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Online Poker in Ohio in 2022: Legal Games for Buckeye State Residents

Play Online Poker in Ohio

Can I play online poker in Ohio? The answer is yes!

Is it legal to play online poker in Ohio? The answer to this is also yes!


Ohio is one of those states that doesn’t get the credit that other large states do, but it does have some fairly bustling cities with affluent populations. These well-off populations of notable size have allowed the live poker market to grow substantially in the last few years and supply a ton of players for online poker in Ohio too.

Something that has not seen a lot of movement up to this point though has been regulated Ohio online poker. While it might be something that is done in the future, that is still a few years away at the earliest, so the citizens of Ohio shouldn’t bank on it right now. Luckily, they still have great choices at the moment with offshore sites providing full services for the state.

It's perfectly legal for you to frequent these virtual poker halls. Ohio's gambling statutes have never been used to prosecute individuals who engage in online poker play. When it comes to federal laws, you're in the clear as well. All of the anti-gambling legislation that has been passed by Congress, like the UIGEA, targets those actually running the sites, not ordinary players. Thus, you're perfectly secure, from a legal perspective, if you want to log on and fire up a few tables.

What Online Poker Sites Can I Play in Ohio?

As someone who's looking for a place to play Ohio online poker, it's in your best interest to only consider those companies that are sound. We've compiled an enumeration of the leading reputable internet poker rooms, which we've presented below. Whichever one of them you wind up joining, you'll be assured of fair gameplay, smoothly functioning software, and the prompt payment of your winnings. Continue reading for all the details on these first-rate internet poker operators.



150% up to $1,500
4.5 / 5



Plenty of Buckeyes head over to the tables at Ignition Poker whenever the feeling strikes them, and in this, they are joined by countless others. Indeed, Ignition is the largest site for U.S.-facing poker, a testament to the esteem in which it's held by the poker-playing community. When you make your initial deposit, you'll score a 100% up to $1,000 bonus, which is worth 50% rakeback on tourneys, sit-n-goes, and ring games. If you make your deposit with the crypto-currency Bitcoin, this bonus jumps up to 125% up to $1,250.

The PaiWangLuo Network, of which Ignition is a member, manages its poker room a bit differently than competitors do. You see, all players are anonymous here; they're identified as “Player 1,” “Player 2,” et cetera. This way of doing things makes it all but impossible for professionals to track the fish, and as a consequence, beginners and recreational players feel comfortable here. This has resulted in what are perhaps the softest tables to be found anywhere on the internet.

If cash games are what you like, then you'll be able to join them from $0.02/$0.05 to $10/$20 in big-bet games (NLHE, PLO, and PLO/8). There are also fixed limit Hold'em tables as well up to $30/$60. Zone Poker is a type of fast-fold poker. When you fold your hand at any point, you'll move immediately to another table and receive new hole cards. This nonstop action means that you can see hundreds of hands per hour as opposed to the 50 or 75 that you'd be able to play at a normal table.

The SNG selection at Ignition consists of normal and turbo games as well as a few non-traditional formats, like Beginners contests that pay out a larger fraction of the field and Triple-Ups, which pay one-third of the entrants three times their buyin. The newest type of SNG to debut at Ignition is Jackpot Sit & Go, which uses a randomly chosen multiplier to decide how big the prize pool will be. The highest multiplier is 1,200, meaning that at the largest buyin level – $60 – it's possible to compete for $72,000 at a time.

Heading over to the multi-table lobby, you'll see events with more than $1,500,000 in guarantees every week. The $150 + $12 $150K Guaranteed is the Sunday Major here, and it often beats its minimum payout figure by a healthy margin. Throughout the year, tournament series like the Super Millions Poker Open pop up, giving you a chance to win your share of multiple millions of dollars.

Ignition's poker product comes with a mobile client that you can access through the web browser on your smartphone or tablet. It has all the games from the Windows and Mac desktop versions: cash games, sit-n-goes, Jackpots, and tournaments. In addition to the poker room, Ignition also has a casino, and you'll get a 100% up to $1,000 bonus to try out the slots, table games, and other real-money gaming options.



100% up to $1,000
4.4 / 5



SB Poker, on the Chico Poker Network, manages a full gambling lineup, including poker but also casino games, live dealer tables, a sportsbook, and more. When you decide to make this site your place for poker online, you'll be rewarded with a 100% bonus up to a max of $1,000.

