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Playing Online poker in the State of Virginia

Virginia's state map
Virginia's state flag

Those who make Virginia their home might live in a state that is not friendly toward gambling with many stiff laws in place to discourage participation, but luckily, online poker in Virginia is not nearly as affected by these laws. Offshore sites have decided to still offer games to those in Virginia, and the choices for those players are numerous and great in nature. So even though players won’t be getting regulated Virginia online poker any time soon, they can enjoy US-facing, real-money poker goodness no matter what their favorite games are and no matter what their state thinks of online poker! Below is a list of all the great sites that offer games to the state of Virginia!

 

Online Poker Sites Available in Virginia

It's the work of hours or days to investigate the various Virginia online poker entities out there to determine which are on the up-and-up and which are best avoided. You don't need to engage in this thankless task, however, because we've already done it for you. All the rooms in our list below are trustworthy, and they all pay out winnings fairly. No matter which one you choose, you'll appreciate the error-free software and professional customer service.

 

    Ignition Poker

Ignition's Good Features Image

There's a reason why Ignition Poker heads up our collection of online poker sites in Virginia, and this is because the numbers speak for themselves: Ignition is the most popular poker room for Americans, and so people have voted with their money in its favor. When you open up an account at this PaiWangLuo Network site, you'll be able to claim a 100% up to $1,000 deposit bonus.

 Play Now cta for Ignition Poker

Anonymized gameplay is the hallmark of Ignition. Rather than showing players' screennames, this site keeps all its users' identities hidden. This has emboldened inexperienced users to sign up and play because they're immune to player-tracking and seat-selection techniques that pros use at other places to score themselves an edge. This might seem to be a negative if you're a sophisticated player, but on the other hand, this philosophy had led to unbelievably profitable tables.

Ring game poker can be had at stakes between $0.02/$0.05 and $10/$20 in NLHE, PLO, and PLO/8. Limit Hold'em and Limit Omaha/8 exist up to $30/$60. There's also a format of cash game poker that you won't find at any other U.S.-friendly poker operator: Zone Poker. In Zone, you get new hole cards at a new table right after you fold any hand. This causes blistering-fast gameplay, and so you can increase your volume of hands without necessarily spending all day at the tables.

Sit n' goes are listed from $1 + $0.05 up to $200 + $14, but the real fun is in the multi-table tournament lobby. There's a total of $1.5 million in guarantees per week, the largest one being the $100,000+ prize pool event that you can join every Sunday for an investment of $150 + $12. Additionally, there are tourney series, like the Black Diamond Poker Open, which take place a few times per year.

Ignition's software is available for both Macs and PCs, and there's also a responsive web app through which you can access the poker games from your mobile system. Be aware, though, that this mobile poker interface doesn't contain tournaments or SNGs; cash games are the only possibility if you want to play on your phone or tablet. You can also play in the casino with whatever device you want, and you'll get an additional 100% up to $1,000 to check out the games.

Professional Rakeback's Ignition CTA Banner

To join Ignition as a player today, click on the banner above. You can familiarize yourself further with the site first by reading our exhaustive Ignition Casino Poker overview.

 

        Chico Network

Image About Chico Poker's Selling Points

The Chico Poker Network is the third-largest poker network open to Virginians, so you'll have plenty of games to choose from here. BetOnline is the flagship entity on Chico, and you'll gain a 100% to $2,500 poker bonus when you make your first deposit. The bonus is equivalent to 33% rakeback.

Play Now at BetOnline

The software for BetOnline comes in Mac- and Windows-compatible versions. There's also a mobile app for iOS and Android. We've reviewed this mobile client extensively and found it to be among the better options on the market today.

BetOnline hosts No Limit Texas Hold'em and Pot Limit Omaha cash tables denominated from $0.01/$0.02 through $5/$10. There's also some PLO Hi-Lo action although the range of stakes is not quite as wide. There's a Bad Beat Jackpot active on certain NL Hold'em tables at $0.50/$1.00 and higher, and this BBJ has paid out as much as $650K in the past. Sit n' goes can be entered from $0.05 to $500 + $25, and these contests are surprisingly well-populated. Tournaments are mostly for buyins of $33 and lower, but there is a larger event on Sunday: the $90 + $9 $50,000 Main Event. The Main Event is boosted up to a cost of $100 + $9 and a guarantee of $100,000 on the last Sunday every month.

