West Virginia has had a very interesting last few years when it comes to online gambling. It is one of the only states to have passed comprehensive, multi-vertical online gambling legislation, but it has had its fair share of bumps in the road getting regulated gaming off the ground. This page will focus on poker in the state of West Virginia – where you can play now, where you will be able to play in the future, and how to improve your game no matter what level you are.
Online Poker in West Virginia
We will start with the most pressing topic in the state when it comes to poker – the status of online poker in West Virginia. When online poker sites were launched back in the late 1990s, West Virginians took to them like most of the world did – seeing massive growth in the space, it felt like sitting in West Virginia, you could conquer the world one online poker tournament at a time!
Unfortunately, West Virginians ran out of luck when the Department of Justice found a way to shut down the sites that had helped to build the industry, and by 2011, the glory days of online poker were gone. However, the good news for West Virginia is that the government decided in March 2019 to pass legislation that would see online poker return in a regulated, legal environment. Since the passage of that bill, one of only a handful of bills covering poker, casino and sports betting, the launch of licensed online poker sites in the state has been stalled, but there is hope that the return to the digital felt will not take much longer. There will be a total of five possible licenses for online poker, but given that two of the licenses are owned by the same company, we won’t see more than 4 different poker networks available in the newly regulated environment.
Land Based Poker in West Virginia
The reason that there will be five online poker licenses awarded in West Virginia is that there are five licensed land-based gaming facilities, and each of these has a live poker room open to residents and visitors to the state. These five facilities all offer the chance for both residents of the state and those traveling to West Virginia the opportunity to sit down in a cash game in Hold’em or other disciplines (likely Hold’em though as this is still far and away the most popular form of poker) or nightly or weekly tournaments depending on the facility.
Given that each of these facilities has a live poker room, the odds are that they will each be very active in promoting and operating the online complements when they are ready to launch. The five land-based poker rooms in West Virginia are listed below:
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races (Charles Town, WV)
Mardi Gras Casino West Virginia (Nitro, WV)
Mountaineer Casino (New Cumberland, WV)
The Greenbrier (White Sulphur Springs, WV)
Wheeling Island Casino (Wheeling, WV)
Social Poker in West Virginia
If you just can’t wait for real money online poker to be back, or perhaps you don’t feel you are ready to play for real cash yet, we suggest you try one of the several social poker sites that you can access from your computer or mobile device. Social poker, played primarily for free and only for social recognition, has ballooned in popularity in the time that online poker disappeared from the U.S. landscape, and today companies like Zynga boast millions of players every month. These sites simulate the action you will find at a real money poker site, but without the full risk of putting up cash every hand. Now, the play will likely be far more loose than you might see in real games, but that shouldn’t stop you from using these sites to help practice tactics you have learned along the way.
Subscription Poker in West Virginia
If you want to try something in between social poker and real money poker, then a subscription-based site may be just the thing for you. Subscription poker takes advantage of a loophole in sweepstakes laws to allow online poker to be played for prizes in 36 different states including West Virginia. The catch? If you join one of these site, you have to pay a monthly membership fee to access the games. From there, all the games are free to enter, and you can play for hundreds of thousands of prizes every month.
Poker Training Guides
At Best U.S. Poker Sites, we know that showing you what games are available is only half of the story. We also want to make sure that you understand the games you may come across and that you are finding ways to improve your game at every turn. When you are talking about playing for real money, this is a no-brainer – the more you know, the more likely you are going to win. Our experts have come up with a guide for every game out there – how to play, the differences in betting styles, and where to find the best training tools. If you are just starting out or you are just looking for a new game to play, these guides will be of great value to you.
Online Poker in West Virginia FAQ
What is the holdup in the licensed sites launching in West Virginia?
We know that many poker players in West Virginia are wondering this as well, and the short answer is that the sports betting launch was the largest priority. If you have read the news, the launch of mobile sports betting in the state was mired with issues, and so it has taken a few months to get back on track. Now that it appears all is well on the sports betting side of the ledger, it shouldn’t be too long before we see how online poker is going to shape up in the state.
I have seen ads for sites that look like that they aren’t based in the U.S. Are they open to players from West Virginia?
They are indeed, but that doesn’t mean you should be running to open an account. These sites are not regulated in any way, and as has been seen in recent years, they could go out of business with no legal obligation to refund players who have money on the site. This is too much of a risk for poker players in West Virginia who are painstakingly close to having multiple regulated sites available in their backyards. Take a deep breath, and wait for the licensed operators to open their doors – you’ll be glad you did.