You are here

Playing Online Poker in the State of Hawaii

Hawaii's state map
Hawaii's state flag

Online poker in Hawaii is just about the only way you can play cards in the Aloha State because there are no physical casinos or cardrooms anywhere in the state. If you had always just assumed that there were plenty of gambling options in the land of the hula, then you were mistaken. Hawaii is one of the strictest, if not the strictest, when it comes to land based gambling. There really isn’t much hope for this changing any time soon for players, but fortunately offshore sites have not been scared away from offering games in the state. Below we talk about the best Hawaii online poker sites not only in terms of offerings, but also promotions and why you would want to give your play to any of the great listed sites!

 

What Online Poker Sites Can I Play in Hawaii?

There are almost no venues for live, real money gaming in Hawaii, which is why many of its residents turn to online poker to get their betting thrills. Some sites that offer this game are run well and are dependable, but others among them are shady and untrustworthy. We've taken a look at all of them to safeguard you against operators that aren't all that they appear to be. All of the internet poker rooms below run their games fairly and process payouts without incident. Pick a poker home from the possibilities below, and you'll soon enjoy the poker action you crave.

 

    Ignition Poker

Ignition's Poker Features

As the largest online poker site open to Hawaiians, Ignition is certainly a worthwhile destination if you like to play cards. New players get a 100% up to $1,000 bonus, which clears at a rate equal to 30% rakeback in tourneys and sit-n-gos. The clearance rate varies a bit in ring game tables, but it is slightly less than in tournaments.

 Ignition Poker CTA: Play Now

Everyone remains anonymous at the Ignition tables, and they're identified simply as "Player 1," Player 2," etc. This is the case for the entire PaiWangLuo Network as a whole. Long-term player tracking is thus impossible, which prevents sophisticated pros from targeting their weaker adversaries. Newcomers to the game therefore feel comfortable here, and the player/flop numbers tend to be substantially higher than at most internet card rooms.

The Ignition Casino Poker room has cash games from $0.02/$0.05 up to $10/$20 for NL Hold'em, PL Omaha, and PLO/8. Additionally, there's LHE and LO8 up to $30/$60. Ignition's fast-fold poker product, called Zone Poker, is unlike anything else found at any competing U.S. poker rooms. In Zone, you can fold your hand and immediately receive new cards at another table. This leads to action-packed gameplay as the tedium of waiting for another round to start is eliminated.

SNGs are also a fine choice here. They run from $1 + $0.05 to $200 + $14, and there are a few non-standard varieties, like Triple-Ups and Beginners contests. Multi-table events occur every day, often with pretty sizeable prize pools. The signature weekly tourney is the $100,000 Guaranteed, which runs on Sunday and costs $150 + $12 to enter. Throughout the year, you'll encounter series, like the Black Diamond Poker Open, that allow you to test your acumen in your favorite poker formats and perhaps walk away with nice prizes.

The Ignition poker desktop software works with PCs and Macs, and Ignition's mobile poker web app is compatible with almost every smartphone and tablet on the market. However, it's focused entirely on cash games and lacks sit n' gos and tournaments. Another type of mobile gambling you can participate in here is the casino, which has hundreds of games. There's a 100% up to $1,000 bonus to try them out.

Professional Rakeback's Ignition cta

Ignite your poker game by clicking the banner above to go to the site now. You can instead check out our review of the Ignition Poker platform for further info first.

 

        Chico Network

Reasons for Playing at Chico Poker Image

PokerScout.com names the Chico Poker Network the third-largest place for ring game poker traffic open to Americans. Its top site, BetOnline, therefore contains the bustling poker action you so rightly desire. When you make your first deposit, you'll be welcomed with a 100% up to $2,500 bonus, worth 33% cashback.

