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Playing Online Poker in the State of Missouri

Missouri
Missouri Flag

Playing poker online in Missouri isn’t difficult at all even if there are a few sites that have decided not to service the state. You, as a player, still have several excellent real-money Missouri online poker sites to choose from. The decision to not provide players with access to a few sites isn’t born out of laws against private citizens playing Missouri online poker, but a legal gray area for operators that some simply do not want to attempt to traverse. 

The great thing for players in Missouri is that a lot of great options are still available to them.  Ignition Poker, Chico Poker Network, Grand Poker Network and Winning Poker Network all offer their full complement of online poker games in Missouri. These sites offer many different advantages and allow all of our players of all types to find the perfect games for them to take a seat in.

 

What Online Poker Sites Can I Play in Missouri?

When reviewing the options for online poker in Missouri, it's important to seprate the honest and dependable from the flaky and shady. Fortunately, we've already done this laborious task for you, so all you have to do is choose a site from our list below, sign up, make a deposit, and play. All of the rooms we steer you toward pay out winners promptly, have plenty of bonuses and rewards, and are continuously striving to improve their poker product.

 

    Ignition Poker

Ignition's positive attributes graphic

If you haven't yet heard of Ignition Poker, then perhaps you know it by its old moniker: Bovada Poker. Ignition is the same reliable room just rebranded, and it's the largest site for Missouri residents to play virtual cards at. As a new depositor, you'll be entitled to grab a 100% up to $1,000 poker bonus. This deal will return back to you 30% of the rake you pay if you max out the bonus value and an even higher percentage if you elect to deposit less.

 CTA: Ignition Poker Play Now

Ignition and the rest of the PaigWangLuo Network take recreational poker players seriously, and to this end, they have deployed anonymized gameplay in all their ring games, sit n' goes, and tournaments. Nobody can track your identity here because they'll see you as just "Player 1" or "Player 2," etc. This model has proven very popular with inexperienced players, and this is the main reason why the games here are as soft as butter.

You'll be able to join NLHE and PLO tables from $0.02/$0.05 through $10/$20, and PLO/8 is also present. Limit Hold'em and Limit Omaha/8 round out the cash game selection. Actually, there's one other type of cash game present: Zone Poker. In Zone, you can fold your hand at any time and be brought to a new table with new hole cards to start a new hand. The action really moves along at a steady clip in Zone because you don't have to wait for any hand to complete before proceeding to the next one.

Moving along to the tournament lobby, you'll see events for buyins both low and high. The signature weekly contest costs $150 + $12 to enter, and it guarantees no less than $100,000 to the winners. If the regular MTTs aren't enough to get your heart pumping, then stay on the lookout for recurring tourney series, like the Black Diamond Poker Open, which usually has around 100 events or more and pays out massive prize pools. If single-table tourneys are your preference, then you'll be able to play them for between $1 + $0.05 and $200 + $14.

Ignition also maintains a set of casino games for you to enjoy. There are hundreds of video slot machines along with blackjack and other table games. On top of your $1,000 poker bonus, you'll also get another 100% up to $1,000 free with your deposit to check out the casino section, and there are frequent reload bonuses too.

Professional Rakeback Ignition cta

There's no time like the present to join Ignition, so click the banner above to get your poker and casino deposit bonuses. You can also peruse our report on Ignition's games and promos to familiarize yourself with what to expect.

 

        Chico Network

Chico's positive attributes image

The Chico Poker Network is an all-encompassing solution that hopes to become your home for poker, casino games, sports-betting, and whatever other wagering activities you seek. In order to achieve this goal, its top site, BetOnline, is ready to present you with a 100% poker bonus up to a value of $2,500 with your initial deposit. The bonus pays out in small, $5 pieces whenever you accumulate $15 in rake, so it's equal to getting back 33% of what you put in.

CTA for Chico Poker Play Now

You can play from a Windows or Mac when you install the poker program to your desktop. If you'd rather poker while away from home, there's a robust mobile app that works with iOS and Android. It contains almost all the same games as the normal poker software features, and the overall layout and design of it are top-notch.