The comp points program, which requires no opt-in, rewards you with about 5% of the rake you pay in the form of buyins to select tournaments. There are leaderboards each week for cash game, sit-and-go, and tournament players, and they distribute a total of $20,000 in prizes. Additionally, you can get bonuses in the sportsbook, casino, and the rest of the betting lineup.

BetOnline Banner CTA Image

To start playing at BetOnline today, click the link above. For more information on this reputable poker company, peruse our detailed BoL Poker review page. There's another site that's on the same network, and you can learn about it with our thorough overview of Sportsbetting.ag.

 

    Horizon Network

Graphic Showing Intertops' positive features

Intertops is a well-established sportsbetting brand that also dabbles in poker on the side. It has been running for more than 30 years; it operated an offline betting service before moving online and becoming one of the first internet sportsbooks around. Despite poker not being its main focus, Intertops treats its players right with a 200% up to $1,000 bonus.

Horizon CTA, Play Poker Now

Intertops and the entire Horizon Poker Network in general aren't among the busiest sites in terms of total traffic. The cash games mostly consist of tables at $50NL and below. In sit n' gos, you'll have a hard time getting anything to fire up above the $5 level. Tournaments are a somewhat more popular diversion, and you can play a $50 + $5 tourney every day. It's called the Sundowner, and it guarantees $1,500 ($2,500 on Sundays).

The bonus of up to $1,000 clears at a rate that varies depending on the types of games you play, but it's worth about 27% rakeback. On top of this, everyone who signs up through our links will receive 36% dealt rakeback that never expires. When you initially fund your account, you'll get 100 free lines to use in the casino contained in the poker lobby, a value of $90 or more on blackjack. There's also a $1,000 monthly depositors freeroll, and you'll get a ticket as well when you make a deposit.

Even after you're done with these signup offers, there are still plenty of ways to score some gratis cash. Reload bonuses are frequent, and the loyalty tiers systems will give you recurring payouts as you reach certain tiers. There's a weekly race race that awards $4,000 to the top placers, and the amount of play needed to qualify is pretty small. Intertops runs satellite tournaments to live poker festivals a few times per year, and there are usually decent opportunities for overlays, so you can win your seat for less.

Intertops Banner: highlights cta

Don't delay; go to the Intertops website now by following our link above. We've collected a lot of data on this poker provider, and you can look it over in our accurate Intertops Poker review document.

 

     Winning Network

WPN's positives image

Firmly ensconced in the #2 spot for player liquidity among U.S.A. real money online poker destinations, the Winning Poker Network is a fine place for the games you enjoy. Its top site, Americas Cardroom, is ready to present you with a 100% up to $1,000 bonus that delivers value at a rate of 20% cashback along with $50 free to buy into Jackpot Poker SNGs with.

ACR

The Jackpot Poker competitions that you'll get $50 to play are three-handed, lottery-style games wherein the prize pool is multiplied by a random number that can reach as high as 2,500 times the buyin. There's another non-standard sit & go format present, called SNG 2.0, which also incorporates random elements but seats nine. You'll also encounter normal sit n' goes spread from micros to high stakes. Sit-and-goers get a chance to win complimentary cash and satellite tickets through the weekly Sit & Crush leaderboard.

MTTs are a strength at the Winning Network, and it has the biggest Sunday Major open to Virginia's citizens. It's called the Sunday Special, and it costs $200 + $15 to participate, for which you get the chance to compete for a share of the $150,000 guaranteed prize pool. There are recurring tournament series throughout the year, like the Online Super Series, that distribute millions to the winners.

Americas Cardroom is great for ring game fanatics because there's a wide distribution of stakes available: from $0.01/$0.02 - $25/$50 in big-bet games and up to $30/$60 and, in some cases, even higher in limit poker. The games present are NL Hold'em, PL Omaha, PL Omaha/8, Limit O/8, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo. Everyone who plays any of these games automatically qualifies for prizes in the weekly The Beast rake race, which has paid out more than $12 million since it debuted. All players, whether they partake in ring games, sit-and-goes, or tournaments, get regular payments from the Elite Benefits rewards club.

Highlights for ACR Banner CTA

Clicking the above banner link will bring you to Americas Cardroom where you can open up your account. If you'd rather find out more first, then check out our honest ACR review section.