You can play at Chico from either a Mac or PC because the appropriate download installers are waiting for you on Sportsbetting's website. This room also provides a free poker odds calculator, so you can get a leg up on your competitors. If mobile gaming appeals to you, then you can use an app for iOS and Android to play poker on your smart device. This mobile poker software is among the best in the business, delivering an experience pretty close to that available for desktops.

No Limit Texas Hold'em and Pot Limit Omaha tables are both listed from $0.05/$0.10 to $5/$10: enough to satisfy everyone but the most baller high-rollers. There's also 6+ Hold'em and Boost fast-fold poker for those in search of something a bit different.

SNGs are available at whatever levels you prefer from $1.50 up to $200. The available tourney selection has historically been a bit lacking, but lately, this network has been adding MTTs to its schedule regularly. You get the chance to compete for sizable prizes on Sunday when the $100 + $9 Main Event runs with a guarantee of $60,000. Sometimes, the Main Event is bumped up to a higher guaranteed amount, occasionally as high as $125,000.

As you play, you'll collect comp points that can be traded in for tournament buyins at a rate of about 5% valueback on the rake you pay. What's more, there are weekly cash game and SNG leaderboards. They distribute $15,000 to the top achievers every seven days. In addition, there are a host of other promos for the sportsbook, casinos, and other sections of the portfolio.



100% up to $500
4.2 / 5



The games at are identical to those at Ignition Casino because they're both partner sites on the PaiWangLuo Network. Nevertheless, there are differences between the two organizations, not least of which is the fact that Bovada has a sportsbook and racebook unlike Ignition. The price you pay for this versatility is a smaller poker bonus – 100% up to $500 as opposed to the $1,000 deal available at Ignition.

The sportsbook comes with a 50% up to $250 bonus, which jumps up to 75% up to $750 if you elect to deposit via Bitcoin. You can place straight wagers, parlays, teasers, and props. It's even possible to put action down even after contests have already begun through the Live Betting interface. The leagues covered comprise major U.S. sports along with a selection of sporting events from around the world.

The racebook lists around 200 tracks from the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa. You get full track odds on both straight and exotic wagers. Racebook bets count fully toward the sports bonus at Bovada, so you can feel free to mix your time between the two sections without worrying about affecting your bonus clearance.

The Bovada Casino has the same nifty features that Ignition has. There are casino leaderboards that let you compete for small prizes by playing the designated games during specified timeframes. They cost nothing extra to enter; you simply need to enjoy the gameplay like you normally would but with the additional incentive of maybe scoring a free bonus. You'll get a bonus of 100% up to $1,000 on each of your first three casino bonuses, which is bumped up to 125% up to $1,250 for BTC transfers, meaning that your total casino bonus cash can reach as high as $3,750!



200% up to $1,000
4.1 / 5



The flagship site of the Horizon Network, Intertops, is known more for its sports-betting platform than for its poker side. Yet, it brings the same reputation for honesty and competence to poker that it has achieved in the sportsbetting aspect of its operations. Newcomers are entitled to a 200% up to $1,000 poker bonus and 25 free spins to deploy in the attached casino.

The games here are concentrated at microstakes, and traffic above $0.25/$0.50 NL is pretty sparse. The sit and go lobby is almost deserted apart from the occasional game at $5 and below. Multi-table tournaments, on the other hand, start up fairly regularly. The highlight is the $100 + $10 Sundowner Special, which takes place on Sunday and comes with a guarantee of $10,000.

One area in which Intertops excels is in the number and variety of live poker events that it hosts qualifiers for. Several times per year, you can try to satellite your way to a poker vacation in locations around the world, like Austria, St. Maarten, and Las Vegas. There are frequent overlays and Facebook contests allowing you to try to win your seat for free.

Your poker bonus of up to $1,000 is worth about 27% rakeback although the rate of return varies depending on the games you play. You'll also get 36% dealt rakeback when you sign up through our links. Stay on the lookout for reload bonuses, which appear once or twice a month, to boost your account balance even further.



100% up to $1,000
4.0 / 5



Having grown a lot since its debut, the Winning Poker Network is now the second-largest internet poker site open to citizens of Ohio according to player liquidity figures. The first time you deposit at the leading site, Americas Cardroom, you'll get a 100% up to $1,000 poker bonus (equal to 20% rakeback).

