HomeIllinois Online Poker

Illinois online poker

Explore the landscape of Illinois online poker, from the legality of real money play to the best IL poker sites available. Gain insights on signing up, the variety of games offered, the differences between apps and websites, live poker room options, future legalization, and expert gaming tips.

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Online poker has become a staple of internet gaming, and Illinois residents are keen to join the action. While traditional online poker remains off the table, Illinoisans are finding alternative routes to enjoy this classic card game.

Illinois state law does not permit the operation of traditional real money online poker sites. However, this does not leave Illinois poker enthusiasts without options. Sweepstakes poker sites are a legal alternative and are available for use in Illinois.

Best Illinois sweepstakes poker site

While traditional online poker has not been legalized, Illinoisans can use sweepstakes poker sites as a legal alternative.

These sites operate under the premise of sweepstakes law, which allows players to participate in poker games for a chance to win real prizes without directly wagering money. This legal workaround allows poker enthusiasts in Illinois to play online.

Global Poker logo

Global Poker

For Illinois residents, the most recommended and best sweepstakes poker site is Global Poker. It's known for its user-friendly interface, various games, and legal status under sweepstakes laws. Players can enjoy games like Texas Hold'em and Omaha, and participate in tournaments with the chance to win real money prizes.

  • Welcome bonus: 150,000 Gold Coins for $10 + 30 free sweep coins
  • Available on: Desktop, iOS & Android

How to sign up at an IL online poker site

Signing up for an online poker site in Illinois is a straightforward process, typically involving the following steps:

  1. Choose a reputable Illinois sweepstakes poker site, such as Global Poker.
  2. Navigate to the site's registration page.
  3. Enter your personal details, such as your name, address, and email.
  4. Verify your account through an email confirmation or SMS validation.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the site's system of using two types of currency: one for playing and one for redeeming prizes.
  6. Start playing poker games online with the opportunity to win real prizes.

Types of games on Illinois poker sites

Illinois poker sites, particularly those operating under the sweepstakes model, offer a variety of games that cater to different preferences and skill levels.

These platforms provide an array of poker experiences, from the classic formats to more modern variations. Here's a look at the types of poker games you can indulge in online.

  • Texas Hold'em: The most popular variant of poker worldwide, Texas Hold'em is a staple on Illinois poker sites. Players receive two private cards and use five community cards to make the best hand possible.
  • Omaha: Similar to Texas Hold'em but with four private cards and five community cards, Omaha gives players more potential hand combinations, leading to higher stakes and more intense gameplay.
  • Crazy Pineapple: This variation starts like Texas Hold'em but with three hole cards. After the flop, players discard one card, adding a strategic layer to the familiar format.
  • Seven Card Stud: Once the gold standard of poker, Seven Card Stud deals players seven cards throughout the hand, but only the best five-card hand wins at showdown.
  • Omaha Hi/Lo: Also known as Omaha 8-or-better, this game awards the pot to both the highest and lowest qualifying hands, offering a twist on the traditional Omaha structure.
  • Razz: In this 'lowball' poker variant, the traditional hand rankings are flipped, and the lowest hand wins, providing a unique challenge for players.
  • Sit and Go Tournaments: These are quick, small-scale tournaments that start once a set number of players have registered. They offer a fast-paced and more immediate tournament experience.
  • Jackpot Sit and Go's: A turbo-charged version of Sit and Go's with a random prize pool, often awarding a large payout for a small buy-in.
  • Fast-Fold Poker: For those looking for non-stop action, Fast-Fold Poker moves players to a new table with a new hand immediately after they fold, eliminating downtime between hands.

Poker apps vs. poker websites

In the digital age, poker players in Illinois have the luxury of choosing between playing on dedicated poker apps or accessing poker games through websites. Both platforms have their unique advantages and cater to different player preferences.

Poker apps

  • Convenience: Poker apps are designed for on-the-go gameplay, allowing players to enjoy a hand of poker wherever they are, directly from their smartphone or tablet.
  • User experience: Apps often provide a more streamlined and optimized user experience, with interfaces tailored to touch screens and mobile usability.
  • Notifications: Players can receive real-time notifications for tournament starts, bonus offers, and other important updates.
    Limited Screen Space: The downside is the smaller screen size, which can limit the visibility of detailed graphics and can make multi-tabling more challenging.
  • App-specific features: Some apps may offer unique features like gesture-based controls or the ability to shake the device to fold, enhancing the interactive experience.