As a member of a poker network, Americas Cardroom operates in conjunction with several partner organizations. This enables all of these cooperating poker sites to combine their resources and thus deliver a better poker service that any of them could do alone. Other prominent “skins” on the Winning Poker Network include BlackChip Poker (read review), True Poker (read review), and PokerHost (read review). We've developed a relationship with all these rooms so that our readers can obtain WPN rakeback if they wish to forego the normal Elite Benefits program.

 

        Grand Network

5Dimes' positives image

Of all the networks we're telling you about, Grand might be one that you haven't heard of before. This is because it was only created in 2014 by top-notch bookie 5Dimes. Since it's backed by such an august internet gaming group, you needn't have any concerns about the safety of your funds. 5Dimes has a history of no-nonsense payments and integrity that many of its rivals would kill to have. Another benefit of being related to such a premier bookmaker is the fact that Grand has the resources to deploy a cross-platform poker solution. There are download installers for Windows and Mac along with apps for iOS and Android. There's even a Flash website where you can play with any machine that has an up-to-date web browser.

The major negative with 5Dimes is that there aren't a lot of players logged in at any one time. This is understandable because the room is still growing. The tables you do see, at stakes from $0.05/$0.10 up to $1/$2, will probably be significantly juicier than similar games at competing sites because of the significant number of sports and casino fish that sit at them.

The GPN lists tournaments only up to the $5.50 level, which is a bit disappointing, but there are daily NO-FEE tourneys that may send your return on investment into the sky. A $500 freeroll is open to all and represents a good value because of the relatively small field sizes. Add on the 50% rakeback deal that all our visitors receive, and you'll begin to understand why this is a highly desirable location for internet poker.

5Dimes Banner highlights CTA

If all of the above meets with your approval, then head over to 5Dimes now by following our banner above. You can read up on the network with our comprehensive and well-organized Grand Poker Network review.


 

How to Choose the Right Virginia Poker Site

Although all of the sites discussed above are top-notch operators, one or a couple of them may be better for you personally than the others. You'll have to make a choice based upon your own playing habits and what you are specifically looking for in a poker room. It's beyond our purview to tell you where to play for real money, but we can give you guidance on some of the important matters to think about before making your final decision.

► If you intend to grab the largest bonus available, then you'll be happy with Chico Network and its $2,500 for free.


► If you believe that player liquidity is a critical measurement, then Ignition and WPN have the sizeable traffic levels you seek.


► If a fully fleshed out rewards program is what you're after, then WPN's Elite Benefits and Horizon's Loyalty Levels will deliver ongoing perks.


► If you're planning to take advantage of reload bonuses, then Horizon and Winning Network have more of them than anywhere else.


► If you want to try a type of poker that's off the beaten path, then Ignition's Zone and Winning's unique SNG formats should hold your interest.


► If you wish to receive regular rakeback payments, then take a look at Horizon's 36% and Grand's 50% offerings.


► If you're looking to play from your mobile, then Chico, Ignition, and Grand have the best poker apps on the market.

 

Payout Report

Brown Money Bag

There are several processors supported for putting money onto these sites and receiving your payouts. Checks, money transfer services, and credit cards are just a few. You may do better by using Bitcoin than any of the more old-school methods because it has low fees and speedy results. All of the sites we advise you to join support this digital cryptocurrency. If you're a BTC novice, and you're not exactly sure how it works, then we have a thorough guide to getting started in Bitcoin that you might wish to browse through.

 

Virginia Online Poker Law

Legal Book

The Commonwealth of Virginia takes a strict stance against most types of gambling, and this is reflected in its laws. The relevant provisions are contained in Title 18.2, Crimes and Offenses Generally, Chapter 8, Crimes Involving Morals and Decency. Looking at the definitions contained in § 18.2-325, we see:

1. "Illegal gambling" means the making, placing or receipt of any bet or wager in the Commonwealth of money or other thing of value, made in exchange for a chance to win a prize, stake or other consideration or thing of value, dependent upon the result of any game, contest or any other event the outcome of which is uncertain or a matter of chance, whether such game, contest or event occurs or is to occur inside or outside the limits of the Commonwealth.

