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Online Poker Wisconsin - Earn Unlimited Cheddar in Legal Poker Games!

Poker in Wisconsin Online

Politically, Wisconsin has been a bit of a mess lately with a conservative governor but a more liberal base of citizens that he is the leader of. This dichotomy has caused some clashes and made a rather awkward situation for all of those involved. It is of little surprise that regulated real money online poker in Wisconsin has not been on the table yet, and that won’t change any time soon. Many might despair at this point because there are seemingly not a lot of options, but offshore sites have stepped in big time to fill the void left by the lack of a regulated gambling market. Considering the size of the state, these US-facing sites might actually be better options anyway than some ring-fenced state could offer. Below are a list of the great Wisconsin online poker options available to you.



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Table of Contents

1.   Poker Sites
      1.1. Ignition
      1.2. Chico Poker Network
      1.3. Intertops
      1.4. Winning Poker Network
      1.5. Grand Poker Network
2.   Selection Guidelines
3.   Online Poker Payments
4.   Laws
5.   Gambling History
6.   Regulated Poker?
7.   Live Gambling
8.   Conclusion
9.   Address in Nearby State?
10. FAQ
11. Additional Resources

 

Online Poker Sites Available in Wisconsin

There are plenty of online poker operators that accept customers from Wisconsin, and it's important that you only sign up for those that are legitimate rather than those that are dishonest. We've done a lot of work to evaluate all the companies that are available with an eye toward reputability and integrity. Below are the results of our painstaking investigations. When you play at one of our recommended sites, you won't have to worry about the fairness of the games, the quality of the customer support, or the prompt payment of your cashouts. Select any one of these rooms, and you'll be assured of an excellent experience.

 

Ignition Poker

Ignition's Good Features Image

The poker room at Ignition is the largest place for internet poker that's open to Americans. Besides its enviable player traffic numbers, it delivers other benefits as well, such as the 100% up to $1,000 poker bonus that it grants to new players. This bonus is equivalent to 30% rakeback in sit n' gos and tournaments. Its clearance rate in cash games varies a bit depending on the stakes and formats you play, but it's a bit less than in tourneys.

 Banner CTA: Play Now at Ignition Poker

All the sites on the PaiWangLuo Network, including Ignition, keep players anonymous. That is, no screennames are shown, which makes long-term opponent tracking impossible. Casual poker players feel quite comfortable here, which has had a positive effect on game quality. Although a few pros might be disappointed that their software tools don't work here, most players appreciate their enhanced profitability at tables full of novices.

Ring games run the gamut from $0.02/$0.05 to $10/$20 for No Limit Texas Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, and Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo. The two limit poker varieties are Hold'em and Omaha Hi-Lo, both of which can be played as high as $30/$60. Ignition features a fast-fold poker product – the only one in the U.S. market – called Zone Poker. Whenever a Zone player folds his or her hand, that person moves right away to a new table to start a new hand. The delays involved in waiting for the other players to complete a hand are thus eliminated, and it becomes possible to see hundreds of hands per hour.

If tournaments are more your speed, then you'll be pleased by the selection of both SNGs and multi-table tournaments. Single-table contests are listed from $1 + $0.05 up to $200 + $14 while MTTs cover an even larger range of buyins. There's $1.5 million in guarantees up for grabs every week, and the largest comes in the Sunday $150 + $12 $100,000 Guaranteed. Tournament series, like the Super Millions Poker Open, are scheduled a few times per year, and they typically have millions of dollars in prize pools.

The Ignition poker client can be downloaded and run on Macs and PCs. There's also a web version that can be accessed with mobile devices, but it doesn't contain tournaments or sit-n-gos. Besides poker, there are hundreds of casino games, and you'll get another 100% up to $1,000 bonus to try them out.

ProfRB's Ignition CTA Banner

Head over to Ignition by following the banner link above, and open up your account today. You can read our fact-filled Ignition Poker review page first if you'd like.

 

Chico Network

Chico Poker Positive Features Image

The Chico Poker Network sites, of which Sportsbetting.ag is one, manage poker rooms, sportsbooks, casino games, and many other gambling options. If you're reading this page, you're probably most curious about the poker action. You'll get a chance to satisfy your curiosity with added profits provided by the 100% up to $2,500 bonus, which is worth 33% rakeback.