Both low- and high-stakes players will feel comfortable here because the cash game action ranges from $0.01/$0.02 to $25/$50 for no limit and pot limit games. Limit games (Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud 8 or Better) top out at $30/$60 and even higher in some variants.

ACR was the first US-facing room to introduce lottery-style poker in the form of Jackpot Poker. This is a three-player contest that determines the prize pool via a randomized multiplier thus adding the excitement of a lottery to normal poker gameplay. There are other, standard contests at micro stakes through high stakes.

MTTs abound, including the $200 + $15 Sunday Special, which distributes at least $150,000 to the winners every week. On a less regular basis, there are tourney series, like the Online Super Series, that award seven figures in cash across dozens of events.

By no means do you have to play tourneys to pick up some additional money at ACR though. The Beast and Sit & Crush leaderboards hand out thousands of dollars and hundreds of satellite entries per week to the top-placing cash game and sit n' go competitors respectively.

Americas Cardroom doesn't stand alone; it's part of the Winning Poker Network. Like most poker networks do, WPN allows its members to combine their poker game traffic and software development resources more efficiently than they could acting by themselves. You may wish to investigate the other premier sites on this network: BlackChip Poker (read review) and True Poker (read review). If you're searching for rakeback at any of these sites, then don't neglect our page explaining how to get WPN rakeback.


How to Choose the Right Ohio Poker Site

The sites we've talked about all have their own particular selling points and drawbacks. Thus, we can't really nominate any one of them as the unquestioned best. Based upon your own preferences and needs, you'll have to choose the one that seems right to you. We have, however, come up with several things for you to bear in mind while contemplating which site to sign up for.

If you don't like to wait around for games to fill, then the player numbers at Ignition, Bovada, and Americas Cardroom should be enough for you.

If you have your mind set on rakeback returns, then the 36% available at Intertops ought to leave you happy.

If you feel you deserve a superior bonus percentage match, then you can head over to Intertops for 200% up to $1,000.

If you don't wish to be tethered to a desktop computer, then the mobile apps at SB Poker, Ignition, and Bovada were made with you in mind.

If you're searching for something out of the ordinary, then Ignition's fast-fold Zone Poker and ACR's creative tournament formats may appeal to you.

If you seek an all-in-one real money gambling destination, then SB Poker, Bovada, and Intertops have casinos and sportsbooks waiting for your bets.

If you want recurring rewards, then Americas Cardroom's Elite Benefits and Intertops' loyalty program may meet with your approval.

Payout Reports

Black Bag of Money

Moving money around the internet is a lot easier than it used to be because of the emergence of the crypto-currency Bitcoin. You can conduct your poker deposits and withdrawals using old-school methods, like credit cards and money transfer services, but they may subject you to irritating fees and/or delays before you have your money in your hands. With Bitcoin, you can avoid these hassles. If you're not acquainted with this digital currency, then check out our beginners guide to Bitcoin setup for instructions on how to use BTC.

Ohio Poker Law

Book of Legalities

The Ohio statutes governing gambling are exceptionally long, but making them easier to read is the fact that there are tons of definitions given for the specific words used in the laws. We're getting our information from Title XXIX, Chapter 2915 of the Ohio Revised Code, which is entitled “Gambling.” First things first, let's see how the Buckeye State defines games of chance:

"Game of chance" means poker, craps, roulette, or other game in which a player gives anything of value in the hope of gain, the outcome of which is determined largely by chance, but does not include bingo.

We see that poker is mentioned by name as a game of chance, side-stepping the entire skill vs. chance debate as it relates to Texas Hold'em poker and other varieties of the game. Section 2915.02(A) gives a list of seven activities that are deemed to be gambling. We'll focus on the ones that might pertain to online poker:

(2) Establish, promote, or operate or knowingly engage in conduct that facilitates any game of chance conducted for profit or any scheme of chance;
(3) Knowingly procure, transmit, exchange, or engage in conduct that facilitates the procurement, transmission, or exchange of information for use in establishing odds or determining winners in connection with bookmaking or with any game of chance conducted for profit or any scheme of chance;
(4) Engage in betting or in playing any scheme or game of chance as a substantial source of income or livelihood;

Items (2) and (3) relate to those who run and promote games rather than those who merely play in them. Number 4 is interesting as it does affect regular players but only those who derive “a substantial source of income or livelihood” from chance gaming. Unfortunately, there's no clarification anywhere in this portion of the law as to how much someone would have to win to fall under the provisions of this rule. Clearly, recreational players, those who lose, and small winners have nothing to fear. Even if you're a big winner, it seems unlikely that anyone would know about it unless you spread this information around. Regardless, we couldn't find any stores of Ohio internet poker fans being charged for gambling online in card games. Realistically, online poker in Ohio is a safe pastime to engage in without any fear of negative legal consequences.