This wording is quite sweeping and seems to include poker along with many other forms of activity. However, there is an exemption for skill games in § 18.2-333:

Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent any contest of speed or skill between men, animals, fowl or vehicles, where participants may receive prizes or different percentages of a purse, stake or premium dependent upon whether they win or lose or dependent upon their position or score at the end of such contest.

This opens up the whole skill vs. luck in poker debate. The stipulations about receiving different percentages of a purse based on participants' finishing positions seem especially applicable to tournament poker specifically. There have actually been a few Virginia court cases that relate to this subject.

In 2010, the authorities in Portsmouth started closing down poker halls, claiming that Texas Hold'em was prohibited by law. One of the owners of a hall that had not yet been targeted, Charles Daniels, went to court to have the issue of whether or not poker was considered a skill game decided. 2004 WSOP Main Event champ Grey Raymer actually testified on Daniels' behalf. A lower court rejected his claims, but then the case went to the state's Supreme Court. The court threw the case out, saying that Daniels didn't have standing because his establishment had not had charges filed against it, so it was inappropriate for the court to make a ruling. In 2012, a restaurant owner named George Pitsilides was charged with felony gambling offenses for running poker games, and he initially expressed his belief that poker was a game of skill and thus permitted under § 18.2-333. However, he eventually accepted a plea deal so as to not be caught up in lengthy courtroom proceedings, and so there was no ruling on the legality of poker in this case either.

While hopes were raised in both of these instances that the judiciary would decide in favor of poker being a contest of skill, there was ultimately no resolution on this point. Courts in other areas of the United States have weighed in on this subject, like when Federal Judge Jack Weinstein decided that poker was a game of skill. We don't know how Virginia's judges would make up their minds on this matter if they had to, but they might be swayed by Weinstein's reasoning and therefore conclude that poker is more skill than luck.

Anyway, back to Virginia law and the penalties for illegal gambling, which are listed in § 18.2-326:

Except as otherwise provided in this article, any person who illegally gambles or engages in interstate gambling as defined in § 18.2-325 shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. If an association or pool of persons illegally gamble, each person therein shall be guilty of illegal gambling.

Class 3 misdemeanors subject the guilty party to a fine of up to $500, and there's no jail time involved. Even in the unlikely event that online poker is illegal, and you're arrested, charged, and convicted for playing it, the maximum liability you face is $500, which is a pretty minor punishment all things considered. This law is never enforced against individual players engaging in card games over the internet. Its main function is to allow officers to go after illicit brick-and-mortar gambling rings and facilities. As far as the realities on the ground go, you're completely in the clear partaking in online poker in your own house.

§ 18.2-326 goes on to state that those who gamble on horseraces without going through the properly licensed channels in Virginia are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and face stiffer punishments: fines as high as $2,500 and/or incarceration for as long as a year.

Private home games appear to be OK under §18.2-334 as long as nobody is acting as an “operator,” which is “any person, firm or association of persons, who conducts, finances, manages, supervises, directs or owns all or part of an illegal gambling enterprise, activity or operation.”:

Nothing in this article shall be construed to make it illegal to participate in a game of chance conducted in a private residence, provided such private residence is not commonly used for such games of chance and there is no operator as defined in subsection 4 of § 18.2-325.

Interestingly, the Old Dominion has a specific charge dealing with cheating, § 18.2-327 - Winning by fraud:

If any person while gambling cheats or by fraudulent means wins or acquires for himself or another money or any other valuable thing, he shall be fined not less than five nor more than ten times the value of such winnings. This penalty shall be in addition to any other penalty imposed under this article.

People who actually oversee unauthorized real money gaming can face felony convictions, fines of up to $20,000, and sentences of up to 10 years. Other infractions, with lesser penalties, including possession of a gambling device, owning a gambling place, and being an accessory to an illegal gambling enterprise. None of these punishments seem to have deterred offshore sites from the VA market because almost all of them that accept customers from other states also operate in Virginia too. There are additional parts of the law that regulate charitable gambling, horse racing, the state lottery, and daily fantasy sports.