Poker websites

  • Full experience: Websites accessed through a computer typically offer the full suite of poker room features, including a wide range of games and tournament formats.
  • Multi-tabling: Playing on a website makes it easier to play multiple tables simultaneously, a popular strategy among more experienced players.
  • No download required: Unlike apps, poker websites can be accessed directly in a web browser, eliminating the need to download and update software.
  • Screen real estate: The larger screen of a desktop or laptop provides a more immersive experience and clearer visibility of the game and betting options.
  • Compatibility: Websites are generally not limited by device type or operating system, making them accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

While poker apps offer convenience and mobile access, websites provide a more comprehensive experience with the benefit of a larger display and full feature set.

The choice between the two will depend on personal preference, play style, and whether the player prioritizes mobility or a richer, more detailed poker environment.

Illinois casinos with poker rooms

While the digital felts of online poker in Illinois are yet to be fully legalized, poker enthusiasts have the opportunity to shuffle up and deal in person at four Illinois casinos that offer poker rooms across the state.

Rivers Casino 3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018
Hollywood Casino Aurora 1 W. New York Street Bridge, Aurora, IL 60506
Bally's Quad City Casino & Hotel 777 Bally Blvd., Rock Island, IL 61201
Grand Victoria Casino Elgin 250 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120

The question of when online poker will be legal in Illinois is a topic of much speculation and anticipation. As of now, Illinois does not have any online poker sites that are regulated and licensed by the state. However, there is a legislative momentum for legalizing Illinois online poker. The House and Senate introduced online casino bills in 2021, which included online poker in the texts. This indicates that if online casinos are regulated in Illinois, online poker is likely to follow.

Despite this progress, neither online casino bill passed during the May 2021 legislative session, but the issue is expected to be revisited in future sessions. Therefore, while there is no definitive answer as to when online poker will be legal in Illinois, the introduction of these bills suggests that the state is moving toward legalization. For now, poker players in Illinois can use promotional sweepstakes sites or wait for the state to launch domestic real money online poker.

Expert tips when playing poker online

Playing poker online in Illinois, while limited to sweepstakes sites like Global Poker, still requires strategic thinking and a disciplined approach. Here are some expert tips to enhance your online poker playing experience:

  • Understand the platform: Familiarize yourself with the sweepstakes model. Know the difference between Gold Coins, which are for fun play, and Sweeps Coins, which can be redeemed for cash prizes.
  • Start small: Even if you're used to high stakes, begin with lower-stake games to get accustomed to the nuances of online play.
  • Learn to multi-table: Online poker can be fast-paced. Start with a single table, then gradually add more as you become comfortable managing multiple games.
  • Keep distractions at bay: Unlike a casino setting, home environments are filled with distractions. Create a distraction-free zone to maintain focus.
  • Use software functionality: Get comfortable with the software features available on the site, such as note-taking on opponents and the use of the betting slider.
  • Maintain a healthy bankroll: Manage your bankroll judiciously. Don't play at stakes where you can't afford to lose.
  • Study your opponents: Take notes on your opponents' tendencies and patterns. Online play can reveal consistent behaviors in betting and bluffing.
  • Stay emotionally balanced: Online poker can lead to quick swings. Keep your emotions in check to avoid tilt.
  • Take advantage of bonuses: Utilize any bonuses or promotions that sweepstakes sites offer to maximize your play.
  • Continual learning: Poker is a game of skill and strategy. Always be learning by reviewing your play, studying strategies, and learning from others.

Remember, while the current legal framework for online poker in Illinois doesn't include traditional real-money play, these tips can still be applied to sweepstakes poker sites and will be invaluable if and when the state legalizes full-fledged online poker.


Is PokerStars legal in Illinois?

No, PokerStars is not currently legal in Illinois. The state has not legalized online poker for traditional real-money platforms, which means that PokerStars, one of the leading online poker sites, cannot operate legally within the state.

Is it legal to host a real money poker game at home in Illinois?

Hosting a poker game at home for real money in Illinois is illegal according to Article 28 Section 1 of the Illinois Penal Code. This law states that gambling, which includes playing and hosting a game of chance or skill for money or other things of value, is prohibited.

Are there any poker tournaments in Illinois?

Yes, there are poker tournaments in Illinois. These are typically hosted in licensed casinos and card rooms across the state. Illinois casinos that offer live poker rooms regularly schedule poker tournaments, including daily events, special weekend or holiday tournaments, and even major tournament series that attract players of all levels.

Should I use offshore poker sites in Illinois?

Using offshore poker sites in Illinois carries significant risks. These sites operate outside of US legal jurisdiction, meaning there's less protection for players in terms of fair play, the security of funds, and recourse in the event of disputes. Additionally, the legality of playing on such sites is a gray area and could potentially lead to legal issues. It's advisable to play on sites that comply with US and Illinois laws.