Ring games start as low as $0.01/$0.02 and climb up to $5/$10. Some of the No Limit Hold'em tables at $0.50/$1.00 and above are special Bad Beat Jackpot tables. They do take an extra drop to fund the pool, but if you take a qualifying hand to showdown, you could win more than a hundred thousand dollars instantly. Besides NLHE, you'll also encounter PLO and PLO/8 cash games.

Sit-n-gos commonly take just a few minutes to fill at levels from $0.05 to $200 + $10, and there are sometimes more than 100 of them running simultaneously. We wish we could say the same for the multi-table tournaments, but this is one of the few areas in which BetOnline is lacking. Other than a weekly major event that guarantees $50K ($100K on the final Sunday of each month), there are few tourneys of note here.

Regardless of the type of poker you play (SNG, MTT, or cash), you can advance in the leaderboards, which pay out, in total, $20,000 per week. If that's not enough for you, you'll also get comp points that can be used to register for  specified tournaments. You should also be aware that you can take advantage of special promotions in the attached sportsbook, racebook, and casino too.

 

Professional Rakeback's BetOnline cta

What are you waiting for? Join up at BetOnline now by clicking on the link above. To read more about this room before visiting the site, browse through our comprehensive and accurate BetOnline review. BoL also has a sister site, called Sportsbetting.ag, which you may wish to investigate also.

 

     Winning Network

Winning Network's positive attributes image

When you open up the tables at Americas Cardroom on the Winning Poker Network, you'll be trusting in the reputation of an operator that has been around, in one form or another, since 2001. You'll also get some free welcome perks, designed to give you a head start in achieving your poker goals. There's a 100% up to $1,000 bonus (worth 20% rakeback) with your name on it along with $50 in free tourney bucks to use on Jackpot Poker SNGs.

ACR Play Now

ACR is renowned for the non-standard poker gameplay that it hosts. There are two unique forms of sit-and-go, called SNG 2.0 and Jackpot Poker. Then there are also on-demand tournaments, which are a kind of hybrid of SNG and MTT, plus the time-based Cage tourneys, a mixture of regular tournaments and cash games. With such a variety of game types, you'll never get bored.

This broad array of games carries over into the cash game tab because you'll find NL Hold'em, PL Omaha, 7 Card Stud, Limit Omaha, and Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo. Pretty much all of these variants have a table or two running most of the time although, as you'd expect, most of the active games are for No Limit Texas Hold'em poker. The stakes range from $0.01/$0.02 up to $25/$50 in big-bet formats and they get even higher for fixed-limit poker.

The Sunday Major at WPN is called the Sunday Special. It costs $200 + $15 to play, and there's $150,000+ up for grabs every week. This is the largest weekly event open to American online pokerists. Every once in a while, there's a Million Dollar Sunday that costs $540 to enter and pays out, as its name would imply, a cool $1 million. Regular tournament series, like the OSS, give you something to look forward to on top of the normal excitement at Americas Cardroom.

Cash gamers and SNG fans both get to compete in weekly leaderboards, called The Beast and Sit & Crush respectively. The funds for the prizes come from the regular rake; there's nothing extra charged. They pay out thousands of dollars in cash as well as valuable satellite tickets to hundreds of players. Everyone can participate in the Elite Benefits rewards scheme, which grants you monetary payouts as well as other goodies as you reach predetermined point totals.

ProfRB's America's Cardroom cta

You can try out all the different types of poker present at Americas Cardroom when you follow the banner above to navigate to the ACR website. Or you can look over our informative Americas Cardroom review first to get a heads-up on what to expect.

Besides ACR, there are also a few other well-regarded organizations on the Winning Poker Network. You see, a poker network is a collection of rooms that band together so that they can offer their customers a more rewarding experience. BlackChip Poker (read review), True Poker (read review), and PokerHost (read review) all allow you to access the same poker arrangement as Americas Cardroom does. If you're searching for rakeback on any of these sites, then you ought to take a look at our page devoted to WPN rakeback deals.

