land Based Poker in Minnesota
The issues with the legality of online poker hasn’t stopped the game from being very popular at the land-based level. In fact, even with some regulations that are prohibitive from a player attraction perspective, there are still many poker rooms active in Minnesota.
According to the rules in the state limiting how much a player can bet or win in a session, No-Limit Hold’em cash games (by far the most popular) are not spread in the tribal casinos that have card rooms. Many will claim this is actually better for the sport as it forces players to have to learn to play and bet differently. Regardless, tournament players can still play NLH, and there is likely to be a push to change the rules if sports betting becomes legal in the state.
Here is a list of all the card rooms that are available in Minnesota:
Canterbury Park (Shakopee, MN)
Cedar Lakes Casino Hotel (Cass Lake, MN)
Fortune Bay Casino (Tower, MN)
Grand Casino Mille Lacs (Onamia, MN)
Northern Lights Casino – Walker (Walker, MN)
Running Aces Casino & Racetrack (Forest Lake, MN)
Seven Clans Casino Thief River Falls (Thief River Falls, MN)
Seven Clans Casino Warroad (Warroad, MN)
Shooting Star Casino (Mahnomen, MN)
Treasure Island Casino (Welch, MN)
Social Poker in Minnesota
When online poker was at ita heights from a real-money perspective, it was also immensely popular with a group of players who were never going to make a deposit. When the real money sites disappeared, players were left searching for games, and soon that hole was filled by the social media-based poker rooms like Zynga. These sites allow players from Minnesota to access thousands of players playing at free tables, but with a twist. Players can bypass the low stakes games and look for better competition by purchasing an amount of chips for real money. The downside is that players cannot cash those chips in again for real money, but from a training perspective, playing at these high limit tables will better replicate real money play.
Subscription Poker in Minnesota
Another solution for replacing real money poker that came out of the woodwork when the market crumbled in the early 2010s was sweepstakes poker. Some of these sites, like Club WPT, give players a chance to compete for prizes in a series of online poker tournaments by paying a one-time fee to the site each month. Unfortunately, Minnesota is not on the list of states where paying a subscription fee is allowed, but residents can play at other sweepstakes-style sites like Global Poker. Check out our review pages for details on all the sites that are open to Minnesotans.
Mobile Poker in Minnesota
These days, we are all seemingly doing everything we can using our mobile devices. The gaming industry was one of the first to realize that its product had to be reconfigured to meet a potential mobile demand, and today mobile poker apps are being used across the globe. In regions where real money online poker is legal, there are native apps for all the major platforms to be found in the app stores of the device. However, until that is the case in Minnesota, there are still several free play poker apps that can be downloaded. True, the gameplay won’t be nearly as strong as playing for real cash, but these sites do give players a chance to play hands from their phones or tablets, and for training purposes, every hand matters.
Online Poker in Minnesota FAQ
How realistic a chance is there that online poker will be legalized in Minnesota?
At this stage, although there have been no formal discussions on the topic, we remain optimistic that something will happen sooner than later. Minnesota already has legal live poker, and with states like Pennsylvania and Michigan passing more comprehensive online gambling laws instead of just sports betting, everything is trending in the right direction. Still, it is highly unlikely that any bill will be introduced and passed in the 2020 legislative session, so it will be at least a year before we will see any movement.
Can’t I just play at an offshore site?
Well, that depends. The major online poker sites like PokerStars and Party Poker have blocked all U.S. IP addresses. You could try to find your way around that, but if you are caught (and many have been), you could forfeit everything in your account. Some smaller sites that were not caught up in the crackdown in 2011 are also around and taking players from the U.S. – these present even more of a risk as they could shut down with any notice, and there is no action you could take to get your money back. We think you should stay calm and play with a subscription or sweepstakes site and work on getting better at your game for the time being.