Play Now CTA Poker Banner for SBAG

After opening up the Sportsbetting lobby, you'll see NLHE, PLO, and PLO/8 tables denominated from micro stakes up to $5/$10. There's a Bad Beat Jackpot that's active at specified NLHE tables of $0.50/$1.00 and higher. If you lose at showdown with JJJJ or better, you may take home a six-figure prize. The Bad Beat Jackpot has been triggered for the sum of $650K in the past.

Sit-and-goes are present from $0.05 to $200 + $10, and there are plenty of games running at all times. The multi-table tournaments here aren't anything to write home about because most of them have buyins of $33 or less and correspondingly small prize pools. Yet, there's a Main Event on Sundays that costs $90 + $9 to enter and awards no less than $50,000. On the last Sunday of every month, this is bumped up to a $100 + $9 buyin and a $100,000 guarantee.

SB.ag allows you to earn comp points and then trade them in for tourney buyins at a value of about 5% of the rake and fees you've paid. On top of this, there are three leaderboards every week that hand money out to the top cash game, sit n' go, and tournament players. There's $20,000 to be distributed every seven days. If you should expand your gaming to include sports-betting, slots, casino table games, or some other form of wagering, then there are further promotions for you to claim.

Poker Banner Highlights CTA for SB.ag

If you want to take advantage of the 100% up to $2,5000 poker bonus and other deals, then click the link above to go to Sportsbetting.ag now. For further insight into the pluses of playing at the site, check out our informative Sportsbetting.ag poker review. There's another site on the Chico Network that may appeal to you: BetOnline Poker review.

 

Horizon Network

Icons showing Intertops' positive features

Because it has been in the gambling game for more than 30 years, Intertops has had the opportunity to demonstrate its dependability and honesty to countless customers. Besides being a leading bookmaker, it's also the flagship of the Horizon Poker Network. Newcomers to the poker room are entitled to receive a 200% up to $1,000 bonus.

Intertops Play Now Poker CTA

The ring game action at Intertops isn't exactly bustling because player volume numbers are fairly modest. Nevertheless, it's a fine solution for those who only wish to play a couple of tables at $0.25/$0.50 NLHE and below. The only sit n' goes that tend to start are also low-stakes affairs usually at price points of $5 or less. You'll have a better selection if you're an MTTer because there are myriad tourneys every day. Most of them cost $22 or less to enter, but there is a $50 + $5 Sundowner event daily with a guarantee of $1,500 ($2,500 on Sunday).

The poker bonus at Intertops releases to the tune of up to 27% cashback although some games and table sizes don't contribute as much to your bonus collection. When you register your account through our links, you'll also be able to snag 36% dealt rakeback. Additionally, you'll get 100 free bets for casino games, a value of $90 or more when dedicated to the blackjack tables using basic strategy.

Even after you work your way through these welcome perks, there are plenty of other ongoing promos to look forward to. A weekly rakerace disburses $4,000 to the 100 highest placers, and you needn't grind for hours at a time to earn a payout. There are reload bonuses about once a month, and the Loyalty Levels system is another way to get complimentary rewards. Stay on the lookout for satellites to live poker festivals, which often have considerable overlays.

Intertops cta Highlights Image

Join up at Intertops without delay by following our above banner link. Or peruse our comprehensive overview of what Intertops has to offer to answer any questions you might still have.

 

Winning Network

Reasons to Play at ACR

As befits its name, Americas Cardroom accepts action from players distributed across the United States, including Wisconsin. It's a part of the Winning Poker Network, a group that has earned the #2 spot in the U.S.A. player liquidity rankings. ACR is ready to welcome you with a 100% up to $1,000 bonus (20% cashback equivalent) along with a free $50 to deploy on Jackpot Poker sit-and-goes.

Play Today at Americas Cardroom

The Jackpot Poker sit n' gos that you'll be able to try out using the complimentary $50 credit are three-handed games for which the prize pools are determined by a random multiplier that can be as much as 2,500 times the buyin. Another non-standard SNG variant here is called SNG 2.0. It also contains a semi-randomized prize pool, but it seats nine rather than three. More standard-issue sit-and-go action can be had at prices both low and high.

Big-bet ring game tables at ACR (NLHE, PLO, PLO/8) exist from $0.01/$0.02 up through $25/$50, and fixed-limit games (Hold'em, Omaha/8, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud/8) go up to $30/$60 or even higher. As far as tournaments are concerned, you can join a $200 + $15 event each week called the Sunday Special. With $150,000+ paid to the winners, it's the largest Sunday Major for U.S. residents at any poker site. Special series, like the Online Super Series, boast multiple millions of dollars in total prize pools. The Million Dollar Sunday pops up every couple of months. It has a buyin of $500 + $40, and while this may be a bit expensive, you will get a chance to compete for your share of $1,000,000+.