 

 

        Grand Network

Grand's positive attributes image

The Grand Poker Network is the smallest entity on our list, but don't let that scare you away. There's more to this site than might meet the eye at first glance. For starters, it's backed up by the giant 5Dimes bookmaking company, so it stands higher in our estimation that most other rooms of its size. Secondly, you'll get 50% rakeback when you sign up, a rate that's very difficult to match elsewhere. This rakeback is paid out through sit-n-goes that accept points to enter and pay out the whole field. The winner gets 100% rakeback, so you can do even better than 50% if you're lucky or good.

The software provided by the Grand Network can be downloaded and installed on either Mac or PC. There are also mobile apps for iOS and Android as well as a Flash version that you can access from any platform with a modern web browser.

The 5Dimes ring games begin at $0.05/$0.10 and go up to $1/$2. You might have to jump a stake higher or lower than you usually play because games don't run at all levels at all times. This could be slightly annoying, but the weakness of the competition should more than compensate for any irritation you feel. The people here are mostly sports-bettors and casino gamblers who don't consider poker anything more than a stimulating diversion, and this attitude shows in their play at the tables.

Tournaments here don't go any higher than a $5 + $0.50 buyin, so prize pools tend to be tiny. On the other hand, there are a couple of daily events that have no house fees. There's no other poker room that we know of that has such a good deal going for micro-stakes MTTers. What's more, on Sundays, you can join a $500 freeroll. Both of these are fine ways to build a bankroll.

5Dimes Banner highlights cta

Click the link above, and you'll be able to see for yourself why the Grand Network punches above its weight. We've compiled a lot of additional information that you may wish to read in our Grand Network review page.

 


 

How to Choose the Right Missouri Poker Site

Unless you want to risk wasting your time, it's important to evaluate all your poker choices carefully before beginning to play at any given site. The factors that go into your decision are personal in nature, and we can't say for certain which of the options discussed above would be ideal for specifically you. We have come up with a few elements to consider as you ponder where to play.

⧈ If you're in the market for poker sites with jam-packed lobbies, then Ignition and WPN have the best everyday traffic numbers.


⧈ If you want a huge bonus to augment your real money account balance, then the Chico Network has $2,500 for you to collect.


⧈ If you appreciate the steady infusions of cash that rakeback delivers, then Grand is the place to be for a 50% deal.


⧈ If you're looking forward to playing fast-fold poker, then Ignition's Zone Poker is the only such product available to Missourians.


⧈ If you wish to try out lottery-style sit-and-goes, then Winning Network and its SNG 2.0 and Jackpot Poker may be just what you seek.


⧈ If you're eager to start playing on your smartphone or tablet, then check out the mobile platforms at Chico, Ignition, and Grand.


⧈ If a fully fleshed-out loyalty system is what you think you deserve, then the WPN has Elite Benefits rewards for you to earn.

 

Payout Report for Players from Missouri

Dollars and Cents

You can expect rapid payments from these poker sites when it's time to request your winnings, and they also make depositing easy as well. You can use credit cards to fund your account and receive checks from the rooms, and this should work with no trouble for most. However, the digital currency Bitcoin is also supported by all of the sites we've highlighted above, and it offers several advantages. First of all, it's free from interference by governments or financial institutions. Secondly, it carries very low fees, which isn't really a benefit when depositing but can save you quite a bit when cashing out. If you've yet to experience the joys of Bitcoin transactions, then it may be time for you to take a look at our guide to getting set up with the virtual currency.

 

Quick Facts about Missouri Gambling Law

Law Reference Book

The Missouri laws dealing with poker are problematic because of their subjectivity. The rules relating to gambling are contained in Chapter 572 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. Looking at the definitions within 572.010, we see:

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

Furthermore, we're informed of what gambling is:

(4) "Gambling", a person engages in gambling when he or she stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his or her control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or she will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.

There's a list of exempted items that don't count as gambling, such as insurance, futures contracts, and types of gaming that are licensed by the state. Basically, someone who risks anything valuable in a game of chance is gambling. The issue lies in the words “depends in a material degree upon an element of chance.” This means that the Material Element test comes into play. As gaming lawyer Erica Okerberg notes, the way this test is applied depends heavily on the opinion of whoever is interpreting it because there no universal standard for what “material” signifies.