 

Virginia Gambling History

Outline of Horse and Jockey

The first permanent English colony founded in the New World was Jamestown in 1607, and from the start, its residents enjoyed gaming for money. The pastime is mentioned in laws dating back to the 1610s. At first, these were just small games played with dice and cards, but later on, as Virginia increased in prosperity, betting on horse races became popular. The latter part of the 1600s saw rich planters, who aspired to become a sort of landed aristocracy, engage in horse racing as a means of competition and a display of social status. Usually, one competitor would challenge the other, and they would agree upon an amount to wager. The races were held publicly, not only to allow spectators to place their own side wagers on the results but also to provide witnesses in the event of any disputes. In some cases, all the rules were spelled out elaborately in documents and agreed to by both parties. A surprisingly high number of horse races ended in lawsuits, and so the presence of witnesses and accurate records helped the courts determine what actually happened.

Lottery Ticket from the Mountain Road Lottery
Ticket From the Mountain Road Lottery
Signed by George Washington

The other main focus of early Virginian gambling was the lottery. As early as 1612, in fact, King James I authorized a lottery to raise funds for the struggling Jamestown settlement. While this one was held in England, Virginia quickly became capable of hosting its own lotteries. They were used for public improvements especially for educational institutions. Not only did the public authorities use them to raise money, but so did private individuals. George Washington was involved in a commercial project to build a road through the Allegheny Mountains, and he set up a lottery to raise capital for it. This proposal didn't bear fruit, but the lottery tickets signed by George Washington in 1768 have become rare collector's items. The deeply indebted Thomas Jefferson petitioned the Virginia legislature in 1826 to allow him to conduct a lottery to raise money by disposing of his property, and they allowed him to do so. However, the lottery failed to generate enough interest, and Jefferson passed his debts on to his heirs when he died later in 1826..

The state constitution of 1851 contained a ban on lotteries, and this was followed by an 1897 prohibition on racetrack betting. During the 1920s and '30s, Virginia was never really infested by mobsters to the same extent as some other states although there were some bootlegging operations in Arlington. Additionally, there was a concentration of illicit activity on the Potomac River within houseboats that secretly contained speakeasies, brothels, and gambling games. Under the law, most of the surface of the river was under Maryland jurisdiction, so Virginia could do nothing, and Maryland had little interest in policing it. These boating activities declined during the '50s.

In 1973, certain forms of charitable gaming were permitted, and in 1987, the Virginia Lottery was created. 1988 marked the return of legal wagering on horse races, and in 2016, Virginia made arrangements for a regulated daily fantasy sports market.

 

Regulation Chances for Online Poker

File Folder

With a higher-than-average population and a fairly strong economy, Virginia might seem like a good candidate for regulated online poker. However, the state doesn't yet have any brick-and-mortar casinos, which typically precede any expansion into internet wagering. To date, there haven't been any attempts to introduce bills promoting licensed online poker in VA. There's still hope though. The state's lawmakers have shown a willingness to add more forms of gambling as evidenced by their passage of S646 in 2016, which taxes and regulates daily fantasy sports sites. There was also legislation proposed in 2017 that would classify poker as a game of skill and allow poker tournaments to occur under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Taking all of this into consideration, we feel that licensed online poker won't be available in Virginia in the coming few years, but it may eventually be implemented someday.

Land Based Gambling

Logo of the Virginia Lottery

There are very few opportunities for land based gambling in The Mother of Presidents state. There are neither commercial nor tribal casinos, and the only licensed racetrack closed its doors in 2014. It is still possible to partake in pari-mutuel race wagering at one of a few off track betting sites. You can play the Virginia Lottery, and there are limited charitable real money gaming events. None of these limited forms of gambling includes poker. If you want to play cards in a live casino setting, then you must head to neighboring West Virginia, Maryland, or North Carolina.

 

Conclusion

Online poker in Virginia is an exciting hobby, and you won't encounter any legal issues for participating in it. There are a few Virginia online poker sites that are reliable and honorable, and you'll have a great time no matter which one of them you eventually elect to play at.

 

 

Do you have an address in a nearby state?

Virginia and Adjacent States

If you happen to have another address in a nearby state, be it your business address, summer home, second apartment, family estate, etc, you may have other online poker options available to you.  Here are a list of the states that border Virgina and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: Delaware, Kentucky, MarylandNorth Carolina, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. For a broader overview of the poker scene online for U.S. players, check out our guide to U.S.-friendly online poker.

There's a lot of doubt and misinformation around regarding internet poker in Virginia. If you have friends or family who love poker, but you think that they may not know much about their options for enjoying it online, please consider sharing this page with them and thereby spreading knowledge about this wonderful game.