Poker Play Now Chico Link

The blinds start at $0.01/$0.02 in cash games at BoL, but you can play as high as $5/$10 in No Limit Texas Hold'em poker and Pot Limit Omaha. Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo is the only other ring game that sees significant traffic. There's a Bad Beat Jackpot that's active at specially marked NLHE tables at $0.50/$1.00 and above. If you're fortunate enough to hit it, you could win more than $100,000.

Tournaments aren't really anything special here. Most of them have small guarantees and buyins of $33 or less. But there is one way to compete for a large prize pool: the $90 + $9 weekly Main Event on Sunday, which guarantees $50,000. On the last Sunday every month, the Main Event buyin is bumped up to $100 + $9 and the prize pool fattened to $100,000. Sit-and-goes are surprisingly popular at Chico with games from $0.05 to $200 + $10 starting up every few minutes. There is a $500 + $25 heads-up price point too, but you might have to wait a while for someone else to sit.

This room has developed and released download poker applications for PCs and Macs. There's also a well-engineered app for iOS and Android users, so you can hit up the tables while you're away from home. Besides poker, you'll get to try out casino games, sports betting, skill games, and more.

There are plenty of extra perks that BetOnline hands out to its regular players. You'll get comp points as you compete at the tables without having to do anything special. These points are good for buyins to select tournaments, and they're worth about 5% back on the rake and fees you pay. Furthermore, there are leaderboards for cash games, SNGs, and tourneys that hand out a total of $20,000 each week.

BetOnline cta - Profesional Rakeback

Follow the banner link above to begin sampling the excellent games at BoL today. If you like to know exactly what you're getting into before playing anywhere, then our thorough review of the BetOnline poker room may help. This site also has a sister company called Sportsbetting.ag, which you may wish to join instead.

 

    Horizon Network

Horizon Network's positives image

At Intertops, on the Horizon Poker Network, you know your money is safe because this firm has been offering real money wagering services for more than 30 years, working as an offline bookie first before establishing one of the first internet sports-books in the world. Although poker isn't the main revenue driver for this company, it nevertheless offers an appealing welcome package, including a 200% up to $1,000 bonus and 100 free lines to use on casino games.

Intertops Play Now CTA

Your bonus will release funds to you at approximately 27% rakeback equivalent, and you'll also get flat 36% dealt rakeback too when you sign up using our links. The 100 free casino bets are worth $90 or more when you elect to deploy them at the 21 tables. There's a monthly depositor freeroll of $1,000 to which you'll receive entry as well.

The ring games here are concentrated at microstakes, which is understandable when we consider the overall traffic levels at 'Tops. Sit n' gos seldom run, and those that do fire off tend to be at $5 or below. Multi-table tournaments are more prevalent although most of the schedule is for small stakes. There is a $50 + $5 contest called The Sundowner every day, and it guarantees $1,500 except on Sundays when it grows to $2,500.

Poker room management doesn't just want you to play a little bit and then move on to another room, which is why there are many recurring promos. A $4,000 rake race takes place every week, and the total rake you must generate to win a prize is pretty low. You'll get regular cash prizes from the Loyalty Tiers program and the ability to reload your account with a bonus about once a month. Tournament overlays are common especially on the live event satellites that are featured several times per year.

Intertops poker cta link

To head on over to Intertops and join up now, click the above banner link. For more data concerning the poker games at Intertops, consult our page dedicated to Intertops Poker.

 

     Winning Network

Positive elements of Americas Cardroom image

One of the selling points of Americas Cardroom is that it holds the #2 position in the poker player liquidity charts among all U.S-serving entities, and so it shouldn't be too hard to find a table at the stakes and game you want. As a newly depositing player, you'll be able to claim a 100% up to $1,000 bonus (worth 20% cashback) as well as $50 free to buy into Jackpot Poker SNGs. As you continue playing, you'll receive payments through the Elite Benefits program, and the prizes get more lucrative the more volume you put in at the tables.

