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Playing Online poker in the State of Minnesota

Minnesota's state map
Minnesota's state flag

Minnesota still has a long way to go to get regulated online poker in the state. Minnesota is actually much more liberal than most people think, and it has been open to many ideas in the past. With an affluent population that needs to spend a lot of time inside from the cold, real-money online poker in Minnesota seems like a good idea. Luckily, offshore sites service Minnesotans right now, so you can play card games on the internet notwithstanding the fact that there are no state-regulated sites. All of the best US-facing online sites allow citizens of the state of Minnesota to participate, and that means a lot of great opportunities for those in the state. Below is a list of all the premier Minnestora online poker sites that are available and the promotions they offer!

 

Online Poker Sites Available in Minnesota

There are quite a few poker rooms online for Minnesotans to play at, but they're not all trustworthy. We've done the legwork to determine which ones have stellar software, fair RNGs, and speedy payouts. Set your mind at ease, and know that whichever of the below sites you join, you'll be in good hands.

 

    Ignition Poker

Positive Attributes of Ignition

With the largest poker room open to Minnesota citizens, Ignition won't leave you waiting for a table to start. This PaiWangLuo Network site extends to all newcomers a 100% up to $1,000 poker bonus, which is worth about 30% rakeback on tournaments (single- and multi-table) and a bit less in ring games.

 Ignition Poker's Play Now Banner CTA

No Limit Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, and PLO/8 cash tables run from $0.02/$0.05 to $10/$20, and there's limit Hold'em and Limit O8 for you to sample up to $30/$60. Zone Poker is a fast-fold form of poker that's unlike anything else offered by any other U.S.-friendly site. In Zone, you can fold your hand and instantly receive new hole cards at a new table. You can really ramp up the pace of your gameplay and avoid the delays that are inherent in normal, regular-speed tables.

Sit n' gos are denominated from $1 + $0.05 up to $200 + $14, and there's actually a decent selection of PLO contests at least at the lower buyin levels. The real excitement is in the multi-table tournament lobby however. The headline weekly event is the $100,000 Guaranteed on Sundays, which costs $150 + $12 to enter. There's even more cash-packed action to be had in the tournament series, like the Super Millions Poker Open, which run a few times per year.

All games are anonymized at Ignition. This means nobody's username is listed; instead, everyone is referred to by a randomly generated player number. This way of doing things has both its merits and drawbacks, but the net result is that recreational players feel comfortable here because they can't be tracked and targeted by experienced pros. The soft games are one of the reasons we named this site the best place for Americans to find cash games on the internet.

Downloadable installers are present on the Ignition website for PCs and Macs. Additionally, there's a responsive web app that works with almost every modern mobile device. However, the web poker solution doesn't support sit-n-gos or tourneys, just cash games. When you need a break from poker, you can sample hundreds of casino games, and you'll get a 100% up to $1,000 bonus to use in the casino section.

Professional Rakeback: Ignition cta Banner

Play poker at Ignition today by clicking the link above and registering your account. To read up on this poker room a bit first, consult our in-depth Ignition Casino Poker review.

 

        Chico Network

Positive Attributes of Chico Poker

The Chico Poker Network has the third-largest poker site that Americans can play at. Our favored operator is Sportsbetting.ag, and it rolls out the red carpet for new players with a 100% up to $2,500 bonus to use at the tables. This bonus is equal to 33% rakeback, and it pays out in $5 increments.

SB.ag Banner: Play Now CTA

Multi-table tournaments aren't really a selling point of SB.ag, and the lobby mostly consists of micro- and small-stakes The exception is the Sunday Main Event, a $90 + $9 contest that distributes no less than $50,000 to the winners. On the final Sunday of each month, the Main Event grows to a $100 + $9 buyin and a guaranteed prize pool of $100,000. Things are better when it comes to sit-n-gos, which are present between $0.05 and $500 + $25. All but the high end of these single-table games start up pretty frequently.

If cash games are your specialty, then you'll be able to join tables listed from $0.01/$0.02 through $5/$10 in NLHE and PLO. There are also some PLO/8 games available although the blind levels spread aren't as extensive as for the other two big-bet formats. There's a network-wide Bad Beat Jackpot that's active at specially marked No Limit Hold'em tables at $0.50/$1.00 and above, and it has reached a size of $650K in the past.

Sportsbetting.ag has a number of ways for you to scoop up some extra cash. The comp points system will allow you to use your points to buy into specified tournaments at a rate of about 5% cashback. In addition, there are three leaderboards every week, one for cash, one for SNGs, and one for MTTs. They pay out $20,000 in total to the highest placers. You can try to climb your way to the top of these charts by playing on your PC or Mac via one of the download installers, or you can access the room through the superb mobile app for iOS and Android.

