Poker players in Ohio are some of the most dedicated in the country. As the game grew in popularity over the last two decades, including a large influx of players in the heydays of the online game, many players from Ohio have gone on to win major events in the country.
Today, things aren’t the same as they once were for the entire U.S. poker industry, with each state managing the game within its own sets of rules. We are going to look at Ohio on this page, so our readers are up to date on what is and are not allowed in the state.
Land-based poker laws in Ohio
Before there was online poker that players could play for real money, the game relied on live card rooms to generate interest and play. This, of course, meant different pockets of interest across the United States because some state laws prohibited live play as well.
Thankfully for Ohio residents, the state has allowed for real money land-based poker for some time, and there are a handful of poker rooms open in the state. This gives Ohio poker players a chance to play their favorite real money cash games and tournaments. With so few in-state options, some players who live near a neighboring state border also look to those states for additional rooms open for play.
Where you can play land-based poker in Ohio:
Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)
Hollywood Casino Columbus (Columbus, OH)
Hollywood Casino Toledo (Toledo, OH)
JACK Cleveland Casino (Cleveland, OH)
Mansfield Gemini Poker Club (Ontario, OH)
Ruggles Blue (West Chester, OH)
Shark Tank Poker Club (Columbus, OH)
The Ruggles Club (Beavercreek, OH)
Online poker laws in Ohio
The online poker industry has been a rollercoaster for both operators and players for the last couple of decades. When online poker was first introduced to players in Ohio in the early 2000s, the excitement was there but not crazy. When Chris MOneymake won the 2003 World Series of Poker having qualified for the event online, everything blew up. All of a sudden, every day, thousands of Ohio players would find themselves at real money cash game and tournament tables with those from around the state, country, and world. Massive tournaments were being offered, and satellites to seemingly every big land-based tournament were available across the many operators.
However, this play was generated by offshore sites that were not fully adhering to U.S. law. IN 2006, the government passed a law to curb the growth of the offshore operators, and by 2011, all those real money poker sites that Ohioans loved were gone. Since then, states like New Jersey have passed state poker legislation, but Ohio has yet to follow suit.
Where you can play online poker for real money in Ohio?
There are no legal real money online poker sites open to Ohio residents at this time.
Alternative Poker Solutions in Ohio
As poker players started to wonder where they would be able to enjoy the game they loved online, many different variants of poker sites began to find their way to the mainstream.
Just before the entire U.S. market imploded in 2011, companies like Club WPT found a way to allow poker players to compete for real money and prizes without being designated as a real money poker site. Sweepstakes laws allow for these games to be offered as a contest, as long as there is no direct cost of entry necessary. Subscription sites like ClubWPT offer their games behind a paywall accessible by their VIP members, who pay a monthly fee for discounts, perks, and sweepstakes entries.
Also, falling under the sweepstakes model are sites like Global Poker. These sites don’t force players to pay a monthly fee, instead offering a marketplace where players can make purchases of different amounts. In return for making a purchase, buyers are rewarded with Sweepstakes currency, which can be used to play at cash game and tournament tables. Winners of these games can redeem their sweepstakes chips for cash of prizes with the site directly.
Facebook brought together billions of people onto one common platform, and this was the perfect launching pad for social poker sites. Banking on the fact that players would be keen to play for the right to promote their proficiency on the network, sites like Zynga Poker launched games that would allow players to play tournaments against huge fields while never offering cash prizes. These games are great for practicing, but the quality of play is slightly different than when real money is on the line.
Ohio Poker Frequently Asked Questions
When will online poker be legal in Ohio?
It is hard to say with certainty exactly when it will be legal, but with movement nearby in Michigan (the state passed online gambling legislation in late 2019), we suspect the interest in doing the same in Ohio will grow significantly.
What about the offshore sites? Can we still play there?
Most of the poker sites in existence block IP addresses from the United States, so they are a non-starter. However, playing poker online for real money is not illegal for residents of Ohio, so you do have the option of finding one of the few remaining offshore-based sites accepting deposits. These deposits, however, come with some risk – given the uncertain nature of the offshore market, players could see their accounts shut at any time without any legal recourse against the operators. While these sites can seem enticing, there is a reason they haven’t grown very much in the decade since larger sites left the market – there is too much risk associated with playing at these rooms.
What’s the best way to learn new poker games without real money online poker sites?
While playing for real money does give you the best overall quality of play, there is nothing stopping you from continuing to learn the game without that option. First, there are many players who only play Texas Hold’em, and there are many more fun and exciting variants of the game. If you check out our section on Poker Games, you will find simple guides to all the games like Omaha and Draw – how to play, hand rankings, and basic strategy.
You can also use all the available online resources like poker training sites and videos to expand your knowledge. There are loads of free play poker sites and apps that give you a chance to test out what you have learned without having to make a deposit – there is no excuse for anyone who wants to learn this great game!