The reason we're so interested in whether or not poker is a game of chance is because of 572.020:

1. A person commits the offense of gambling if he or she knowingly engages in gambling.
2. The offense of gambling is a class C misdemeanor unless:
    (1) It is committed by a professional player, in which case it is a class A misdemeanor; or
    (2) The person knowingly engages in gambling with a child less than seventeen years of age, in which case it is a class B misdemeanor.

So if poker does depend “in a material degree upon an element of chance,” then it's gambling and anyone who partakes in the game is guilty of a misdemeanor. Otherwise, it's not illegal. In a federal court opinion from 2012, the judge decided that poker was a game of skill, and if the MO authorities lend any credence to this decision, then poker is completely permissible within the state. Regardless, this law, even if it does proscribe playing poker, has never been enforced with respect to online poker. We haven't been able to turn up any indications that anyone has even been arrested, much less convicted, under this law for playing poker privately online. You won't get into any legal trouble for playing poker over the internet on your computer.

There are other penalties for promoting gambling, possessing gambling records or a gambling device, and keeping a gambling house, but these are targeted at the people running games rather than those who merely play in them. Furthermore, hosting social poker games is allowed as long as the organizer doesn't profit financially from them.

For the sake of completeness, we'll quote what the definition of a “professional player” is because it's referenced in 572.020 above:

(9) "Professional player", a player who engages in gambling for a livelihood or who has derived at least twenty percent of his or her income in any one year within the past five years from acting solely as a player;

This is such a weird idea of what a professional player is. The first section of the definition makes sense, but this phrasing about 20 percent of income in any single year within the previous five is just bizarre. Basically if someone wins a decent amount in an unlicensed tournament, they could be considered a professional up to five years later depending, of course, on their level of annual income for the year in question. The only effect this has is that it raises gambling from a Class C to a Class A misdemeanor if you're a professional player. We don't think this law would ever be applied against any of our readers because the Missouri gambling laws have never been used to go after individual online poker fans. We're just pointing it out because it's so damn strange.

The statutes pertaining to licensed real-money gaming providers are found in Chapter 313. All of its rules and regulations are overseen by the Missouri Gaming Commission, which consists of five members, appointed by the governor. The quite extensive provisions of these laws cover fees, taxes, inspections, suspensions of license, problem gambling, and many other subjects related to brick-and-mortar gambling. Operating without a proper license is a Class E felony, which carries a sentence of up to four years in prison.

Missouri was one of the first jurisdictions in the U.S. to take legal action against an online casino, which it did in 1997. In 2012, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri charged two people with running an online gambling business. These cases and a few others like them over the years have made a couple of internet poker firms wary of doing business in Missouri, but the majority of the companies that serve the rest of the United States also accept players from the Show Me State.

 

Missouri's Gambling History

Old Compass

After being traded back and forth between France and Spain, the part of the American continent we now call Missouri was transferred to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. At the time, it was a thinly populated expanse. While we might have expected such a wild and rugged territory to have weak laws, especially against such a minor vice as gambling, in actuality, the territorial legislature banned gaming tables in 1814.

Riverboat
A Typical River Paddleboat

However, land-based lawmakers had no jurisdiction over the vessels that plied the waters of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, and riverboat gambling soon became popular. The boats weren't exclusively devoted to wagering activities; they were the most practical means to get around at a time when roads were often in poor condition and the railroad hadn't become widespread. Yet they allowed hundreds of people to mingle in relative anonymity while traveling in comfort. It was inevitable that they would play games with real money to pass the time. A few enterprising souls even became professional gamblers who would travel up and down the rivers, trying to entice other passengers, especially wealthy-looking ones, to join them for a game of poker.

Mark Twain
Mark Twain, Famous Author
From Hannibal, MO

One of Missouri's favorite sons spent some time as a young man on these riverboats, and he had a fondness for the game of poker. Mark Twain said the following about the game later in his life:

There are few things that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as poker. The upper class knows very little about it. Now and then you find ambassadors who have sort of a general knowledge of the game, but the ignorance of the people is fearful. Why, I have known clergymen, good men, kind-hearted, liberal, sincere, and all that, who did not know the meaning of a “flush.” It is enough to make one ashamed of one's species.