Sportsbetting.ag Banner Highlights Call to Action

To start out at Sportsbetting.ag today, click on the banner above. Or if you'd rather learn more about the site first, browse over to our comprehensive review of the Sportsbetting.ag Poker room. SB.ag has a sister site that you might wish to check out: BetOnline review.

 

    Horizon Network

Intertops' positive features image

With a history of offering honest gambling services for more than 30 years, Intertops is a name you can confide in for all your poker needs. Newly depositing players are entitled to a 200% up to $1,000 poker bonus. The clearance rate varies depending on the types of games you play, but it's worth approximately 27% rakeback.

Play Now at Intertops!

The Horizon Network isn't really among the largest poker destinations on the internet, and the majority of the ring games that are active are for stakes of $50NL and lower. Sit n' gos seldom fire, and those that do run tend to be for buyins of $5 or less. MTTs are also concentrated at small stakes, but there is a $50 + $5 Sundowner tournament every day that guarantees $1,500 ($2,500 on Sundays).

When you make your first deposit, in addition to the welcome bonus up to $1,000, you'll get 100 free bets to use in the attached casino. These complimentary wagers have a value of $90 or higher at the blackjack tables. Furthermore, everyone who joins Intertops through our links will have 36% dealt rakeback automatically applied to their accounts. Additionally, you'll be able to enter a $1,000 monthly depositors freeroll.

If you continue grinding at 'Tops going forward, you'll see your profitability rise even further. There's a $4,000 rake race every week for which you can qualify regardless of whether you play ring games, tournaments, or sit-and-gos. When your first deposit bonus runs out, it won't be long before you can redeposit using one of the frequent reload codes that the room provides. A loyalty tiers program allows you to pick up free goodies from time to time, and satellite tourneys (often with considerable overlays) give you a chance to win inexpensive seats for major offline events.

Intertops ProfRB Poker cta

Signing up for Intertops is a hassle-free endeavor, and you can do it by clicking the above banner link. We've compiled a lot of extra info on this site, which you can absorb by reading our accurate review of the Intertops Poker platform.

 

     Winning Network

WPN Positive Features Image

The Winning Poker Network and its predecessors have been supplying the U.S. market with online poker goodness since 2001. Americas Cardroom is the top site on the network, and it will grant you a 100% up to $1,000 bonus when you make a deposit. You'll also get a $50 credit, good toward Jackpot Poker SNG buyins.

Play ACR Poker Now

For cash game poker, you can choose whatever level between $0.01/$0.02 and $25/$50 is appropriate for your bankroll if you play No Limit Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, or Pot Limit Omaha/8. There are plenty of fixed-limit games for you to enjoy too, like LHE, LO8, and Seven Card Stud. They all reach as high as $30/$60, and some variants are offered at even larger stakes.

The WPN has a few creative styles of sit-n-go that aren't found elsewhere. Jackpot Poker, for which you'll get a free $50, seats three players and determines the prize pool based upon a randomly selected multiplier that can be as much as 2,500 times the buy. SNG 2.0 is a nine-max game that also incorporates random elements in a pregame round to calculate the prize pool, and the right combinations can lead to a situation where all participants get paid. There are, of course, normal sit-n-goes also, at both micros and high stakes.

Americas Cardroom is, in our opinion, the leading location for U.S. players to participate in tournaments online. Its Sunday Major, the $200 + $15 Sunday Special, guarantees a whopping $150,000, making it the largest such tourney available weekly to Americans. Recurring series, like the Online Super Series, mean that you can play in dozens of events and attempt to take home huge prizes.

Sit n' go players can collect points toward the Sit & Crush leaderboard while cash game aficionados get to participate in a similar promo called The Beast. Each of these two specials pays out real money every week to the top finishers along with entries to satellite tournaments. This is only a portion of the rewards at ACR, though, because the Elite Benefits club will issue you free goodies as you play depending on the amount of rake you generate.

ACR Reasons to Play cta

Follow the banner link above to create your account today. If you want to learn more before doing so, read through our detailed Americas Cardroom poker review.

Because ACR is part of a poker network, there are other organizations that it partners with in order to craft the best possible poker room. Some of the other leading entities on the Winning Poker Network are: BlackChip Poker (read review), True Poker (read review), and PokerHost (read review). You can get a rakeback deal at any of these sites. To find out how, head over to our page explaining how to get set up with WPN rakeback.