The penalties for illegal gambling are as follows:

(K) Whoever violates this section is guilty of gambling, a misdemeanor of the first degree. If the offender previously has been convicted of any gambling offense, gambling is a felony of the fifth degree.

In Ohio, a misdemeanor of the first degree is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of as much as $1,000. Repeat offenders are subject to being found guilty of a fifth-degree felony, which carries a sentence of 6 to 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Remember, though, that no ordinary player has ever been charged with a crime as a result of playing poker over the internet. So these convictions are mainly a concern of those who operate illegal games, and it is they who bear the brunt of law enforcement crackdowns.

If we look back at parts (2) and (3) of 2915.02(A), which treat organizing and facilitating gambling, we see that only actions that are performed “for profit” are included. Social poker home games are therefore fine unless the host is levying an entrance charge or taking a rake as compensation.

There's one other legal snafu that possibly lies in wait for unaware pokerists. It is 2915.04, which deals with public gaming:

(A) No person, while at a hotel, restaurant, tavern, store, arena, hall, or other place of public accommodation, business, amusement, or resort shall make a bet or play any game of chance or scheme of chance.

Public gaming is deemed to be a minor misdemeanor, which subjects anyone found guilty to a fine of up to $150 and doesn't carry any penalty of incarceration. This probably goes without saying, but you'll want to do your online poker playing at home rather than in any public place to avoid potential legal trouble.

Other parts of Chapter 2915 deal with bookmaking, operating a gambling house, sweepstakes, and bingo games (both legal and illegal). Four other chapters relate to gambling: Chapter 3763 (gaming), Chapter 3769 (horse racing), Chapter 3770 (state lottery), and Chapter 3772 (casinos). This last chapter contains details of the consequences for breaking the rules governing licensed casinos in Ohio, which can include forfeiture of licenses, civil penalties, and convictions for misdemeanors and felonies depending on the severity of the infraction.

The owners and managers at offshore poker sites don't seem too troubled about their legal status perhaps because there have never been any high-profile incidents of Ohio prosecutors going after them or their assets. Their legal professionals have almost certainly pored over the relevant statutes and given them the all-clear to proceed. Virtually none of these entities that serve the other states have opted to exclude themselves from Ohio.


Ohio Gambling History


Even before Ohio achieved statehood, when it was still a part of the Northwest Territory, there were attempts to curtail gambling. A 1790 law prohibited all forms of real money gambling, and this was followed by a 1795 decree that prevented inn and tavern owners from keeping billiards tables, cards, and other gaming implements at their establishments. Once Ohio became the 17th state in 1803, the new authorities wasted no time in passing additional gambling ordinance. In 1805, all lotteries were banned except those that obtain special permission from the legislature. In 1830, even this limited form of using lotteries for raising funds was deemed illegal, and in fact, all “schemes of chance” were outlawed at this same time.

In many parts of the United States at around this time, gaming for cash was frowned upon by the government and the respectable classes of society while being accepted by ordinary people. There is evidence, however, that even the humbler ranks of Ohioans disapproved of it. On July 23, 1835, a group of angry Cincinnati citizens threatened to burn gaming houses to the ground and hang professional gamblers. This crisis was only averted when Mayor Samuel W. Davies hastily closed the saloons and ordered the creation of a 500-man police force.

With attitudes like that prevailing among the public at large, there were very few opportunities for people who wished to play cards or table games for money especially those who wanted to do so professionally. However, the Ohio River offered an escape. It flows into the mighty Mississippi, and it hosted its share of riverboats although not quite as many as Old Man River did to the south. Given the lack of profitable betting activities in OH, it's no surprise that many aspiring gamblers headed to the water to test their skills against the other passengers on river-borne vessels.