The growth of the railroads and the opening up of the frontier further west drove much of the gambling away from Missouri riverboats in the latter half of the 19th century. Lotteries were disallowed from 1875. The final nail in the coffin came with the election of Joseph “Holy Joe” Folk as governor in 1904. He was a reformer who rooted out corruption, made horse-race betting illegal, and cracked down hard on illicit gambling activities.

There was virtually no legal betting going on throughout Missouri for many decades after Folk's administration, but finally in 1980, charity gambling, including bingo, was established. Pari-mutuel racetrack betting was re-legalized in 1984, but it had trouble getting off the ground, and today there are no facilities for partaking in this form of gambling despite its being authorized. A bill creating the Missouri Lottery was passed in 1985, and it began selling tickets in 1986.

In the wake of positive referendum results in 1992, the state brought back an old staple from the past: riverboat casino gaming. There are some unusual rules attached to these facilities. They must be waterborne, but they're allowed to be in permanent dock in most cases, so they're basically just like any other casino. It's these destinations that you'll be heading to if you're looking for a real-life poker game.

The newest type of gaming to be given the legal seal of approval for Missourians to participate in is daily fantasy sports. DFS was added to the roster in 2016 with the Missouri Gaming Commission directed to issue licenses and collect fees from operators.

 

Regulation Chance for Online Poker

Poker Regulations

Missouri is one of the many states in the US that does not have a very good future chance of regulation unless federal legislation is passed to supersede any state legislation. The main reason for this is that the local politics of Missouri tend to be very conservative, despite the state directly to the north, Iowa, being rather liberal. This tendency for conservative behavior makes legalized online gambling in Missouri exceptionally unlikely as politicians would risk angering the electorate even if it would help Missouri greatly bridge some of the major budget deficits that they are facing. Nevertheless, we can't automatically rule out online poker regulation in the Cave State. After all, the state government has demonstrated an openness to new types of real money games with the approval of daily fantasy sports.

If poker were to get legalized in the state of Missouri, there are some natural fits to run the state-approved gaming. Harrah’s currently has properties in the state, so bringing the leading WSOP.com brand to Missouri would be a sensible move. Other companies would also find the state interesting as it has two cities with populations of more than 2 million. This kind of centralized player base would be a welcome addition to many online gambling sites' portfolios. Of course, all of this is closer to pie in the sky thinking than realistic outcomes for the future of online gambling in the state.

 

Land Based Gambling

Large Building

Missouri is one of the states where lines of “land based” gambling have become quite blurred. Originally non-tribal casinos were located on riverboats along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in Missouri, and while they are still near those rivers, for the most part, considerable leniency has been displayed lately by the Missouri State Gaming Authority in terms of casinos needing to be “located on water.” Many casinos are now on man-made lakes that are not visible to anyone and look like normal casinos that you would see in Louisiana, Mississippi or any other state that has a more typical land based gaming experience. It would not surprise anyone in the state to learn that some of the “bodies of water” these casinos are located on simply don’t exist anymore.

Missouri also has state lotteries  and charitable gambling for its citizens to sample. Missouri is lacking in racetracks and pari-mutual betting, though, despite having the aforementioned forms of gambling approved by the state. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the largest gaming Entertainment companies have decided to make Missouri one of their homes. Harrah’s, Hollywood, and Ameristar are among the prominent casino names to be found in MO. Several smaller companies also have competitive casinos in the different markets that expand outside of just Kansas City and St. Louis, the two largest metro areas in Missouri. The Hollywood Casino in St. Louis has more than 20 poker tables, but several of its competitors also have more than a dozen, so there's some pretty healthy competition going on here.

 

Parting Thoughts

Playing online poker in Missouri is easier than you might think. Several well-established poker outfits are prepared to accept your action. Missouri online poker poses no risks to you legally, and you might just be able to pad your bank account a little bit.

 

 

Do you have an address in a nearby state?

States Abutting Missouri

If you are lucky 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 border Missouri and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: Arkansas, Illinois, IowaKansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.  If you are the migratory type and have another home far away from Missouri and its neighboring states, then you should take a look at the other options we have reviewed in our detailed  US poker sites guide.

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