Americas Cardroom pays out real money prizes and satellite entries to cash game players through the weekly The Beast leaderboard, which has forked over more than $12 million over the course of its history. A similar system called Sit & Crush rewards SNG enthusiasts. Whether you enjoy ring games, sit-n-gos, or multi-table tournaments, you'll be able to accrue additional rewards through the Elite Benefits program as well.

Highlights Banner CTA for ACR Poker

Click through the link above to get started at Americas Cardroom. You may wish to pore over our review page for ACR too to glean more info about this poker site.

As part of the Winning Poker Network, Americas Cardroom is in partnership with several other firms that combine their efforts together. This poker network model enables them to offer a larger and more sophisticated poker platform than any one of them could separately create. Other leading network “skins” include BlackChip Poker (read review), True Poker (read review), and PokerHost (read review). For instructions on how to request rakeback at any of these sites, browse over to our page describing the various WPN rakeback deals that are available.

 

Grand Network

Graphic of GPN's Positive Features

The progenitor of the Grand Poker Network, 5Dimes, has long trusted in outside entities to provide its poker software, but in 2014, it opted to create a new network. The Grand Network was built from the ground up to be compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android computing devices. There's also a Flash version of the poker client that you can log into via the web. Despite the newness of the poker room, you can rest assured that it's being run properly because 5Dimes has been serving sports and casino customers online for more than 20 years.

Of all the organizations on our list, this one has the lowest traffic numbers. Still, whatever running tables you do encounter will likely be very juicy because of the relative inexperience of the player pool. You see, most of the people who take seats here for a game of poker aren't knowledgeable professionals. Rather, they come over from the sportsbook or one of the other wagering platforms because they feel like playing some cards. You can battle against them in ring games at blind levels from $0.05/$0.10 to $1/$2.

There are no big guarantees because the priciest tournament buyin is just $5 + $.50. Nevertheless, 5Dimes tournaments are a solid offering because the room gives its users a way to conserve their money: There are a few events every day that don't charge any house fees. There's also permanent 50% rakeback, which cuts the amount the site takes from you to a miniscule amount. A $500 freeroll on Sundays is a great chance for you to build on to your bankroll without having to pay anything.

CTA Banner Link for 5Dimes

Sample the profitable games at 5Dimes today by clicking on the link above. We've compiled more information for you to look at in our thorough review of the Grand Poker Network.


 

How to Choose the Right Wisconsin Poker Site

None of the above poker sites can be labeled as the best one for all players. This is because every poker fan in Wisconsin has his or her own needs and preferences when it comes to putting real money on the line. You'll have to consider what you value most in a poker operator and the types of games you like to play as you attempt to make your decision. While we can't make up your mind for you, we can present you with a series of points to ponder over as you mentally weigh the pros and cons of each option.

If you're interested in securing the largest possible bonus, then the Chico Network has $2,500 with your name on it.


If overall traffic levels matter most to you, then you may wish to sign up for the Winning Poker Network or Ignition.


If mobile or Mac compatibility is a must for you, then Chico, Ignition, and Grand have the software you seek.


If you're searching for large MTT prize pools, then WPN and Ignition have plenty of big weekly events and special tourney series.


If you want to be able to bet on poker, casino games, and sports from a single account, then take a look at Chico, Horizon, and Grand.


If you look forward to earning regular rewards, then WPN's Elite Benefits and Horizon's Loyalty Levels warrant your attention.


If you wish to sample the frenetic pace of fast-fold poker, then Ignition's Zone Poker is the only such product in the American market.

 

Payout Report

Dollars and Cents

All of the sites we've told you about are willing to send you your winnings via check, and some of them have additional cashout processors available too. Unfortunately, due to the state of U.S. banking regulations, most forms of withdrawing your money incur fees, and there are sometimes irritating delays as well. You can avoid these hassles by using Bitcoin for all your poker-related money movements. It carries low fees while remaining among the speediest ways to transfer your cash around online. To familiarize yourself with how to correctly utilize this crypto-currency, you can read our beginners guide to using Bitcoin for online poker.

