When people think of Wisconsin, a few things immediately come to mind: beer, cheese and the Green Bay Packers are typically at the top of the list. However, what if we told you that Wisconsin was home to some of the best poker players in the world and that online poker has a direct connection to that state?
Our Wisconsin Poker Page will review everything you ever wanted to know about playing poker in the Midwest state. From where to find the best live games to why online poker grew so quickly in that region, you’ll find it here courtesy of our team of experts.
Online Poker in Wisconsin
Poker has had deep roots in Wisconsin, and when online poker sites burst onto the scene in the early 2000s, they had one major backer in particular from the Badger State. Phil Hellmuth, the 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, hails from Madison, WI, and was the lead promoter of online giant Ultimate Bet in its heyday. Online poker was so popular in the state that many Sundays, the sports bars would be packed with sports fans watching their beloved Packers but with laptops lining the bar so players could play all the big Sunday tournaments.
The death of real money online poker in the U.S. hit those in Wisconsin particularly hard, as there had become a great deal of residents who had chosen to play poker as their full-time profession. Sadly, the online games are gone for now, but with renewed interest in online gambling at a state level due to increased interest in legalizing sports betting, there is a glimmer of hope for those who dream of the days when they could play online poker for hours on end.
Land Based Poker in Wisconsin
Of course, the love and popularity of online poker in Wisconsin comes from the same deep-rooted love for playing live poker in the state. Wisconsin boasts a rabid poker player base in the state, which can be seen whenever a land-based tournament series rolls through.
An interesting twist in the state law in Wisconsin actually allows for poker tournaments to be held at bars around the state. This is one of the main reasons that the game continues to be so popular -you don’t have to go to a casino to play. There are bar tournaments all over the state on a regular basis, and in Madison, you will find a weekly schedule that rivals many casinos in Las Vegas!
For those of you looking for more official games, there are 5 poker rooms in the state open to residents and those traveling to Wisconsin. Each of these rooms offers multiple tables of cash game action, as well as typically a couple of daily tournaments or a larger weekly event for fans of that discipline. Here is a list of the 5 poker rooms in Wisconsin:
Bad River Lodge and Casino
Lake of the Torches Casino (Nothern Highland)
Oneida Casino (Green Bay)
Potawatomi Casino (Milwaukee)
Seven Winds Casino
Social Poker in Wisconsin
With so much land-based poker action in the state, there are still many players who either don’t want to play live or don’t have the ability to get o one of the card rooms offering poker. For these folks, in a post-real money poker environment, social poker has become very popular. Sites like Zynga Poker and WSOP Poker have brought tens of thousands of Wisconsin poker players together with millions from around the U.S. to create massive tournaments that, while they don’t give out cash prizes, still offer strong competition. These games are great for those looking to have the look and feel of real poker but don’t want to spend any money on the games.
Subscription Poker in Wisconsin
Another way that Wisconsin is now involved in poker, albeit from a distance, is in the emergence of subscription-based sites like Club WPT. The World Poker Tour is behind a site that allows players to pay a one-time monthly fee for access to a month’s worth of tournaments. The sweepstakes-style offering adheres to state laws in 36 states, and the culmination of every month’s Club WPT schedule is a tournament where players can win a trip to a WPT land-based event….where they can meet Wisconsin’s own Phil Hellmuth who is now a part of that team.
Poker Training and Learning in Wisconsin
Back in the 2000s, when online poker was booming, Mr. Hellmuth once again found himself as the center of attention when he launched a series of 3-day intensive poker instructional camps. Players flocked to Las Vegas to spend three days learning from Hellmuth and many of his Wisconsin brethren. While those camps are not being offered currently, those of you wanting to learn from one of the state’s finest can find countless books and videos from the WSOP champ.
We also have a full section dedicated to making you a better poker player. Our How-To Guides give you the basics on how each of the games is played, which is a great way to get to know a game like Razz before you sit down at the felt. We also have some tips and tricks for those of you who want to improve your cash game or tournament play. Poker is a game that is constantly evolving, and staying on top of the latest strategies could be the difference between being a winning and losing player.
Online Poker in Wisconsin FAQ
Can the bar games in Wisconsin be busted by the cops?
No, the games are completely safe from a legal perspective. In fact, often, the police are told when and where the events are taking place to help potential robberies at the games (this is not meant to scare you, it is just something they do to protect their players in Wisconsin).
Isn’t there a way for me to play online poker for real money from Wisconsin today?
Well, technically, there still is, although we don’t recommend it. The online sites that survived the purge of 2011 (the focus of that was the large sites who were making millions) are still around in some form. You may find a few hundred players at one of these sites, but given the stress of having to try to get money to and from these offshore sites (sometimes having to use prepaid cards or Bitcoin) and the fact that if they shut down, you have no way to track them down legally, we just think it is better for you to find the alternatives that are legal and closer to home.