New York has always been a state associated with gambling. Admittedly, most of what we think about when talking about poker in New York comes from movies we have seen about the mob, but the poker industry is, in fact, very popular above ground as well. Most of the growth in the game came with the introduction of online poker, but even in light of regulatory changes, many of the game’s best call New York home.
This page will tackle the state of poker in New York – what games are available, the status of real money online games, and where you can currently use your phones and tablets to get better at the game no matter where you are in the state.
Online Poker in New York
New Yorkers, especially those living and working in New York City, were thrilled to have real money online games to play when the industry launched back in the early 2000s. Before long, several professional online players were coming from the area, and soon these players became some of the most recognizable names in poker. There were millions of New Yorkers playing against players from across the country and cash games and tournaments at the major sites. New Yorkers were also able to play in online satellite tournaments that would send them to large land-based tournaments around the world, including the prestigious World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
The industry was in full bloom in 2006 when the U.S. government decided to step in and take measures to control the activity of the operators, which were all based outside the country. With the banking law passed that year, half the real money online poker sites left the market. Those that stayed enjoyed a few more good years before the Department of Justice took down the sites as part of a group indictment. Online poker as we know it changed forever in 2011.
Since that crackdown, there has been movement to legalize online poker in different parts of the United States, but not in New York. For the time being, players who are interested in playing real money online poker can travel to New Jersey and Pennsylvania while the state government decides what hey plan to do on the topic.
Land Based Poker in New York
One of the big issues facing New Yorkers, especially those living near New York City, is the lack of land-based options for real money poker. There are no casinos in the city, with land-based poker restricted currently to locations in Upstate New York.
Those who leave near Manhattan and want to get in some poker action can, of course, drive across the border to New Jersey, where there are several car rooms open for business. We have an entire page dedicated to poker in New Jersey, which outlines where you can play live. In the meantime, here is a list of the poker rooms open in new York:
Akwesasne Mohawk Casino (Hogansburg, NY)
del Lago Resort & Casino (Waterloo, NY)
Resorts World Catskills (Monticello, NY)
Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor (Schenectady, NY)
Seneca Niagara Casino (Niagara Falls, NY)
Seneca Salamanca Casino (Salamanca, NY)
Tioga Downs Casino (Nichols, NY)
Turning Stone Casino (Verona, NY)
Social Poker in New York
If you love the game of online poker and don’t really care if you are playing for money or not, the landscape doesn’t look nearly as bleak for your given the number of social poker sites and apps that have popped up in the last decade. Operating on the back of the massive popularity of sites like Facebook, social poker sites are more aspiration-based, with players trying to climb leaderboards and rankings, which in turn give them access to more exclusive games. These sites do make money, mainly from the sale of chip packages that allow players to bypass smaller buy-in games. Companies like Zynga have thousands of players playing cash games and tournaments ay any given time, so it’s a great way to simulate what it will be like playing in major real money tournaments when they return to the state.
Sweepstakes Poker in New York
With real money online poker sites gone, for the time being, players have been searching for ways to win cash playing cards online, and many have found a way to do so with the introduction of sweepstakes poker sites. These sites, which include Global Poker and Club WPT, give players “sweepstakes” entries in return for purchases. These entries can be used in special cash games and tournaments, and winnings either come in the form of cash or prizes. This allows these sites to take advantage of sweepstakes laws.
These may sound too good to be true, but they are legitimate, and winners are definitely being produced. We have reviewed a few of the top sites for you to have an idea of what to expect if you decide to choose one.
Mobile Poker in New York
Since the departure of the real money online poker sites in 2011 from the New York market, there as been a lot of innovation in the mobile device industry. Today, it seems like we do just about everything from our phones and tablets. This includes playing poker, as there are many free play poker apps in the store of your device available for download.
These apps may not feature the best quality of play, but given that the real money poker world is using apps in other locations, they provide a great way for players to get used to the intricacies of playing from a small screen.
Online Poker in New York FAQ
I heard there are some sites that still take real money players from New York. Is that true?
You have heard right – some of these sites do still exist. However, they are, for the most part, very small and cumbersome when it comes to payment processing. While these sites were not part of the last crackdown on online poker, the fact that they continue to break the law presents too much added risk for us to be able to recommend them to our readers.
How does the New Jersey online poker work – couldn’t I just come back to New York and play after playing there?
In order to comply with the state law that allows online poker for real money in New Jersey and other states, all operators must have geolocation for their sites and apps. This keeps all the play inside the New Jersey border, and if you go to the state and create an account, you will not be able to access it once you are back across the tunnel to New York.