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Playing Online Poker in Vermont

Map of Vermont

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Can Vermont residents participate in real money online poker games? Of course, certainly. Is your money safe at offshore online poker rooms? Yes, it is as long as you deposit at one of our recommended card rooms. Is internet poker legal for people in the State of Vermont? Well, the issue of internet gambling and online poker in Vermont isn’t one that’s specifically dealt with by the law, so it’s a bit of a gray area. Suffice it to say that no legal action has ever been taken against an individual for playing cards over the internet while located in the state. This is actually true of the entire United States as a whole too.

There’s a distinct lack of live gambling destinations in Vermont. There are no casinos or racetrack betting facilities. Apart from sporadic charity events, the only wagering option explicitly permitted by law is provided by the VT Lottery. Poker lovers must head online to play unless they wish to drive hours to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut or Turning Stone Casino in New York.

You’ll probably be relieved to find out that enjoying internet-based poker isn’t criminalized at the federal level. The infamous Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 doesn’t target players directly; instead, it penalizes financial institutions for processing illicit online gambling transactions. In any event, the act doesn’t clarify what forms of gambling are permitted or restricted. Much debate has surrounded this and other related pieces of legislation, and most pundits believe that there’s nothing in the language of these bills to prohibit poker.

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Top Internet Poker Rooms for Vermont

All sites aren’t the same, and so you should do your homework before putting your hard-earned money onto any of them. Fortunately, we here at Professional Rakeback have chosen to partner with only honest and trustworthy online poker operators. Whichever of our highly rated choices you wind up playing at, you’ll be treated to fair gameplay, competent customer service, and reliable payout processing.

Ignition Poker

Igntion Logo

Boasting the largest traffic numbers of any real money online poker site open to Vermonters, Ignition Poker cannot be ignored when it comes to internet Texas Hold’em and other related games. Though Ignition may be new to you, you might recognize its former name, Bovada, and its old parent company, Bodog, which still serves our neighbors to the north in Canada. Ignition is now housed on the PaiWangLuo Network, but it offers the same software, games, and features that Bovada.lv players have loved for many years. When you open an account, you’ll be eligible for a 100% up to $1,000 bonus on your first deposit.

You can play at Ignition from either a Mac or PC because there are download installers available for both types of machine. A web app allows people on mobile platforms to participate as well, and because it’s not tied to any single hardware architecture, it’s compatible with iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and almost every other mainstream mobile operating system. The downsides are that only cash games are present in the mobile client, and it only allows a user to play a single table at a time.

The $1,000 welcome bonus is worth about 30% rakeback on your play in tourneys and SNGs and a bit less in cash games. It pays out in portions, and the first level corresponds to 100% rakeback while the second is equal to well above 80%. If you’re a micro-stakes player looking to score some excellent promotional returns, then this deal is for you because you’ll be handsomely rewarded even if you can’t complete the conditions for earning out the whole $1,000 sum.

Ignition’s biggest selling point is its anonymized table layout. No players are represented by names at all; they’re instead labeled “Player 1,” “Player 2,” “Player 3,” et cetera. This way of doing things was introduced at Bodog several years ago, and the experiment succeeded beyond all expectations. Recreational and fun-loving players are protected against professional fish-hunters, who cannot deploy their full suite of table selection strategies and software tools because there’s no way to identify any opponent individually.

Texas Hold’em ring games with a no limit betting structure are spread at microstakes through to $10/$20, which are the same levels at which Pot Limit Omaha can be found. Limit Hold’em and Limit Omaha-8 are listed up to $30/$60. Unlike at most of its competitors in the U.S. market, at Ignition, all four games regularly run although NLHE is the most popular. Zone Poker is another type of cash game that isn’t found at any other U.S.-friendly card room. It’s a fast-fold format that moves you instantly to a new table whenever you fold, allowing for speedy gameplay of hundreds of hands per hour. Zone Poker is available for NL Hold’em, PL Omaha, and NL Omaha-8.

On the sit-n-go front, there’s not much really to say besides the fact that they’re offered from $1 to $215. There is a non-standard Triple Up format that pays the top third of the field three times their buyin. MTTs are where it really gets interesting at Ignition. The Sunday major event costs $162 to play, and it guarantees $100,000 in prizes. There are tournament series that award several million dollars a few times per year.

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If you are ready to sign up now, please click the banner above. If you're not yet ready after reading this brief overview of what Ignition provides to players, check out our exhaustive treatment of the subject in our Ignition Poker review.