George H. Devol
George H. Devol
King of the Riverboat Gamblers

One such individual was George H. Devol who was born in Marietta, Ohio, in 1829. Sometime after running away from home to become a cabin boy on a riverboat, he discovered the allure of cards. Abandoning more humdrum work, he devoted himself to the career of a professional gambler. George's repertoire of games continually increased as he learned more of them, and before long, he was adept at Seven-Up, Faro, Three-Card Monty, Rondo, and of course Poker. He had no problem scooping up every last penny from his opponents and took especial delight in out-cheating those who were attempting to profit from him in dishonest games. Yet, he did have a soft spot and would sometimes return his winnings back to the losers. After one session during which he won all of a minister's cash, he returned it back to the man of God, saying, “Go and sin no more.” As the river vessels where Devol worked slowly faded away, he transitioned to playing in railroad cars. However, this backfired when he won $1,200 from a railroad director, and the irate exec banned gambling on his railroad thereafter. His gambling opportunities dwindling, George decided to write his autobiography, called “Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi,” in 1887.

Heading into the 20th century, it appeared as though real money gaming was destined for extinction in Ohio. But then Prohibition occurred. Driven by bootlegging profits, gangsters diversified into other enterprises, including gambling. The Mayfield Road Mob, including Frank Milano, ran gambling dens in Cleveland and Toledo. There were periodic vows by officials to wage battle against these mobsters, but somehow they always seemed to be a step or two ahead of the law. Even smaller cities, like Youngstown and Steubenville, hosted houses where illicit games could be had.

Perhaps jealously eyeing the receipts of these unauthorized businesses, the legitimate leaders of the state opted to legalize pari-mutuel racetrack betting in 1933. Then in 1973, a state lottery was allowed followed in 1975 by charitable games. In 2009, the Ohio General Assembly voted to license four commercial casinos, and then in 2011, racetracks were permitted to add video lottery terminals. The newest addition to regulated gambling in the Buckeye State was daily fantasy sports, which became legal when Governor John Kasich signed the relevant bill into law in December 2017.

Timeline of Ohio Gambling

Timeline of Gambling-Related Events in Ohio

Regulation Odds for Online Poker

File Folder

Ohio isn't expected by most observers to be one of the next states to implement an online poker regulation scheme, and there haven't been any recent bills introduced to enable it. However, it could be included in a future wave of states that see what their neighbors are doing and wish to join them.

Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michiagn have already passes internet gaming licensing laws in the past few years, and so OH lawmakers might be enticed into doing the same. With a decently large population and several types of offline gambling already accepted by the state, the prospects for licensed online poker rooms appear good over the long term.

Land Based Gambling

Hollywood Casino Columbus Logo

Ohio has seen some of the biggest changes in approved land-based gambling of any state in the past decade. This is largely due to the fact that commercial casinos have been built and heavily promoted for the first time in the state. This has allowed a lot of the traditional casino power to move into the state and to become part of the economy in the major cities.

Hollywood Casino Columbus may be the best brick-and-mortar venue for card players. It has 36 tables, which offer No Limit Texas Hold'em up to $10/$25 and LHE as high as $30/$60. There are small stakes Omaha Hi and Hi/Lo games too. Another option is membership-based cardrooms, which circumvent the laws against for-profit gaming by charging neither rake nor tournament fees.

Seven racinos operate in Ohio, but they only allow pari-mutuel betting and slot machine gaming. There are no tribal gambling facilities anywhere in the state perhaps because there are no federally recognized Indian tribes in Ohio. Other gambling possibilities in the Birthplace of Aviation include the Ohio Lottery and charitable games. These charitable events include bingo, raffles, games of chance, and poker, subject to certain filing requirements and other regulations.

Because there are already a few traditional gambling brands involved in the state's four land-based casinos, they would probably be first in line to operate any legalized online poker rooms in the event of the appropriate legislation being passed. The state's seven racinos might want in on the action, but it's more likely that they would have to add live poker tables first before there would be even the possibility of their running online sites.

Online Sports Betting

Sports Balls

Although there has been some movement toward legalizing sports betting in Ohio in the wake of the Murphy v. NCAA Supreme Court decision, nothing solid has materialized so far. Yet, you can easily bet online on the sporting contests that catch your eye. Minimum bet sizes are in the $1 range, but you can put thousands of dollars down at once if that's what you want to do. Here's our list of the best internet bookies for Ohio bettors:

1. Bovada Sports - 50% up to $250 bonus (75% up to $750 with BTC)

2. - Unlimited sports reload bonuses and other promos
3. Intertops Sports - Your choice of three welcome bonuses

You can learn more about the leading online bookmakers for Americans with our page of the best online sportsbooks USA bettors can access.