ACR Play Now Banner

The high cash game player population is dispersed among quite a few real money poker formats. You can take a seat at $0.01/$0.02 penny games for big-bet Texas Hold'em and Omaha, but the stakes climb all the way up to $25/$50, ideal for high rollers. The fixed-limit selection is pretty good as well, with Hold'em, Omaha/8, and Seven Card Stud (split-pot and high-only) all present. Now, you won't find hundreds of games going in these variants, but there are usually a dozen or so limit tables running in total, so you can usually get in a game or two at levels you're comfortable with.

ACR and the rest of its Winning Poker Network cohorts are perhaps the online provders for poker that have put the most thought into their sit-n-go lineups, and it's no coincidence that we found Americas Cardroom to be the top room for single-table contests. Apart from the usual types of SNG that are prevalent basically everwhere on the 'net, there are also two unique variants that can't be found elsewhere: SNG 2.0 and Jackpot Poker (for which you'll get $50 gratis to play with). Each of them combines normal poker play with randomized elements to determine the prize pool.

Tourneys are big business at Americas Cardroom. Besides hosting the largest Sunday Majors available to Americans in NLHE (the $150K Gtd $200 + $15 Sunday Special) and PLO (the $35K Gtd $200 + $15 Sunday Special PLO), it also holds frequent special events. The $500 + $40 Million Dollar Sunday takes place every couple of months and pays out no less than a cool $1 million. The Online Super Series, appearing a few times per year, is made up of dozens of events with total guarantees easily rising into seven figures.

Americas Cardroom cta highlights

Take your seat at Americas Cardroom today by selecting the banner above. Read more about the reasons for playing here in our no-nonsense ACR Poker review page.

Americas Cardroom is the most prominent member of the Winning Poker Network, but it's not the only one. Just as with any other poker network, several organizations combine their player pools to offer a superior experience to their users. Other network sites that you might be curious about are: BlackChip Poker (read review), True Poker (read review), and PokerHost (read review). Rakeback is available at all of them; for instructions on how to proceed for a great RB deal, check out our page explaining rakeback at the WPN.

 

        Grand Network

Positive Features  of 5Dimes' Poker Room

Grand Poker is the brainchild of the folks at 5Dimes, one of the top sports-betting organizations around. It operated as a third-party on many preexisting networks before taking the plunge and opening up a new one in 2014. This means that the poker room isn't exactly as well-known as most of the other entries on our list, but the corporation behind it is first-rate and won't disappoint you.

You'll only see a few active tables at any one time here, and the stakes only reach up to $1/$2. These games are pretty soft, however, because they feature many sports bettors and casino game fans who aren't really acquainted with proper poker strategy. Compensating for the below-par player volume is the fact that you can play from a Mac, Windows machine, Android, iPad, iPhone and really every other “smart” platform with a web browser.

The tournament scene at 5Dimes is strictly economy-class becuase the highest buyin is $5 + $0.50. Yet, if such a price point is what you're after, there are few poker rooms superior to this one. This is because there are fee-free contests every day along with a $500 freeroll on Sunday. Combine these advantages with the 50% rakeback that you're entitled to as a reader of Professional Rakeback, and your profits can really accumulate.

5Dimes Highlights banner CTA

To acquire membership at this combination poker site/casino/bookmaker, use the “Visit Site Now” button above. Alternately, peruse our Grand Poker review to get more knowledge about it first.

 


 

How to Choose the Right Hawaii Online Poker Site

As you can see, there are many reputable internet poker providers to select from. No single one of them is best in all departments, so you'll have to think about your unique preferences and the types of games you play to identify one to register an account with. The right site for you might be different from what your friend or neighbor would choose. We can't make this decision for you, but we can highlight a few important considerations that you'll want to bear in mind as you weigh all the sites against each other in your mind.

△ If you want to see many tables with players at them, then the heavy player traffic at Ignition and WPN ought to please you.


△ If the size of your welcome bonus matters a lot to you, then Chico Network's $2,500 in free poker funds should satisfy you.


△ If you're looking for a room where you can play from your Mac or Mobile device, then Chico, Ignition, and Grand are probably your best bets.