 

Wisconsin Online Poker Law

Book of Law

The legislators in Wisconsin haven't drafted any laws specifically defining whether or not poker, in either live or online formats, is legal. We'll have to delve into the statutes that deal with gambling in general to gain some insight into this matter. The main language that's relevant to this subject is contained in Chapter 945, “Gambling,” of the Wisconsin Statutes. 945.02 states that:

Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor:
(1) Makes a bet; or
(2) Enters or remains in a gambling place with intent to make a bet, to participate in a lottery, or to play a gambling machine; or
(3) Conducts a lottery, or with intent to conduct a lottery, possesses facilities to do so.

Parts (2) and (3) clearly don't apply to online poker, but (1) might. We need to understand what the state considers a bet in order to make this determination. We can find this out by looking at the definitions contained in 945.01:

Bet. A bet is a bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose something of value specified in the agreement.

If poker is “dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill,” then it's prohibited. There is a list of permitted activities that don't count as betting, including futures contracts, insurance, and regulated forms of gaming delineated in other portions of Wisconsin law. One of the exemptions is for “any bona fide contest for the determination of skill,” which again raises the question of whether poker is a game of skill or of chance. There's no definitive answer to this debate, and it's decided in different ways in separate jurisdictions. It is interesting, though, that no less a legal authority than Federal Judge Jack. B. Weinstein opined in 2012 that poker is a skill game.

In 2015, a group of Madison-area poker players sought clarification from the judiciary as to whether or not poker was illegal in the state. Unfortunately, the judgment went against them. While admitting that skill plays the dominant role in long-term poker results, Circuit Judge Richard Niess stated that he was bound by existing case law in State vs. Morrisey from 1964, which held poker to be a form of illegal gambling. Other authorities in the Badger State have periodically expressed their view that poker is not allowed under the law.

Anyone convicted of gambling is deemed to be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days. However, it's one thing for a law to be on the books and quite another for it to be actually enforced. Wisconsin officers and prosecutors have opted to make enforcement of the gambling laws a very low priority indeed. Not only have there never been charges filed against an online poker player, but the authorities seems to be reluctant to go after any regular player for engaging in any gambling game whether over the internet or in a brick-and-mortar establishment. You need not have any legal fears about playing online poker.

It's a different story for those actually running illicit gaming enterprises. The state treats commercial gambling as a Class I felony, which carries the risk of a fine as high as $10,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to 3.5 years. Even simply permitting a property to be used for commercial gambling could result in a fine of $10,000 and jail time of up to 9 months. All the evidence points to the fact that the offshore gambling sites don't take these possibilities very seriously at all. All the poker sites that accept Americans from other states also accept those from America's Dairyland. Their legal teams have probably told them that they have nothing to worry about.

As is the case in virtually every state that offers regulated real money gaming, Wisconsin specifically declares it to not be covered by the normal gambling statutes. These types of activities are bingo and raffles for charitable purposes, pari-mutuel wagering, the Wisconsin Lottery, and Indian gaming.

 

 

History of Gambling in Wisconsin

Hourglass

Gambling in Wisconsin predates the arrival of European settlers. The moccasin game was a native gambling game where one player would hide a small object underneath one of four moccasins, and the other would try to guess where it was. The tribes of the area often engaged in chunkey, a game involving throwing a spear at a rolling stone in an attempt to come the closest to the final stopping point of the stone. Gambling on who would win was a favorite pastime. A chunkey stone dating from between 1300 - 1600 has been unearthed near La Crosse.

Drawing of La Crosse, Wisconsin
Artist's Rendering of La Crosse
1867

La Crosse was the site of other gambling activity later on. Despite the fact that the Wisconsin constitution of 1848 prohibited gambling, La Crosse's location at the junction of the Mississippi, Black, and La Crosse rivers meant that it was a focal point for transient visitors looking for games of chance. Saloons sprouted up during the 1850s, containing not just drink but also gambling and sometimes prostitution. These establishments often disturbed the peace at all hours of the day and night, and an angry mob gathered on July 6, 1857 and burned one of the largest of them to the ground. This marked a turning point in the city, which then decided to hire policemen and clean up its act.

Another municipality that became infamous for its vice scene was Hurley in the 1880s. It was built on the Wisconsin/Michigan border expressly to serve the needs of lumberjacks and miners. These hardworking men, after weeks or months at their job sites, would head into Hurley to spend their accumulated pay. In 1893, Hurley hosted 60 saloons – an amazing total for a town with a population of just over 2,000. This trade continued into the 20th century and the Prohibition era. The saloons were converted into “soft-drink parlors,” but they served harder stuff upon request, and there was often a card game or two occurring in their back rooms.