Winning Poker Network

Winning Poker Network Logo

The Winning Poker Network houses Americas Cardroom, BlackChip Poker, True Poker, and PokerHost along with several smaller entities. Regardless of which one you choose to play at, you’ll get a 100% up to $1,000 bonus on your first deposit. WPN is hot on the heels of Ignition in terms of total number of players and tables, so you’ll find plenty of action.

There’s desktop poker software only for Windows. A Mac edition is in public beta, which is available only on Americas Cardroom – not BlackChip Poker, True Poker, or PokerHost. There’s no mobile poker of any kind on offer here.

In addition to the $1,000 bonus, which generates value of about 20% back on the rake and fees you pay, you can get 27% rakeback when you use our links to register your account. This is the optimal way to go for most players. You’ll lose access to the site’s Elite Benefits program, however, if you elect to take rakeback. For the majority of Vermont residents, the advantages to be had from Elite Benefits pale in comparison to the normal RB deal, but high-stakes or high-volume grinders can receive up to 60% rakeback equivalent through this VIP program. If you select Americas Cardroom as your WPN site of choice, then you’ll also get $50 in free tournament dollars during the 20 days following your deposit.

The NL Texas Hold’em tables go all the way up to $25/$50 as do the PL Omaha games, and you’ll occasionally see betting taking place even at the highest stakes. There may be up to a dozen or so PLO/8 tables running simultaneously as well as a couple of Limit Omaha/8, Seven Card Stud hi and Stud/8 games. Tournaments aren’t neglected either as the network provides a comprehensive weekly schedule, culminating in the $215 Sunday Special with a $150,000 guarantee. From time to time, there are series, such as the Online Super Series, that provide millions of dollars in guarantees, and Million Dollar Sundays, which cost $540 to enter and pay out at least $1 million in prizes.

SNGs are where WPN really distinguishes itself. Jackpot Poker is a type of lottery sit-n-go where three players enter and compete for a prize pool that’s multiplied by a random factor that can reach as high as 2,500. SNG 2.0 incorporates random elements too to allow nine players the opportunity to increase their payouts and perhaps win a jackpot. WPN is the one destination that provides these styles of gaming to people in Vermont. More traditional sit-and-gos are offered between $1.61 and $1,215.

To learn more about the Winning Poker Network sites, browse over to our dedicated reviews of them: Americas Cardroom, BlackChip Poker, True Poker, PokerHost.

Chico Poker Network

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The Chico network is third in player volume for U.S.-facing internet poker sites, and it has a good amount of games going at all times. You can create an account at either BetOnline or Sportsbetting.ag, the two rooms on Chico that accept Americans from Vermont, and obtain a 100% up to $2,500 bonus upon making your first deposit.

These two sites have long maintained compatibility with Windows and Mac OS by developing software for both platforms. In April 2017, the network went live with mobile versions for Android and iOS, expanding the possibilities for owners of the appropriate hardware. The mobile clients show ring games, SNGs, and MTTs, but the highest blind levels of cash games are absent as are a few seldom-played games, like Limit Hold’em and Seven Card Stud, notwithstanding the fact that they’re listed in the desktop versions of the software.

No Limit Texas Hold’em caps out at $5/$10 here, so the super-high games that sometimes run at Ignition or WPN can’t be found, but this probably doesn’t affect you too much if you’re just starting out with online poker. Pot Limit Omaha is spread at the same levels as NLHE, and PLO/8 runs up to $2/$4. All stakes for these three variants see periodic games fill up although, as you would expect, the micro-stakes are more heavily populated than high stakes.

Heading over to the sit-and-go lobby, you’ll be able to pick contests covering the gamut from $0.05 fee-free games to $525 heads-up battles and everything in between. On the MTT side, there are many events each day, but they’re geared around the needs of low-limit players with the bulk of the tournaments costing $33 or less. Sundays are an exception because you’ll be able to register for a $99 event that guarantees $50,000. On the last Sunday of each month, this is bumped up to $109 and $100,000.

The $1,000 signup bonus at BetOnline and Sportsbetting.ag clears at a rate of 33% effective rakeback whether you play cash tables, sit-n-gos, or tournaments. You can take advantage of other opportunities for free money, like reload bonuses and weekly leaderboard competitions that aren’t too hard to place in. Read our comprehensive reviews of BetOnline and Sportsbetting.ag to get a better handle on what to expect from these rooms.

Horizon Poker Network

Horizon Network Logo

The Horizon Network and its leading site, Intertops, have a much smaller number of players than the other options we’ve discussed so far, but they make up for this with a robust promotional framework. To start off with, you’ll get a 200% welcome bonus up to a maximum value of $1,000 on your initial deposit. There are other sites on this network, but we recommend Intertops because it has been serving U.S. clients for more than 20 years, and it’s renowned for speedy cashouts.

