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Playing Online Poker in the State of South Dakota

South Dakota Map

South Dakota Flag

If you're wondering whether or not playing online poker in South Dakota is possible, then the answer is a resounding, "Yes!" There are at least a half dozen reputable internet cardrooms that serve SD residents, so you'll be able to choose the ones you like best and play for real money without leaving your home. The number of South Dakotans is pretty small at well under a million, so the state isn't exactly actively courted by online operators, but on the other hand, they're not really going out of their way to avoid it either.

There are plenty of offline gambling destinations within the state, but because of the large distances involved, you may find it preferable to boot up your computer and head online. Going to Deadwood or one of the Native territories might subject you to significant travel times, waiting lists, and the other annoyances of live tables. Online poker allows you to indulge your card-based hobby while avoiding these hassles. All the rooms we recommend feature a diverse array of game types and stakes, so it's pretty easy to find a table you like.

The authorities in The Mount Rushmore State don't target individual online poker players. To our knowledge, there has never been an arrest or prosecution against people who choose to wager on cards from their homes in South Dakota. This mirrors the situation in the rest of the United States where, despite the loudmouth proclamations of fearmongering bureaucrats, no private citizen or resident has ever seen charges brought against him or her under any of the allegedly relevant statutes, like the UIGEA, for enjoying virtual poker games.

Leading South Dakota Online Poker Rooms

The online selection for South Dakotan players consists of a number of sites that vary in terms of games spread, stakes offered, and promotional deals available. By partnering with some of the most honest and reliable online poker rooms, we aim to enable you to find a solution that meets with your full approval. All of the firms we present below are known for speedy payouts, fair games, and smoothly functioning software.

Ignition

Ignition Casino Poker Logo

Ignition is a new name in the U.S.A. gambling landscape, but it's just the rebranding of an old favorite, Bovada Poker. As a member of the PaiWangLuo network of sites, Ignition has the busiest poker room among all U.S. online options. When you open a new account, you'll be eligible to receive a 100% up to $1,000 welcome bonus.

The key feature here that separates this room from all others is the anonymized gameplay, which hides the usernames of all users at the tables. Serious predators in the ecosystem have a hard time isolating newer players, which works wonders for game quality. This way of doing things applies equally to cash games, sit-and-gos, and tournaments.

Regular NLHE and PLO ring games are present from $0.02/$0.05 to $10/$20. Ignition used to be the go-to place for Limit Omaha-8 and Limit Hold'em as well, but the implementation of a Quick Seat element to the lobby has resulted in a decrease in "other" game traffic. There's a nonstandard offering called Zone Poker, which is a fast-fold format that sees players moved right away to a new table whenever they fold a hand. Because there's no sitting around, waiting for hands to complete, you can get your fill of action even in a limited amount of time. No other American-friendly company provides anything remotely similar.

On the tournament front, things are good at Ignition. There's a weekly $150 + $12 $100,000 Guaranteed event in addition to a plethora of tournaments with guarantees on them every day. You won't have to cough up $162 each time you want to play either because there are contests running as low as $1. There are seldom any R&A tourneys here, so you'll be able to accurately gauge the prize pools and time required before hitting the "Register" button. A few times per year, Ignition spices things up with tournament series with multi-million dollar prize pools, like the Golden Spade Poker Open and the Black Diamond Poker Open. For single-table tournaments, you can play from $1 + $0.05 up to $200 + $14.

Ignition's poker download software exists in Windows- and Mac-compatible versions. There's also a web-based product, which you can use with your mobile device to access the cash games, including Zone. Unfortunately, SNGs and MTTs aren't available in this mobile platform.

The welcome bonus at Ignition pays out in portions that all have different rates of clearance. The rate of return is about 30% if you play tournaments and manage to earn the whole $1,000 bonus sum, but if you instead hit the ring game tables, your average cashback percentage will be a bit lower. The first few segments of the bonus are worth much more than 30% though, so you can get a lot of value for your dollar even if you make a deposit much smaller than $1K.

Professional Rakeback Ignition cta

If you're ready to join Ignition Poker today, then click above or if you would like to learn more, read our comprehensive Ignition review.

Winning Poker Network

WPN Logo

The roots of the Winning Poker Network extend all the way back to 2001, so this is a group that has weathered all the ups and downs of the online poker landscape. There are a number of attached rooms that combine to form the second-largest player traffic in the U.S. market, and of them all, we recommend Americas Cardroom. This is because with your deposit at ACR, you'll get $50 free to play Jackpot Poker in addition to the network-wide 100% up to $1,000 bonus.