△ If you're searching for poker that goes beyond the ordinary, then Ignition's Zone Poker along with WPN's SNG 2.0 and Jackpot Poker may appeal to you.


△ If you feel that VIP rewards are what's due to every player, then Winning Network's Elite Benefits and Horizon's Loyalty Levels may be just what you're after.


△ If you're in the market for rakeback rewards, then Horizon's 36% and Grand's 50% deals will deliver the cashback you deserve.


△ If you want to bet on sports and casino games in addition to poker, then Chico, Horizon, and Grand possess the broad range of wagering possibilities that you seek.

 

Payout Report for Players from Hawaii

Dollar Bills

It's a piece of cake to make a deposit and receive cashouts from the sites we recommend, and this is especially true if you utilize the digital currency Bitcoin. Although it does take a while to get all your BTC-related wallet and exchange accounts set up, making this initial investment will redound to your benefit many times over. If you don't know much about bitcoin but would like to learn how to use it, then read our instructional guide on getting started in Bitcoin. If you opt to use different cashier methods instead, you'll get your money with no problems, but there might be fees and delays involved.

 

Hawaii Online Poker Laws

Legal Reference Book

The laws relating to gambling in Hawaii are very strict, and they're contained in the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Title 37, Chapter 712, which is called “Offenses Against Public Health and Morals" and is split up into three parts, each dealing with a specific category of criminal activity. Part III is the section that treats gambling-related offenses. In 712-1223, we see that:

Gambling. (1) A person commits the offense of gambling if the person knowingly advances or participates in any gambling activity.
(2) Gambling is a misdemeanor.

Now that brings up the point of what counts as gambling. We can look in the definitions section of this part (712-1220) for some clarity on this matter:

"Gambling". A person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.

There follow exceptions for legitimate business transactions, futures contracts, etc. Nothing in these exceptions pertains to poker, so the applicability of this definition to the game depends on whether or not poker is a “contest of chance.” This terminology is also defined:

"Contest of chance" means any contest, game, gaming scheme, or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that skill of the contestants may also be a factor therein.

Ah, it's the old “Material Element Test.” This test is not a standardized one, like the SATs, where you know how the result is calculated. It rather is based upon the thought processes (and feelings) of whoever is deciding the test. Suffice it to say that it's not clear whether or not poker does depend “in a material degree upon an element of chance.” For more info on the inadequacies of the Material Element Test, see this paper by respected gaming attorney Erica Okerberg.

Based upon the vagaries of this definition, it's possible that you could theoretically be charged under Hawaii laws with gambling if you play online poker. However, this is mainly a language game with words and definitions. In reality, no individual player has ever been brought up on charges in the Aloha State. You can play from your home with utmost security in the knowledge that this “crime” – if crime it be – is ignored altogether by the enforcers of the law.

The owners and operators of real money gaming companies in Hawaii face stiffer penalties. Promoting gambling, possession of gambling records, and possession of a gambling device are just a few of the violations with which they could be charged. Some of these crimes are felonies. Nevertheless, almost no online gaming firm has decided to exit the HI market, so their counsel must feel that the risks of facing gambling-related charges are slim.

Hawaii does have a carveout for social gambling. As one might expect given the negative view toward gambling held by the authorities, the rules for social games are quite detailed. There are the standard proscriptions against anyone profiting other than as a player, and the game must be fair. In addition, these events cannot take place in public places, including parks, restaurants, school grounds, bars, and a whole litany of other specified kinds of properties. What's more, no business can profit by such a game even indirectly, e.g., by supplying food, drinks, etc.