Online Casinos

Cards and Chips

Casino games are a fine diversion when you need a breather from the poker tables. Although there are brick-and-mortar casinos within the state, playing on the internet is more convenient, and so you may wish to play online instead of live.

Today's modern internet casinos have hundreds of games from multiple software providers to give you a well-rounded experience. Whether baccarat is your fancy or you prefer video slots, there's bound to be a perfect online destination for you.

1. Ignition Casino - $1,000 bonus to start with and weekly reloads
2. Bovada Casino - Live Dealer section and cashback from Bovada Rewards
3. SB Casino - Many slot and blackjack contests

There are other trustworthy online casinos that you can play at from Ohio, and you can read more about them in our list of the most trusted online casinos for USA players.

Famous Ohioan Poker Players

Large Crowd

Ohio is pretty distant from Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and other traditional poker epicenters, but there are nevertheless several famous players who hail from the Buckeye State. The king of these Ohio poker grinders was probably Centerville native David Edward “Chip” Reese who unfortunately passed away in 2007.

Chip Reese David Edward “Chip” Reese
1951 - 2007

When Chip was a youngster in the '50s, he had to stay home from elementary school due to illness for close to a year. To help him pass the time, his mother showed him how to play a number of board and card games, including poker. His love affair with poker was thus begun, and he continued playing after he started attending high school and at Dartmouth where he majored in economics.

Reese soon became a professional player, and he was known for excelling in multiple poker disciplines, like Seven Card Stud and HORSE. He amassed close to $4 million in live tournament winnings during his career: a feat that's all the more impressive when we consider that he was mainly a cash game player. His biggest score came at the 2006 World Series of Poker where he prevailed in the $50,000 buyin HORSE event for a payday of $1.8 million.

Byron Kaverman is from Fort Jennings, and he dabbled in poker in high school during the early 2000s. After winning about $1,500 in a multi-table tournament at PokerStars, he was hooked. Byron soon transitioned over to the live tournament circuit.

Kaverman has earned one WSOP bracelet: the $10,000 six-max event in 2015 for which he picked up $657,351. He has 24 other WSOP cashes, including a fifth place finish in the 2018 Big One for One Drop $1,000,000 buyin tourney: good for $2,000,000. In total, Byron Kaverman has won $14.5 million in his live tournament poker career.


Ohio legal officials have never gone after individual online poker players, so you can participate in Ohio online poker without worry. Check out our list of top-rate online poker sites in Ohio, and then find a solid place to play the poker games you appreciate the most over the internet.

Do you have an address in a nearby state?

Ohio's Bordering States

If you are fortunate enough to have another address in a nearby state, whether it be 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 Ohio and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: IndianaKentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. For more information on internet poker in general throughout the United States, head over to our USA online poker guide.

Ignorance is rife regarding online poker in Ohio, but you can do something to reduce it. Please think about sharing this page with any of your friends and family who play poker but are unfamiliar with their options for playing over the internet.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to online poker in Ohio, there are plenty of questions that our readers sometimes have. We've attempted to answer them below so that you don't need to go elsewhere for the info you seek.

Ohio has not passed any online poker legislation. In fact, there have never been any such laws introduced in the legislature. Therefore, there are no internet poker rooms that have received the seal of approval from the state leaders. This means that all the online poker sites that accept Ohio residents are based in offshore jurisdictions.

Yes, it's effectively legal for individuals to play internet cards in the State of Ohio. The state's relatively weak anti-gambling laws are never enforced against ordinary players. At the federal level, the Justice Department has issued an opinion that the Wire Act doesn't apply to any type of online gambling besides sports betting, and the UIGEA therefore is irrelevant also when it comes to online poker.

Yes, PokerStars is a fully legal poker site for Ohio citizens. Unfortunately, you can only play for practice chips.

You see, as part of the settlement that the company reached with federal prosecutors in the Black Friday lawsuits, it agreed to abandon the real money U.S. market apart from those states in which it's explicitly authorized to transact.

As of March 2020, the only states that fall into this category are New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Ignition Casino Poker is part of the Hong Kong-headquartered PaiWangLuo Network. It's not subject to the laws of the United States and can thus accept players from Ohio without any realistic legal worry.

Only if the principals of the firm are foolish enough to step foot on U.S. soil and the feds are in the mood to detain them would they have any cause for concern. Even then, there's every likelihood that they'd be cleared of all charges because of the confusing and gray nature of the U.S. gambling statutes.