Most NLHE games at the site take place below $1/$2, and the same is true of PLO. The sit-and-gos that run frequently are at $10 and lower although buyins up to $200 are present in the lobby. There are plenty of tournaments that cost $11 or less to enter, including freerolls, but competitions at higher stakes are infrequent besides the daily $55 Sundowner, which guarantees $1,500 ($2,500 on Sundays).

The Intertops bonus is equal to double the funds you deposit with a maximum bonus value of $1,000. The calculations for bonus clearance are a bit tricky, but we’ve done the math to figure out that it’s equal to about 54% rakeback in nine-handed cash games, 36% in six-max games, and 42% in sit-n-gos and tournaments. You can add onto your bankroll even more with the $4K weekly rake races, loyalty tiers program, and reload bonuses. We also provide the option for 36% dealt rakeback at Intertops; the downside to choosing flat rakeback is that your rate of return from the welcome bonus and other promos will be halved.

Intertops is geared toward the needs of Windows users, who comprise the lion’s share of the market, and so Windows is the only OS for which a downloadable poker client is available. However, users of Linux, Mac, and mobile systems can try out the instant play version, which can be accessed through Intertops’ website.

Check out our Intertops review for a more detailed description.

Grand Poker Network

Grand Poker Logo

Grand Poker is the smallest entry on our list of online rooms, and it’s also the newest. A big name stands behind this operator though: 5Dimes, a well-regarded powerhouse in the online gambling industry. New players are entitled to receive 50% rakeback paid weekly.

The blind levels for cash games only go up to $1/$2 for NLHE and PLO, and there are usually fewer than a dozen tables running at any given time. This doesn’t mean that the focus is exclusively on microstakes, though, because there’s a pretty even distribution of active games across all stakes offered, unlike at most sites where the action is concentrated at the lowest blind levels. For tournaments, there are only low-buyin events present, and the biggest tourney on the weekly schedule is a $5.50 rebuy with a $500 guarantee.

Grand Poker has taken steps to appeal to as many customers as possible by crafting and releasing downloadable software solutions for Mac and PC along with web-based versions for mobile users or those who wish to play in their browsers. Try out whichever one of these is appropriate in your case by signing up for Grand Poker today.

Question Mark

Which of These Sites Is Best?

All of the options for online poker in Vermont have their own particular selling points and weakness, and therefore, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. Depending on your own priorities and playing habits, one or another of them might be right for you. There may not be a clear-cut answer, so you’ll have to think hard about what’s most important to you. You can always check out multiple sites and see what they’re like before deciding on one or more to stick with. Consider the following points when contemplating your decision:

Limit Hold’em and Limit Omaha hi/lo fans will probably only find enough games at Ignition or Winning Poker Network.

Anyone interested in anonymous gameplay and fast-fold poker will want to check out Ignition.

Devotees of fast-paced lottery-style sit-and-gos must choose a site at the Winning Poker Network.

Bonus hunters eager to claim the most free money can get $2,500 from BetOnline, Sportsbetting.ag, or Grand Poker.

People for whom overall rate of return from rewards is more important than total bonus size are probably best off at Intertops or Grand Poker.

Tournament players attracted by large guarantees can sample the Winning Poker Network, the only U.S. online poker arena to host $1-million tourneys.

Players who prefer straight rakeback paid directly into their balances will like the Winning Poker Network, Intertops, and Grand Poker.

Anyone who wants to be able to choose from the largest number of active games can go to Ignition or Winning Poker Network.

Those who seek long-term remuneration for significant volumes of play will probably be interested in Winning Poker Network’s Elite Benefits plan.

Cash Money

How to Fund an Online Poker Account

When it’s time to put money into your balance at an internet-based card room, the most convenient way to do so is with the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin. All the companies that we’ve outlined above accept BTC. While they do all permit you to deposit with a credit card instead, Bitcoin is the better option because transactions are never blocked, as credit cards can sometimes be, and the e-currency can also be used to receive your winnings in a timely fashion. Other payout methods are typically slower, and some of them come with hefty fees, but the fees for using Bitcoin are extremely small. If you’re unfamiliar with Bitcoin, then we suggest that you read out guide to using Bitcoin for online gambling. There may be other ways of depositing and requesting withdrawals that vary from site to site. If you inquire of support personnel at any online poker firm, they’ll be able to give you all the details of the supported deposit and withdrawal methods. For the latest news about payment processing speeds and reliability, take a look at our U.S.A. poker sites payout report.

