There is no question that South Dakota has a love affair with poker. The game has been played there for ages, even featured in a television show about its most famous city of Deadwood. The residents of the state have had the luxury of playing both live and online in the past, but with the changing legal environment for poker, we wanted to put this page together to outline what is currently available in South Dakota. From where to play to how to play and everything in between, this is the one resource you need for poker in this great state.
Online Poker in South Dakota
It appears everything came together just perfectly to create the online poker boom that South Dakotans would take advantage of for the 2000s. From the introduction of hole-card cameras by the World Poker Tour to the introduction of online poker to the 2003 World Series of Poker won by an amateur online qualifier, everything exploded in 2003. Suddenly, anyone in South Dakota could pull up one of the poker sites on their computer and within seconds be connected to players from across the state, country and the world. Cash games were overflowing, and tournaments featured thousands of entrants playing for millions of dollars. It really was the golden age for the game.
Unfortunately, the one piece of the puzzle that was missing was the law. These sites that South Dakota players were enjoying so much were all based outside the United States, and their legitimacy from a regulatory perspective came into question. While the laws were a bit unclear, the government changed that in 2006 when the passed the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, making the banking transactions themselves illegal.
Between 2006 and 2011, all the major sites offering poker to South Dakotans left the market (some forcibly), and since then players have been left with no outlet for real money online poker. There have been some states that have passed online poker legislation, and with the amount of support for poker in South Dakota, it is hoped that the state will follow suit accordingly.
Land Based Poker in South Dakota
As mentioned, the state has a long history with poker, and this started well before online poker introduced many people to the game. South Dakota has many card rooms, but most of them are in border towns, so that is something to keep in mind when you are looking to find a game. These rooms all offer cash games that start at small stakes and are primarily No-Limit Hold’em, but the dealers are proficient so if you can get enough interest, they are likely to spread other games like Omaha and Stud. Many of the rooms also offer weekly tournaments which won’t break the bank but will give you the same rush as playing a big event.
Here is a list of the poker rooms that are open in South Dakota:
Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort (Deadwood, SD)
Dakota Sioux Casino (Watertown, SD)
Fort Randall Casino (Lake Andes, SD)
Grand River Casino (Mobridge, SD)
Lode Star Casino (Ft. Thompson, SD)
Prairie Wind Casino (Pine Ridge, SD)
Saloon No. 10 (Deadwood, SD)
Silverado Franklin Casino (Deadwood, SD)
The Lodge at Deadwood (Deadwood, SD)
Social Poker in South Dakota
While there are many poker players in South Dakota looking for a way to make money playing the game, a whole other group of players are only playing for entertainment purposes. These players used to enjoy the same confines as real money online poker players at poker sites, but now they mainly find themselves playing at one of the social poker sites open for business.
These sites, led by Zynga Poker, allow players to play to earn achievements and awards that they can show off to their friends. While there is no money to be won, many seem to love playing for the recognition, but there are many that also pay to skip past the early stages and just find themselves at the exclusive tables. These sites are a great way for South Dakotans to practice playing in a large-scale environment.
Sweepstakes Poker in South Dakota
Since there are so many American online poker players now searching for a way to gamble for real money, some companies have found creative ways to make this happen. One way that South Dakotans can play poker for real cash prizes is via sweepstakes sites like Global Poker. These sites offer tournaments and cash games as sweepstakes events, giving everyone a chance to enter with no purchase necessary. To receive a free entry, you must mail in a postcard with some information on it as you would for other sweepstakes. However, if you purchase some virtual currency from these sites, you can receive sweepstakes entries as a bonus, allowing you to head to those tables and play games where you can win real money!
It isn’t as confusing as it may sound, and it is the only legal way for players in South Dakota to play real money online poker, so we think you should give it a try.
Learning Poker in South Dakota
There are lots of way to stay sharp and improve your poker skills without being able to access games all the time. There are so many different variants of the game that you can learn, and we can help you get started with our Poker Game Guides. Whether you are looking for a refresher on Hold’em, or wanting to try something new like Short Deck Poker, our guides will give you the basics on every game, which you can then take with you to one of the many free play apps that are in the market today.
Online Poker in South Dakota FAQ
Are there still real money online poker sites accepting U.S. players?
There are, but we don’t recommend them. A small number of offshore-based companies have kept their sites open despite the closure of all the major sites. However, it is hard to say how long these sites will last in an environment where it is near impossible to get money to and from them. We think you are better served staying away from these operations.
Why is it taking so long to pass online poker legislation in the state?
It may seem frustrating, but online poker isn’t on the forefront of the discussions at the state government these days. Now, with online sports betting getting some interest over the last couple of years, we are hopeful that the discussion in South Dakota will extend to games like poker as it has in places like Michigan and Virginia.