Tournaments are an area in which the Winning network has devoted considerable effort. Perhaps the most notable event is the $500 + $40 Million Dollar Sunday, which runs every couple of months and hands out prizes totaling $1,000,000 or more. On a weekly basis, the main tourney is the Sunday Special, a $200 + $15 affair that comes with a $150,000 guarantee. This is the biggest NLHE Sunday Major available to residents of the United States, and the $35,000 guaranteed Sunday Special PLO likewise has the largest prize pool open to Pot Limit Omaha MTT players within the States. The recurring Online Super Series has dozens of events at varying price points and formats, and it pays out millions during each incarnation. Sit N' Gos are also a particular selling point of the network because it has deployed SNG 2.0, a nine-handed competition with randomized prize elements, and Jackpot Poker, which is a lottery-style format where participants can win up to 2,500 times their buyin.

The No Limit Hold'em and Pot Limit Omaha ring games at ACR run the gamut from $0.01 to $25/$50, and even the highest limits see active games from time to time. PLO/8, LO8, 7 Card Stud, and Limit Hold'em round out the selection here, and although these games aren't quite as popular, there are usually a couple of tables going in each of them.

Regular rewards come in the form of The Beast leaderboard for cash game players, and the Sit & Crush leaderboard for those who play sit-and-goes. These rake races reward hundreds of players each week with cash prizes and tournament entries. On top of this, you'll get to choose between 27% rakeback (perfect for most players) or the Elite Benefits program (better for dedicated grinders).

Americas Cardroom's standard download package is only compatible with Windows machines, but there is a Mac client in public beta. Read our review to learn more about Americas Cardroom and how to claim your $1,000 bonus and $50 in free Jackpot Poker Credits. Or peruse our pages on ACR's sister sites: BlackChip Poker, True Poker, PokerHost.

Chico Poker Network

Sportsbetting Logo

The Chico Poker Network is in 3rd place by player numbers among U.S. internet poker sites, and it provides a welcome bonus of 100% up to $2,500. There are two sites on the network that serve Americans, BetOnline and Sportsbetting.ag, and they offer up nearly identical promotions, rewards, and game tables.

These rooms have one of the most feature-rich mobile poker products available today, and it's compatible with both iOS and Android. This is in addition to the regular Windows and Mac software that you can download to your system.

Cash games at Chico run from $0.01/$0.02 to $5/$10 for No Limit Texas Hold'em and PL Omaha while PLO/8 is listed up to $2/$4. There are several other games present, but traffic is sparse in these niche variants. Sit-and-gos range from $0.05 (with no fee) up to $525, and they fill up pretty regularly up to around the $100 + $8 level. There aren't many multi-table tournaments of note here apart from the $90 + $9 Sunday Main Event, which comes with a guarantee of $50,000. On the last Sunday of each month, the Main Event is supersized to a $100 + $9 buyin and $100,000 guarantee. The rest of the tourney schedule consists of games costing $33 or less to enter.

The promotional programs at Chico network are quite generous. Besides the first deposit bonus of up to $2,500, which is equal to 33% rakeback, there are weekly leaderboards for ring games, SNGs, and MTTs that distribute a total of $20,000 each week to the fortunate winners. Your play at the tables will earn you comp points, which can be used for tournament entries worth about 5.7% rakeback. A Bad Beat Jackpot draws recreational players to the cash games, and the best part is that it's only applicable to certain tables, so you can avoid the extra BBJ drop if you don't want to pay it.

There are plenty of reasons to make the Chico Poker Network your online home. Check out our reviews of BetOnline and Sportsbetting.ag.

Intertops

Intertops Logo

A trusted name in betting for more than 30 years, Intertops brings its reputation and dependability to poker as well since it is the flagship site of the Horizon Poker Network. Everyone who signs up for ’Tops through Professional Rakeback is eligible to receive 36% dealt rakeback and an initial deposit bonus of 200% up to $1,000.

As a smaller site, this isn't the place to go for high-stakes games of any kind. The majority of the NLHE tables that actually have people sitting at them are for $0.25/$0.50 and below, but every once in a while, you'll find a table or two above this limit. Pot Limit Omaha is the only other ring game that sees much action. SNGs are present up to $200-buyin games, but there are very few ever running at any given time, and they ones that do fire tend to be $15 and below. Turning our attention to MTTs, we find a $50 + $5 daily Sundowner event with a guarantee of $1,500 ($2,500 on Sundays). The remainder of the schedule features contests priced at $25 + $2.50 and below although there are satellite step finals for offline poker festivals several times per year that might be more expensive to enter.

You can easily boost your bottom line with the loyalty benefits on hand at Intertops. A weekly rake race hands out $4,000 to the top 100 in the leaderboard standings, and raking $50 or even less should be enough for you to get a prize. The 200% welcome offer is worth a variable amount depending on the types of games you play – up to 54% cash back for nine-handed ring tables. The gold chips that you collect while playing can be traded in for no-deposit bonuses, and there's a loyalty levels program that will see you get more and more free cash the higher you can progress through the tiers. Note that all of these rewards are effectively cut in half for those on a rakeback program. Intertops will credit you with 100 lines to use on the casino games within the poker software, and they deliver their full value whether or not you elect to sign up for RB. We've crunched the numbers to determine that the 100 casino free bets are worth around $95 in expected value on blackjack regardless of the size of your deposit!