 

        Grand Network

Positives of Grand Poker

The Grand Poker Network is the newest group on our list of poker sites for Minnesotans, but this doesn't mean that there's anything inexperienced or untested about it. You see, it was designed by 5Dimes, one of the foremost companies for online gambling. 5Dimes was tired of making do with poker software provided by others and decided to instead open up its own room. This poker site is compatible with Windows and Macs through downloadable application software, and you can also install apps for iOS and Android.

The traffic at 5Dimes is a bit on the light side, which is understandable when we remember that it's still growing. The plus side of this is that poker professionals haven't yet started to head here in significant numbers, leaving the tables populated by gamblers who are untutored in proper poker strategy. You can play cash games from $0.05/$0.10 to $1/$2, and the quality of the opposition at any given level will probably be lower than at most other sites.

On the tournament front, supersized guarantees and stratospheric action are totally absent because the largest tourneys run by 5D are only $5 + $0.50 affairs. Lest you ignore the MTT section, though, we must inform you that there are a few of these tournaments every day that are FEE-FREE. Every penny you and the other participants pay will be distributed to the winners with the house taking nothing for itself. Between these zero-fee contests and the $500 freeroll that's held every Sunday, you have a wonderful opportunity to grow your balance starting from a small figure. The 50% rakeback that 5Dimes provides will also enhance your profitability nicely.

Grand Poker Banner CTA

Become a member of 5Dimes now by clicking through our link above. You can educate yourself further about this network by perusing our review of the Grand Network poker sites.

 


 

How to Choose the Right Minnesota Poker Site

All of the poker companies described above are fine suppliers of online poker to Minnesotans, and you can't really go wrong no matter which of them you choose. There's no single one of them that's best for all individuals, so you'll have to think carefully about your own priorities and habits when selecting among them. It would be impossible for us to point you directly toward the poker provider that's right for you, so we won't attempt to do so. What we are willing to do is offer you a list of matters to ponder while you're making your decision.

If your principal criteria is the total poker traffic at a site, then Ignition and WPN contain the busy lobbies you seek.


If you're looking forward to a gigantic bonus, then the Chico Networks $2,500 bonus ought to meet with your approval.


If you have your heart set on playing from your Mac or mobile, then Chico, Ignition, and Grand have the multi-system compatibility you're after.


If you approve of rooms that provide regular rewards, then WPN's Elite Benefits and Horizon's Loyalty Levels are for you.


If you're searching for unique games, then Ignition's Zone Poker and Winning's unusual SNG formats merit your attention.


If you wish to claim the highest possible rakeback bonus, then Horizon has a 36% offer, and Grand provides 50%.


If you want to see amazing tournament prize pools, then Ignition and Winning Poker Network have the largest events for Americans.

 

Payout Reports

Black Money Bag

Funding your poker accounts and receiving your winnings present no problems at all when you opt to play at one of the sites we recommend. Deposit methods include credit cards and money transfer services, and you can request a check when you're ready to cash out. However, these processors are a bit slow, and some of them charge hefty fees. You can avoid these issues by banking in Bitcoin, a digital currency that has been in the headlines over the past few years. If you're unfamiliar with it, then it might be prudent to pore over our guide to using Bitcoin for internet poker.

 

Minnesota Online Poker Law

Book of Law

The portion of the Minnnesota Statutes dealing with gambling is fairly straightforward at least in terms of being easy to find. As we'll see shortly, the way these paragraphs are worded does leave some uncertainty as to what they actually mean. The codes dealing with real money wagering are contained in 609.75 and the following sections. The main law proscribing gambling is 609.755:

Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a misdemeanor:
(1) makes a bet;
(2) sells or transfers a chance to participate in a lottery;
(3) disseminates information about a lottery, except a lottery conducted by an adjoining state, with intent to encourage participation therein;
(4) permits a structure or location owned or occupied by the actor or under the actor's control to be used as a gambling place; or
(5) except where authorized by statute, possesses a gambling device.
Clause (5) does not prohibit possession of a gambling device in a person's dwelling for amusement purposes in a manner that does not afford players an opportunity to obtain anything of value.

Poker might be included in (1) depending on how the state defines a “bet.” Fortunately, there are a series of definitions in 609.75 where we encounter:

Subd. 2.Bet. A bet is a bargain whereby the parties mutually agree to a gain or loss by one to the other of specified money, property or benefit dependent upon chance although the chance is accompanied by some element of skill.

