Las Vegas is home to more poker tables than any other city in the world. This fact isn’t surprising when considering that Vegas hosts the World Series of Poker and other notable tournament events.
However, you don’t always need to hit the live poker tables when you feel like playing. Instead, you can enjoy Nevada’s legal and regulated online poker market.
You may be interested in Vegas online poker if you’ll be visiting Sin City soon and want to play in your hotel room or elsewhere within the state. The following guide covers what you must know about playing online poker in Las Vegas.
What Is the Online Poker Situation Like in Vegas?
The Silver State has been running legal online poker sites since 2013. The Nevada Gaming Commission and Nevada Gaming Control Board both oversee the market.
Station Casinos’ Ultimate Poker became the first Nevada poker site when they launched in April 2013. However, they didn’t experience much success, especially when WSOP.com opened their virtual doors in September of 2013.
South Point’s Real Gaming was the third site in the mix. They never managed to generate any notable traffic before folding. Again, WSOP’s online poker room is your only option in Vegas. It draws a fair amount of traffic thanks to its quality software and lack of competitors.
Nevada is part of a multi-state poker compact with New Jersey and Delaware. This deal sees all three states share internet poker liquidity. The compact hasn’t resulted in a traffic boon. After all, the three states’ populations combined don’t even equal 13 million.
In any case, you at least hold the option to play legal online poker when in Vegas. You can’t, however, play at the gray market poker sites (e.g. Ignition, Americas Cardroom) that serve the rest of the US.
Can You Play Poker Online If You Don’t Live in Nevada?
You can legally enjoy Nevada online poker even if you’re not a resident. You simply need to be of age and located within state lines to play.
The minimum age requirement is 21 years old. You’ll need to provide your birthdate upon registration. Additionally, a site can ask for additional identification when you make a withdrawal.
For example, you may need to provide a photo ID before cashing out. This request might seem invasive, but it verifies your age and helps prevent somebody else from withdrawing money from your account.
Nevada requires you to be within their state boundaries to ensure they aren’t taking wagers from players from other states. WSOP uses geolocation to determine where your device is located before allowing you to play.
How Do You Get Started With Nevada Online Poker?
You shouldn’t have much trouble playing online in the Silver State. But you may want to keep the following points in mind if you’re new to the matter.
Meet the Requirements
You must be at least 21 years or older to legally play in Nevada. You also have to be physically present in the state.
Assuming you’re outside of state boundaries, the software will issue a warning. Remember, it’s technically illegal to play real money Nevada poker if you’re not in the Silver State.
Register for an Account
You need to register for an account before playing. This process requires entering the following information:
- Home address
- Phone number
- Last four digits of social security number
- Bonus code (discussed next)
Upon filling out the registration form, you submit it and wait for approval. As long as you’re of age and within Nevada, you should receive instant approval.
Nevada online poker rooms must ask for your last four social security digits for identification purposes. After all, they don’t want to approve you if you’re on an excluded gamblers list.
Enter a Bonus Code
You can qualify for a welcome bonus if you enter the appropriate code during registration. These codes are available on actual poker sites and/or through affiliates.
For example, you need to earn a certain amount of loyalty points before cashing out chunks of your bonus.
You may also be privy to other rewards too, such as freeroll tickets or a no-deposit bonus. The latter only requires you to enter the relevant bonus code and complete wagering requirements to earn free money.
Make a Deposit
One of the best aspects of Nevada’s poker market involves the prominent banking options. You can use the following reputable services and brands to fund your account:
- ACH – You can send funds from your bank account to a poker site instantly (i.e. eCheck).
- Cash at the Cage – Visit land-based casino partners in Vegas to fund your account in person.
- Credit card – Use Discover, Mastercard, and Visa to deposit.
- E-wallet – PayPal, the world’s largest e-wallet service, is also available as a deposit option.
- PayNearMe – You can visit a local 7-Eleven and deposit with cash (you receive a payment voucher).
Nevada requires operators to provide you with responsible gambling tools. For example, you can set deposit and loss limits on your account.
Pros to Vegas Online Poker Sites
The Nevada internet poker market offers several benefits over non-regulated (i.e. gray) markets. Here are the main advantages to playing in the Silver State.
Completely Legal and Regulated
The state legislature legalized online poker in early 2013. That said, you can play at state-regulated poker sites without worry.
Again, you just need to meet the minimum age (21) and geolocation requirements to play. As long as you’re good in these departments, then you’ll have no issues with enjoying Vegas online poker.
Plenty of Banking Options
The gray market suffers from a shortage of banking options. Some of these non-regulated sites resort to using Bitcoin, because they have no other choice.
Nevada, in contrast, boasts a legal internet poker market. You can use well-known payment options, like PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard, to fund your account.
Compete Against Players From Other States
The multi-state pact with New Jersey and Delaware lets you play against grinders from other states. More importantly, it helps increase liquidity and allows for larger poker tournaments.
The number of states offering online poker is small at the moment. However, more states are beginning to enter the fray, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Cons to Vegas Online Poker Sites
Nevada’s online poker situation is far from perfect. Here are some drawbacks that you should consider before playing here.
Only One Site
Ultimate Poker and Real Gaming dropped out of Nevada years ago. This leaves WSOP.com as the sole online operator in the state.
Hopefully, more competition will enter in the near future. As it looks now, though, the Silver State may not be large enough to accommodate more operators.
Nevada is only home to 3 million people. And while it gets a boost from the Vegas tourism, it still doesn’t feature much iPoker liquidity.
The result is a market that can’t offer much beyond four-figure tournaments and low-stakes hold’em cash games.
No Chance to Become a Professional
If you’re living in Vegas, you must hit the live tables to become a professional. The online game doesn’t offer nearly enough action to make a decent living.
Internet traffic does experience a spike every summer, when the WSOP takes place. However, this boost only lasts for six weeks, at which point, most players leave town.
You can see that the Nevada internet poker market isn’t exactly a dream. It will get better as more states join the multi-state compact.
At the moment, though, you can’t find much in the way of options (one site), big tournaments (none), or cash games. These conditions, however, don’t mean that you can’t still enjoy online poker action when in Vegas. If you’re a low roller, then you should be comfortable with the cash games and tournaments here.
You may also appreciate being able to play at regulated sites, rather than the offshore market poker rooms that serve many other states.
Of course, you need to be at least 21 and located in Nevada before playing. Once you meet these requirements, you’re good to go.