The standard Intertops download only works on Windows PCs, but there's an Instant Play website that you can use with Macs, smartphones, and tablets. Unfortunately, the Instant Play interface isn't very good, so you'll want to play from your desktop whenever possible. Click over to our Intertops page to learn more about its advantages, or peruse our review of Juicy Stakes, another site on the same network.

Grand Poker Network

Grand Poker Logo

The Grand Poker Network is the most modestly sized poker room on our list of places to play online, so it might be prudent to reserve this as your secondary site. It's managed by the 5Dimes organization, a group of highly rated internet bookmakers and casino operators. Every new player who joins gets 50% rakeback paid weekly.

You'll only see games from $0.05/$0.10 to $1/$2 in No Limit Hold'em, but there's a surprising amount of tables at the higher end of this spectrum. The reason for this lies in the fact that most of the players come from the attached sportsbook, and so they aren't grinding their way up from the bottom: Instead, they play whatever stakes their account balances and personal preferences lead them to. Sit-and-gos don't really attract much custom here, and you might have to wait hours before you get one to fill. Multi-table tourneys have tiny prize pools because the highest buyin weekly event is only $5 + $.50 with a $500 guarantee. However, this site is excellent for microstakes tournament players because there are several contests every day with no house fee as well as a $500 freeroll every Sunday.

Grand takes pride in its multi-platform software. You can install the application on your Windows or Mac computer, play from the web with a Flash version, or use an app on your Android or iOS system. There are several operators on this network, and you can consult our Grand Poker overview to find out how to get started at any of them.

How to Choose an Online Poker Site

Cards and Poker Chips

We've presented you with our recommendations for the leading online poker sites, but we understand that you may still have some doubts as to which one(s) to register for. This is a complex decision that leads to different answers for different people, but there are some general rules of thumb that can assist you in making your decision:

If you're interested in busy cash tables and many games running at once, then Ignition or Americas Cardroom is the place to go.

If you seek to maximize the size of your initial bonus, then choose either BetOnline or Sportsbetting.ag.

If you have your heart set on sizeable rakeback payments, then Grand Poker or Intertops is probably right for you.

If ongoing promotions sound like something you'd be interested in, then BetOnline/Sportsbetting.ag or Intertops will likely yield you the best results.

If tournaments with large guaranteed prize pools are what you're after, then Americas Cardroom or Ignition are pretty good choices.

If you want to remain anonymous at the tables or wish to play fast-fold poker, then Ignition is the only U.S. site for you.

If you enjoy the fast-paced gameplay of lottery-style sit-n-gos, then Americas Cardroom and its Jackpot Poker SNGs merit your attention.

If playing from your mobile is most convenient for you, then consider BetOnline/Sportsbetting.ag, Ignition, and Grand with Intertops as a distant fourth place.

South Dakota Online Poker Deposits and Withdrawals

Money Bag

The ways of funding your account and requesting cashouts vary from site to site and include such old-school methods as credit cards, checks, and wire transfers. A few years ago, Americans had to put up with lengthy withdrawal timeframes and sometimes exorbitant fees. The rise of the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin put an end to all that because every poker room on our list supports this innovative payment solution. When you transact in bitcoins, you can avoid waiting around for weeks, and you'll also only have to pay a small fee each time you wish to move money around. We therefore advise all our readers to use Bitcoin and to read our guide on getting started with this virtual currency.

South Dakota Online Poker Laws

Law Book

It may seem surprising given the number of physical gambling locations within the state, but South Dakota actually has pretty heavy penalties for accepting wagers online, including on poker. This may be because the powerful live gambling interests wish to curtail their would-be competitors from outside locations. The South Dakota codified laws contain an entire chapter, 22-25A, that runs on for pages and describes exactly what constitutes internet gambling and the penalties involved. The important thing to realize is that all the wording in this section of the law addresses those providing the games, not the individual players. Operators who violate the terms of this law are dealt with as follows (22-25A-10):

 

Violation a felony. Any person who violates § 22-25A-7 or § 22-25A-8 is guilty of a felony as follows:
(1) For a first offense, a Class 6 felony;
(2) For a second or subsequent offense, a Class 5 felony.