During this same era, wagering on dog racing became briefly popular. In order to get around the laws, spectators would “contribute” to their favorite dogs. If a dog so selected came in first, second, or third, the bettor would receive a “refund.” In 1929, however, the legislature passed a law deeming this “refund” system to be illegal. Another type of gambling that appeared was slot machines particularly in the area around Elkhart Lake. The lake was home to many resorts, which endeavored to boost their profits with slots. Local police ignored these infractions, but the state got involved and started to raid these properties in 1930. By 1945, slot gaming had been basically stamped out.

In order to permit most forms of legalized real money games, Wisconsinites had to amend the constitution, which still contained a blanket ban on gambling. The first game to pass this hurdle was charitable bingo, which was authorized in 1973. Next came charitable raffles in 1977. The Wisconsin Lottery arrived in 1987. In the same year, on-track, pari-mutuel betting on horse, dog, and snowmobile races was authorized. Of the three types of racing, only dog racing has actually materialized within Wisconsin. However, the last greyhound racing facility closed down in 2009, and so this form of wagering, while still legal, can't be found within state borders.

In the late '80s, a lot of legal wrangling commenced between state leaders and tribal groups that wished to set up gaming casinos. There were a few setbacks, but by 1992, the state had signed compacts with 11 tribes, and the first casinos opened up shortly thereafter.

 

Regulation Possibilities

Blue Regulations Image

Wisconsin is has a surprisingly low chance of regulating gambling. Despite the liberal tendency of neighboring states, Wisconsin has a much more conservative population and legislative branch. Of course, it does vary some, and the overall makeup of the state government can change pretty drastically. Nevertheless, there is likely to be little desire to regulate online gambling. This probably won’t change until the legislative makeup of the state changes, but that won’t be happening anytime soon as the political divisions of the state are getting deeper than they have been in the past. If something does happen, don’t expect it before the expiration of Scott Walker's term as governor.

 

Offline Gambling

Logo of the Potawatomi Tribe

Wisconsin has a plethora of land-based gambling although there aren't any commercial casinos. Luckily, the tribes in Wisconsin pick up the slack so there is actually not a lack of traditional casino-style gambling establishments. Between the 11 federally recognized tribes, there are close to two dozen casinos. With that though, there hasn’t been as much poker action as one would expect. Much of this likely is because of the proximity to Chicago and the large and established gambling industry in said city. There still are good games to be found in Wisconsin though and local poker tours have been opening up more lately to adding Wisconsin on to their list of stops. Perhaps the most notable venue for live cards in the state is the Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee. There are only 20 tables, but you'll see a mix of NLHE, Limit Hold'em, PLO, PLO/8, and Seven Card Stud. The poker room offers to host private games too.

The state also has a state lottery and charitable gambling for approved organizations. Pari-mutuel wagering is permitted, but there are currently no facilities where it can be conducted.

 

Conclusion

Those who wish to play online poker in Wisconsin have nothing standing in their way. The state's anti-gambling laws are never used to go after regular players. Choose a responsible Wisconsin online poker room, and begin your online card playing journey today.

 

 

Do you have an address in a nearby state?

Wisconsin and Nearby States

If you are lucky enough to have another address in a nearby state, be it your business office, vacation getaway, second apartment, family home, etc, you may have other online poker options available to you. Here's a list of the states that border Wisconsin and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them:  Illinois, IndianaIowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio. To gain more info on the internet poker environment for the United States as a whole, check out our U.S.A. online poker guide for Americans.

The subject of online poker in Wisconsin is one that many people are ignorant of. You can help spread knowledge about the game we love by sharing this page with any of your friends, acquaintences, and family members who you feel could benefit from it.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Online poker in Wisconsin is by no means a simple topic. If you have questions that we haven't yet addressed, then look below in our FAQ for possible answers.

Is it legal for Global Poker to transact in Wisconsin?

The legal reasoning employed by Global Poker holds that its sweepstakes poker model protects it from being found liable under federal and Wisconsin anti-gambling legislation. We don't think that this line of reasoning is very compelling however. We don't have enough space in this FAQ to get into the particulars of this subject. Head over to our Global Poker review for more info about why we feel this site might be breaking the law.

 

 


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!