Poker players in New York can enjoy playing various poker games from the poker rooms available in the state. There are four commercial casinos and four tribal casinos, all of which offer live poker games.
This article will discuss the brief history of poker in New York, its legality, various poker rooms and casinos available, and online poker sites accessible to New Yorkers.
Poker was really prominent in New York in the 1960s and ’70s with the introduction of backroom underground card gambling. It was mostly run by Eastern European immigrants. This era gave birth to three-time World Series of Poker Main Event champion Stu Ungar, among others. He learned the game in his father’s bar called the Foxes Corner, as the bar offered underground illegal gambling for interested players.
Stu’s success played an integral part in the popularity of poker in New York in the ’80s into the ’90s. Although there were no commercial casinos in New York at that time, the Native American Casinos were enough to keep players interested in the live tournament poker that was growing popular at that time.
The first land-based casino to open in New York was the Turning Stone Casino Resort, which was opened in Verona, New York in 1993.
In the early 2000s, poker started booming in New York City. A contender, Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino opened in 2002. Since then, other commercial casino properties have been springing up in the state. New York City poker players also always have the option of heading over to Atlantic City in New Jersey to get their fix.
The Legality of Poker in the State of New York
The New York Penal Code, section 225.00 states that “a person engages in gambling when the person wagers or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance”. The law goes on to define a game of chance as “any game, contest or device where the outcome depends on chance, even though the skill of the player is a factor”.
As such, any form of gambling in New York that is not performed in a licensed and regulated outfit is illegal.
Live pokers held in casinos that are licensed are not considered illegal. However, running an online poker site in New York is illegal as the legislation has not made it legal to run an online poker site in the state.
There is no law in New York at the moment against online poker. In the same, vein there is also no law saying it’s legal, but no one thus far has been jailed or prosecuted for playing online poker in New York. Lawmakers are still working to legalize and regulate online poker, mostly so they can reduce the instances of fraud and other issues associated with offshore online poker sites.
Poker Rooms and Casinos
Some poker rooms in New York are Turning Stone in Verona, Seneca Niagara in Niagara Falls, Rivers Casino in Schenectady and Resort World Catskills in Monticello.
Turning Stone Resort Casino
Turning Stone Resort Casino is the first legal poker room in the New York, and it was established in 1993. The casino is home to 1,715 video gaming machines including slots, video poker, and keno. They offer a variety of poker games ranging from Limit Holdem to Non-Limit Holdem, Omaha 8, Omaha, Sit-n-go, and 7 card stud.
There are big tournaments such as Empire State Hold ‘Em Championships, which offer a guarantee prize pool of $50 000 and $100 000.
Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino
This casino features over 3,600 slot machines and 90 house-banked table games. It was established in 2002 and is the second legal poker room/casino in New York.
The Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino offers high-hand bonus, bad beat jackpot, and a weekly tournament with a $20 buy-in and a guaranteed prize pool of $1,000.
Rivers Casino & Resort
This amazing casino was established in 2017, it boasts 1,150 slot machines and 67 house-banked table games. It offers promotions such as a high-hand bonus that could include free entry into tournaments, and a bad beat jackpot. They also have big tournaments like the Rivers Poker Open that has a guaranteed prize pool of $200,000, Capital region Classic with a guaranteed prize pool of $100,000 and the Monster Stack with a guaranteed prize pool of $100,000.
Resort World Catskills
The Monticello based casino was established in 2018 and features 2,150 slot machines and 150 house-banked table games. Resort World Catskills offer a bad beat jackpot, high-hand bonus. This poker room is open 24/7 and features poker games like Texas Hold’em, Seven Card Stud and Omaha.
Other live poker casinos include Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort, Senaca Allegany Resort and Casino, Tioga Downs Casino Resort, and Del Lago Resort and Casino.
Online Poker Sites
Players that are 18 years of age or above are welcome to play online casino without fear of being jailed. Below are some online poker sites that accept players from New York.
Bovada’s poker site has a variety of games ranging from Texas Hold’em, Omaha Poker, and Omaha 08 cash games. New players are entitled to a 100% first deposit bonus of up to $500. You can download the poker game on your desktop computers, and it is compatible with Windows and Mac.
Cash games available at Ignition poker site include No-Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Sit and Go games, fast-fold Zone Poker, and hyper-turbo Jackpot games. The best feature of Ignition Poker is the anonymous tables. Rather than usernames, players get represented by seat numbers, and this helps to level the playing field for both old and new players. It offers a 100% welcome bonus of up to $1,000.
Other online poker sites accessible to New York players are Betonline Poker, Americas Cardroom, and Black Chip Poker.