 

For insight into how the state treats individual gamblers, we must turn to the South Dakota laws that deal with gambling in general rather than those that specifically handle internet betting. They're listed in Chapter 22-25, "Gambling and Lotteries." The most important part is 22-25-1:

 

Gambling defined--Keeping gambling establishment--Letting building for gambling--Misdemeanor.
Any person who engages in gambling in any form with cards, dice, or other implements or devices of any kind wherein anything valuable is wagered upon the outcome, or who keeps any establishment, place, equipment, or apparatus for such gambling or any agents or employees for such purpose, or any person who knowingly lets any establishment, structure, place, equipment, or apparatus for such gambling is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

 

This phrasing about “gambling in any form with cards” is especially problematic because it's worded in such a broad way that any number of activities might be included, including poker. This law was drafted decades ago, and while it's still on the books, it's almost never enforced today. We couldn't find any information indicating that anyone anywhere in South Dakota has ever faced charges for playing poker online by themselves in their own house. You too can enjoy this hobby without any fear of legal prosecution.

South Dakota's Poker History

Early settlers in South Dakota, when it was still just a part of the Dakota Territory, were a rough-and-tumble mixture of land speculators, fur traders, and homesteaders. The discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874 drew in a rush of prospectors and miners along with businesses to serve them. The lawless town of Deadwood sprang up seemingly overnight, and it became a hub for gambling and prostitution. Poker was on the menu, and many famous individuals, on both sides of the law, could be found taking a seat for an evening of Five Card Draw.

Wild Bill Hickok

One of the avid poker enthusiasts to travel to South Dakota was James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok, who had worked as a vigilante, train driver, gunman, soldier, and U.S. marshal among other occupations before heading to Deadwood to seek his fortune in 1976. He only had a few months to display his skill or lack thereof at the tables because he was shot and killed while playing. On August 1, he cleaned out the bankroll of Jack McCall in a game at Nuttal & Mann's Saloon and then gave him some money to buy dinner with. McCall was incensed and returned the next day to find Hickok playing again. Jack drew his Colt .45 and fatally shot Wild Bill Hickok in the back of the head. After two trials (the first one, in which McCall was acquitted, was deemed invalid), Jack McCall was found guilty and hanged. Hickok had been holding two pair, black aces and black eights, at the time of his death, and this hand has since been known as “Dead Man's Hand.” The identity of Wild Bill's fifth card is not known for sure and is a matter of speculation.

Poker Alice Ivers

"Poker Alice" Ivers was another colorful character from South Dakota's "Wild West" days. She met and married an engineer with a fondness for cards in Colorado Territory. It was he who taught her how to play poker. Her husband died in a mining accident, and Alice moved to Deadwood in 1890. She met her next husband while she was employed as a dealer at Bedrock Tom's saloon. An irate patron threatened a fellow dealer, Warren Tubbs, with a knife, but Alice got the drop on the miscreant and shot him in the arm. This set the stage for romance, and Warren and Alice were soon married. Throughout her life, Poker Alice could be found playing poker, operating saloons, and bootlegging. She kept up her appearance by wearing the latest fashions from New York, and many men were drawn to the tables by the then-unusual spectacle of a woman gambling for serious money – and winning.

As was the case with many former frontier areas, South Dakota opted to clean up its act when it achieved statehood in 1889. The constitution of the state disallowed any type of gambling. The story since then has been one of legislative carveouts and revisions to the constitution to open up varying types of games of chance. In 1933, horseracing pari-mutuel wagering was allowed, and in 1986, a state lottery was established. 1989 saw the first casinos open their doors while more venues for real money gaming were allowed starting in 1993 with tribal compacts. There are provisions also for charitable gambling and events hosted by veterans organizations.

Today, there are more than 30 casinos within the borders of South Dakota. The majority of them are clustered in Deadwood, but there are several operated by the Sioux and Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribes on their territories. The Deadwood casinos must adhere to a rule that limits bets to a maximum of $1,000, which is a bit unusual, but this really only affects higher-stakes play.

Regulated Online Poker Possibilities in South Dakota

Due to the strict prohibitions against offering gambling over the internet, it would seem that a lot of effort would need to go into lobbying for repeals or exemptions under the existing laws. Given the tiny population of the state, it's unlikely that there will be much demand for licensed online poker either on the part of the public at large or worldwide gambling corporations. Even if a regulatory framework for internet gambling were set up, it would have almost no chance of survival unless inter-state agreements were made to share player pools with other states. In short, we find it unlikely that South Dakota will implement a fully legal online poker regime anytime soon.

Summary and Conclusion

While the authorities in Pierre haven't yet warmed to the idea of online poker in South Dakota, there's nothing really stopping you from engaging in this activity. South Dakota online poker is going strong thanks to the handful of offshore sites that continue to serve residents of the Coyote State. Regardless of the outdated statutes on the books, you can play at the virtual tables without fear or hassle.

Do you have an address in a nearby state?

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 South Dakota and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming. If your other address is located elsewhere in the United States, then our poker overview for Americans may make for profitable reading.

Lack of knowlege about online poker causes many who would otherwise play to avoid the pastime. If you've found this article informative, then please consider sharing it with those among your friends and family whom you believe would appreciate it.