Online poker in MI came within a pen stroke of approval in 2018 but eager players will have to hold out for at least another year. A bill that would have legalized Michigan poker online, as well as other forms of gambling, passed 33-5 in the state Senate and 71-35 in the House but was vetoed by outgoing Governor Rick Snyder just days before his tenure came to a close. New Governor Gretchen Whitmer has not said she will support a renewed push to legalize online poker in MI but lawmakers are optimistic she will be less hostile to the plan once it is passed again, which is all but certain given the overwhelming bipartisan support the bill received.
In the meantime, poker remains limited to the state’s 20 commercial and tribal casinos. The only form of online gambling permitted in Michigan is the state’s iLottery website, which offers Instant Keno and more than 30 instant win games that work the same way as online slot games even if they are not called that.
Online poker in MI exploded in popularity thanks to the World Series of Poker, which introduced millions of Americans to Texas Hold’em as well as other games. In fact, two men from Michigan made the final table of six at the 2018 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Unfortunately the popularity of Michigan poker online led to legal issues and online poker is now only legal in a handful of states. Poker in the Michigan remains limited to the state’s physical casinos and home games for now. Once online poker is legalized, Michigan could join the interstate network between Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, which allows players to play others across state lines. Pennsylvania will also join those states this year. Combined with Michigan, the five states have a population of 36 million.
Texas Hold’em is the most popular variation of poker, even before its rise in the World Series of Poker. Every player gets two “hole” cards that only they can use and five cards are put into the community for all players to use to make the best five card hand, with a round of betting after the flop (first three cards), turn (fourth card), and the river (fifth card). Before and after the cards are drawn, players can check, call, raise, or fold. The player with the best five card hand between their hole cards and community cards at the end of the betting rounds wins all of the money in the “pot.”
Omaha is another variation of poker that is very similar to Texas Hold’em. Instead of two hole cards each player gets four but the community is still five cards and there are three rounds of betting after the flop. Unlike Hold’em, players are required to make the best five-card hand using exactly two of their hole cards and three community cards, whereas Hold’em has no such limitations. Omaha comes in several variations, including the popular Omaha Hi-Lo. Other popular forms of poker include seven-card stud, five-card draw, and Razz. Many of these are offered online in states where it has already been legalized and online poker in MI appears just over the horizon.