Judge's Gavel

Vermont’s Poker-Related Statutes

The word “poker” can only be found once in the laws on the books in Vermont, and that instance deals with a type of lottery game containing the word in its name. We don’t see any specific rules about online card games, so we must delve into the legislation that relates to gambling in general. 13 V.S.A § 2134 informs us that:

 

A person who has or keeps on premises owned or occupied by him or her implements or other things used in gambling and permits persons resorting to such premises to use such implements or things for the purpose of gambling shall be imprisoned not more than six months nor less than 10 days or fined not more than $500.00 nor less than $10.00, or both.

 

This seems to target those who operate illicit casinos where members of the public can come to gamble. It doesn’t indicate what happens to individuals who choose to frequent these establishments. For guidance on that matter, we must turn to 13 V.S.A § 2133, which says:

 

A person who plays at cards, dice, tables or other game for money or other valuable in a common gaming or gambling house that is maintained for lucre and gain, shall be fined not more than $200.00 or imprisoned not more than 60 days, or both.

 

The only exception to this policy prohibiting organized gambling activities is for nonprofit organizations as outlined in 13 V.S.A. § 2143. They’re allowed to hold casino nights, poker tournaments, raffles, and an assortment of gambling events that would otherwise be illegal without this special dispensation. Even they’re restricted as to how often they can run such events, and any group intending to do so must file accurate financial information with the authorities about the prizes offered and funds raised.

All of these provisions taken together only address large-scale gambling at physical locations dedicated to the pursuit. What about those who choose to gamble in their homes privately, like internet poker players do? The closest we’ll get to illumination on this topic is 13 V.S.A. § 2141:

 

A person who wins or loses money or other valuable thing by play or hazard at any game, or by betting on such play or hazard, or sharing in a stake wagered by others on such play or hazard, shall be fined not more than $200.00 nor less than $10.00.

 

This is very broad wording that seems to apply not only to playing poker oneself but also to staking others to play. Even such innocuous activities as contract bridge tournaments for money and office Super Bowl betting pools could be covered by this expansive phrasing. Fortunately, the penalty prescribed, a $10 - $200 fine, isn’t very weighty at all, and this provision has never been used with regard to online poker. The only times in recent memory that anyone in Vermont has been brought up on gambling charges relate to illegal games being held at places of business. You, as an individual playing on a computer in a private home, appear to be safe. The authorities’ stance on gambling today is perhaps illustrated by the fact that in 2016, the head of the criminal division of the Vermont Attorney General’s office said that gambling was not “an enforcement priority” for the state government.

Dice and Chips

Overall Vermont Gambling Scene

Most forms of brick-and-mortar wagering are banned within the State of Vermont as a result of moral crusades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There used to be onsite pari-mutuel racetrack betting starting from 1963, but the closure of Green Mountain Race Track in 1992 left no remaining facilities to either conduct races or bet on them within the state. In 1976, voters approved the institution of a state lottery, and VT Lottery duly began selling tickets in 1978.

Apart from the lottery, the sole other notable form of gambling expressly permitted by law is charitable gambling. That is, nonprofit groups can host occasions where gambling is allowed subject to limitations on the prizes awarded, the compensation paid to anyone employed to run the games, the number of times a single body can hold these events within stated timeframes, et cetera. Thus, offline poker tournaments can be found throughout Vermont with the proceeds going to charitable causes.

There are no casinos in Vermont. Representative Ronald Hubert of the Vermont House of Representatives has introduced bills every session from 2011 onward that would establish a single licensed casino in the state. Each time, the bill was sent to committee and did not progress any further. In 2017, a colleague of his, Representative Job Tate, got in on the action by sponsoring an act to license up to three gaming boats on Lake Champlain. His proposed legislation was also sent to committee where nothing further has yet happened.

Regulations

Chances of Regulated Online Poker in Vermont

Given the slowness with which the Vermont legislative bodies have moved in accepting even limited forms of gambling, the prospects of a licensed, regulated market for online poker are slim to none. At the same time, worldwide gambling enterprises aren’t exactly lobbying hard to gain access to the state’s tiny player pools. The only realistic scenario in which a state-supervised market for online poker might materialize is if one of the neighboring states, like New York, first sets up a licensing regime and then Vermont joins in through an interstate agreement. Until this or another longshot possibility plays out in poker’s favor, offshore sites are as good as it gets for Vermont residents.

Concluding Thoughts

In terms of enjoying online poker, Vermont’s citizens aren’t handicapped relative to their peers in more populous parts of the country. Online poker law in Vermont doesn’t precisely make Texas Hold’em poker legal, but the penalties attached to playing are minor and unenforced. If the VT Lottery isn’t exciting enough for you, then head on over to one of our approved online poker sites, and start playing today.

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 Vermont and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York.