Even if chance is “accompanied by some element of skill,” the transaction is still considered a bet. This may appear bad for poker, both live and online, but then in the following list of things that are exempted from being considered a bet, we find:

(3) offers of purses, prizes or premiums to the actual contestants in any bona fide contest for the determination of skill, speed, strength, endurance, or quality or to the bona fide owners of animals or other property entered in such a contest;

Whether or not poker is a “contest for the determination of skill” is open to debate. An authoritative voice in this discussion is federal judge Jack B. Weinstein, who opined in 2012 that poker was indeed a game in which skill plays the predominant role. The Poker Players Alliance has produced a paper further buttressing this line of reasoning. We, of course, have no special insight as to how the Minnesota authorities view the matter, but given the fact that the law could be interpreted in more than one way, we're of the opinion that they'd rather take a hands-off approach when it comes to individuals competing privately in online card games.

The history of law enforcement activities in MN bears out this view. Anyone found guilty of violating 609.755 is subject to the penalties attached to misdemeanors, which are a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to 90 days. But we haven't found any cases of any player being brought up on charges, much less convicted, for participating in internet-based poker. Realistically, there's zero chance of your being legally prosecuted for playing online poker in Minnesota.

It's a different story for those actually trying to run an illicit gambling game within the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Maintaining a gambling place, participating in the income of a gambling place, conducting a lottery, bookmaking, and several other crimes are either gross misdemeanors or felonies.

Minnesota actually tried to go after offshore real money gaming sites in 2009, requesting that ISPs block their web domains. However, this action was fought by the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association. Faced with opposition and increasing public scrutiny, officials opted to abandon their efforts. Today, most internet poker operators feel they have nothing to fear from the state, and they have undoubtedly been instructed so by their professional counsel. Hardly any of them that serve the United States have abandoned the Minnesotan market.

You might be curious to know that Minnesota actually has a law governing home poker games. They're more or less allowed subject to certain restrictions. The details are spelled out in 609.761 - Operations Permitted:

Subd. 3.Social skill game. Sections 609.755 and 609.76 do not prohibit tournaments or contests that satisfy all of the following requirements:
(1) the tournament or contest consists of the card games of chance commonly known as cribbage, skat, sheepshead, bridge, euchre, pinochle, gin, 500, smear, Texas hold'em, or whist;
(2) the tournament or contest does not provide any direct financial benefit to the promoter or organizer;
(3) the value of all prizes awarded for each tournament or contest does not exceed $200; and
(4) for a tournament or contest involving Texas hold'em:
(i) no person under 18 years of age may participate;
(ii) the payment of an entry fee or other consideration for participating is prohibited;
(iii) the value of all prizes awarded to an individual winner of a tournament or contest at a single location may not exceed $200 each day; and
(iv) the organizer or promoter must ensure that reasonable accommodations are made for players with disabilities. Accommodations to the table and the cards shall include the announcement of the cards visible to the entire table and the use of Braille cards for players who are blind.

This business about accommodations for people with disabilities seems odd because nobody would invite someone with such an impairment to participate in a social game unless provisions were made to assist them. Another weird thing about this law is that poker games other than Texas Hold'em appear to be disallowed. Regardless of these curious points, home game poker is given a protected spot in the Minnesota legal statutes.

The legal structure of Minnesota contains entire sections devoted to the types of gaming that are explicitly licensed and regulated. These include charitable bingo and raffles, pari-mutuel horse racing wagering, and the state lottery. Tribal casinos are governed by compacts negotiated with each tribe rather than being subject to MN state law.

 

 

Minnesota's Gambling History

Hourglass

Even before Minnesota became a state, it took a hard line on gambling. The territorial legislature passed laws against it in 1851, and a ban on lotteries was enshrined in the original state constitution of 1858. Under the legal interpretations in effect at the time, any type of gambling was considered a lottery, and this is the way the language has been viewed since then. The Mississippi River does originate in northern Minnesota, and so there were a few riverboat gambling opportunities but nothing comparable in scope to what was available further south. Anyway, by the 1850s, the riverborne gambling facilities were but a shadow of what they had been a few decades prior. Apart from the occasional illicit gambling saloon, Minnesotans didn't really have many opportunities to place wagers.