BetOnline is a Panama-regulated online gaming provider, and its license permits it to legally accept customers from many locations around the globe, including Ohio. BoL bases its operations on an understanding of international law, particularly multilateral trade agreements, that it believes gives it the right to offer its products and services to U.S.A. users.

Global Poker has developed a sweepstakes poker model that it says keeps it from running afoul of federal and Ohio state laws. We're not so sure. A thorough treatment of this subject is beyond the scope of this page, but you can learn more about it in our review of Global Poker.

Ohio allows its residents to gamble on the lottery, horse races, and bingo at the age of 18. To step foot in a casino and play, though, one must be 21 or older. There isn't a specific age set for poker, but it's probably 18 in non-casino settings.

You have to be 18 or above to sign up for an online poker account, and we strongly caution you to not attempt to circumvent this rule if you're underage. You could encounter difficulties when you're ready to withdraw your money if you lie and provide false registration info.

It's not a good idea to operate an illicit gambling business within Ohio borders. You could be subject to fines and jail time. Making things worse is the fact that committing gambling crimes in Ohio can trigger the intervention of federal prosecutors.

Just look at the case of Timothy Smith from Steubenville who was caught running an underground sportsbook. He had to pay a $1.5 million penalty and was sentenced to eight months of house arrest.

Gambling wins are fully taxable as personal income in Ohio, and you'll also have a federal tax liability too. Furthermore, there are four OH cities that also charge their own taxes on gambling income: Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo.

There may be ways of offsetting some of your tax obligations, perhaps by deducting losing sessions, but the details of such accounting maneuvers are beyond the scope of this page. We recommend talking to a qualified accountant or tax lawyer if you have any questions regarding this complicated topic.

There are quite a few poker sites that have Mac support. In some cases, this comes in the form of a dedicated software client, like at Ignition, Bovada, and At other rooms, like Intertops, there's a web version of the poker software that works with Macs.

Even at sites that don't boast Mac compatibility, you may have luck running the standard Windows executable through an emulation package, like CrossOver Mac. For further enlightenment on your options, check out our page dedicated to Mac poker rooms.

Mobile poker is one of the trends in the industry that shows no signs of reversing any time soon, so it comes as no surprise that many internet poker sites are able to run on smart devices. You might have to download an app, but other mobile poker rooms simply require you to point your web browser at the appropriate URL to begin playing from your phone or tablet. Ignition, Bovada, SB Poker, and Americas Cardroom are a few of the operators who welcome mobile users.

Moving money around for Ohio online poker used to be somewhat of a headache, but crypto-currency has basically solved these issues. With fast transaction times and low fees, it's ideal for real money online gaming.

Bitcoin is the most mainstream of these coins, but there are several alternatives. Ethereum gambling over the internet is certainly feasible, and you'll also have no trouble getting started with Bitcoin Cash for online betting.

The Horseshoe Casino changed its name to Jack Cleveland Casino in May 2016. Don't worry; it's still an excellent destination for brick-and-mortar poker. Its cardroom contains about 30 tables, and this venue is known for its soft $100,000 guaranteed quarterly tournaments. The Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers all play in facilities just a few miles from Jack, so you can easily arrange an amusing evening of sport and cards for yourself.

Cincinnati poker is a variant game wherein each player receives four hole cards, and four cards are dealt facedown as community cards. After the players ante and get their cards, there's a round of betting.

Each community card is turned over one at a time, after which there's another opportunity to bet. After all the cards are revealed and the betting is done, players form their best five-card hands using any number of down cards and community cards. A popular version of Cincinnati uses five hole cards and five community cards rather than four.

Private cardrooms in Ohio use a loophole in the law that allows poker as long as it's not “conducted for profit.” Establishments like the Shark Tank Poker Club in Columbus and the River Room Poker Club in Akron don't take a rake or levy tournament fees, so they claim they're not making a profit from gambling. Instead, they charge membership fees.

Clearly, there are those who disagree with this interpretation of the law, and local law enforcement sometimes shuts these rooms down, which is what happened to the Gemini Poker Club in Berea in 2010. Still, there are parts of the state where the police and prosecutors turn a blind eye to these activities, and most of these clubs are in no immediate danger of being targeted by state or local officials.

Additional Resources

Anyone in Ohio who wants to read up more on gambling-related topics will probably find the following resources invaluable:


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