 

History of Gambling in Hawaii

Makahiki Festival
Makahiki Festival Celebrants

Tribal Hawaiians loved to engage in a little betting especially during the annual New Year's Makahiki festival. Though its roots derive from traditional religious ceremonies, once the deities were paid their due, the games could begin. Chiefs and commoners traveled far and wide to watch their favorite champions compete in pohaku ikaika (stone lifting), mokomoko (boxing), and of course he`e nalu (surfing) among other tests of strength and physical agility. Spectators wagered among themselves on who would prevail. Over time, this gambling assumed a greater and greater role in the event with some risking all they owned on the outcomes. There are even reports, difficult to substantiate, that a few overeager bettors put their lives at stake. With such valuables on the line, it's easy to understand what writer Alton Pryor noticed in his “Little Known Tales in Hawaii History”: “The games seldom ended without fierce brawls between the different parties.”

Captain James Cook
Captain James Cook

British Captain James Cook came into contact with the native Hawaiians in 1778, and then other Westerners followed. Christian missionaries didn't like the large-scale gambling that was going on, and the practice was curtailed. Another form of betting arose to take its place though: racetrack wagering. The Hawaiian Jockey Club was established in 1872 by no less a personage than King Kalakaua who reigned in the years when Hawaii was an independent monarchy prior to being annexed by the United States in 1898. Horse racing remained common throughout the islands, especially among servicemen during WWII, until the late '40s. It waned in popularity thereafter, removing the only regulated gambling option for residents of the Islands of Aloha.

 

Regulation Chances for Online Poker

File Folder With Pages

With the lack of currently regulated real money gaming choices for Hawaiians, one might think that there's nothing much going on legislatively either. However, there have been dozens of proposed gambling-related laws introduced in the past few years that would permit online poker, slots in airports, commercial casinos, and more. Needless to say, none of the bills concerning these types of gambling were approved. The latest attempt was SB677 by State Senator Michelle Kidani. It would set up a Hawaii Internet Lottery and Gaming Corporation to conduct online wagering with the proceeds used to fund education. The bill was referred to committee and is not expected to pass.

There are no existing land-based casino or cardroom forces that could lobby for online poker licensing. The hospitality industry wishes to keep Hawaii family-friendly and retain revenue in their existing properties, so they're not likely to help either. And with a population of around a million and a half residents, the state is simply too small to attract much attention from outside entities who might wish to offer their services. We find it highly unlikely that Hawaii will establish a real money internet gaming licensing arrangement except perhaps as part of a future federal system for lawful online poker.

 

Land Based Gambling

Brick Building

This might be one of the easiest sections to write of any state, as there are no regulated gambling institutions in the state of Hawaii. They don’t have a state lottery, no types of casinos, they don’t allow charitable gambling, and there are no horse or dog tracks for patrons to go to. Apart from limited social games, the legal HI gambling scene is nonexistent. What most Hawaiians do when they feel like making a few bets is head over to Las Vegas, which has been called “The Ninth Island of Hawaii” due to the number of Hawaiians who take their vacations in Sin City.

Obviously, if regulated internet gaming were to come to the state, some big, big changes would need to be untaken. It’s not clear if companies would have to set up their own casino on the island or if they would just run the business from afar, but much would need to be done in the state to make regulated online gambling a viable endeavor. Don’t expect that to change any time soon.

 

Concluding Thoughts

There's no reason to abstain from real-money online poker in Hawaii because of the many internet-based sites available to you. Grab a cocktail, open a window to enjoy the fine weather, and play cards at the Hawaii online poker site of your choice. With any luck, you'll soon be hitting the “cash out” button and receiving your winnings shortly thereafter.

 

 

Do you have an address in a nearby state?

Hawaii and Neighboring States

If you are fortunate enough to have another address in a nearby state, be it your business address, summer home, second apartment, family home, etc, you may have other online poker options available to you.  Here are a list of the states that a typical Hawaiian resident might have a secondary residence in and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: Alaska, California, Florida, OregonNew YorkPennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. For info pertinent to some other state or to the United States as a whole, look at our guide to the U.S. online poker landscape.

There's a lot of ignorance about online poker in Hawaii. Please share this page with any of your friends and acquaintences whom you believe could benefit from it. This will help popularize and spread the truth about the game we like playing.