John O'Connor
John O'Connor
St. Paul Police Chief
1900 - 1920

This changed during the Prohibition era. The ground was cleared in 1900 by St. Paul Chief of Police John O'Connor. Under his infamous layover agreement, criminals could stay in the city free from worry about getting arrested as long as they checked in with the police upon their arrival, handed over a portion of their criminal proceeds, and refrained from committing any crimes within the city limits. The system lasted for nearly four decades, and St. Paul became infested by bootleggers and other organized crime figures, some of whom even relocated their headquarters there. Although St. Paul itself remained relatively clean, illegal gambling dens popped up throughout much of the surrounding area of Minnesota. John Dillinger, Al Capone, and Bonnie and Clyde were some of the notorious “guests” who spent some time in St. Paul during this era. The FBI got involved, however, and this arrangement between lawmen and crooks broke down in the middle of the '30s.

In 1945, the state made its first move to authorize gambling by permitting charitable bingo in some circumstances. There was another form of gambling that was growing in popularity though: slot machines. Minnesota's lake resorts were remote from cities (and the prying eyes of the law), and they enticed tourists eager for a getaway from their busy everyday lives. Many proprietors decided to boost their revenues through slots, and the local police often overlooked these infractions. Reformist governor Luther Youngdahl targeted these establishments, and he was mostly successful in eliminating slots from the state through a 1947 law that revoked all the licenses, including liquor licenses, from those who possessed gambling devices.

In 1963, private social gaming was allowed for the first time, and during the '70s, additional forms of charitable gaming besides bingo were added to the menu of permitted activities. It was the '80s that would see an explosion of real money gambling within the North Star State. In 1982, a referendum passed in favor of pari-mutuel horse betting, and the Canterbury Downs track opened in 1985. Another referendum in 1988 approved of the Minnesota Lottery, which duly began operating shortly thereafter. The state signed compacts for tribal gaming with local groups in 1989. In 1999, live cardrooms were added to the state's racetracks, which also meant that it was OK for tribal casinos to offer poker as well.

 

Regulation Chance for Online Poker

Blue Document

The Gopher State does have a lively brick-and-mortar gambling scene with its native casinos and “racinos,” but this hasn't translated into any particular support for licensed online poker. There haven't been any pieces of legislation introduced that would add this form of gaming to the roster of legally authorized activities, and there are no immediate prospects of any such bills appearing. The state has flirted with internet gambling before when the Minnesota Lottery introduced online ticket sales, but the Minnesota Legislature took a dim view of this and demanded that the Lottery stop. The authorities have made a few harsh pronouncements against betting for money over the internet in the past, so there's not likely to be much help from that quarter. We must also consider that the tribal casinos would have a large say in whether or not state-regulated internet poker would be welcome in the state, and most tribes have come out against it. We feel that legalized online poker is many years away from becoming a reality in Minnesota.

 

Land Based Gambling

Logo of Canterbury Park

Minnesota is home to a whole host of gambling that includes more or less everything except commercial casinos. This means that Minnesota has tribal gaming, pari-mutuel horse track betting, charitable gambling and a full state lottery for citizens to choose from. The tribal casinos are pretty much the same as any normal casinos in other states and offer a pretty extensive collection of games for people to choose from, including poker. The racetracks in Minnesota also have poker rooms, and they're an order of magnitude larger than those in the casinos. Canterbury Park in Shakopee has the largest number of tables with 32 of them that deal Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi/Lo, and Seven Card Stud. There are daily, small-stakes tournaments as well.

 

Conclusion

It's no trouble at all to play online poker in Minnesota from the comfort of your own home. You won't need to worry about if your money is safe, and you won't face any legal prosecution either. Find the Minnesota online poker room that looks best to you, make a deposit, and start playing cards today.

 

 

Do you have an address in a nearby state?

Minnesota and the Bordering States

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 is a list of the states that border Minnesota and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. For a more generalized rundown of U.S. poker in all 50 states, examine our guide for American online poker players.

Ignorance is rife regarding the subject of online poker, but you can do something about this sad state of affiars. Please think about sharing this page with people you know who are fans of poker but may not have accurate information on the game as played online in the United States.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

You'll find presented below a selection of the questions people often have about online poker in Minnesota. It's our goal to answer any doubts or concerns that our readers have.

Is Global Poker legal in Minnesota?

Global Poker has put forth the case that it's completely legal because of the way it has structured its business legally. We don't really buy into this formulation for reasons that are too lengthy to get into here. Our Global Poker review goes further into detail on this and related topics.

 

Additional Resources

There's a lot more to discover about gambling in Minnesota, and you can conduct research at these sites:

 


We strive to maintain this information and update it frequently with our research. However, we are not immune to making mistakes or omitting information that you, dear reader, may find of use. If you have any further questions not addressed in this guide or have noted any discrepancies or inaccuracies we urge you to contact us with your questions and concerns so that we may swiftly address them!