Where and how to play online poker in Indiana
There are a lot of options for live poker games in Indiana.
There are nine casino poker rooms within the Indiana borders and many more in neighboring states.
With the regulation of online sports betting underway, many Indiana-based poker fans are asking whether regulated online poker will follow. While there are no provisions for this in bill H 1015, many hope the success of sports betting will help move things forward.
You can play online poker for real money in Indiana right now at Global Poker, a legal online poker site that covers almost all of the US. Global Poker uses existing sweepstakes gambling laws in a creative dual-currency solution. It is an increasingly popular online destination for poker fans.
On this page, we will give you an overview of the current poker scene in Indiana.
We cover live and online poker. Below, you will find an overview of the current regulatory changes and how these may one day relate to online poker. After we cover options for live poker games, we follow with a look at online options, games and bonuses available to poker fans.
Bill H 1015: Is online poker legal in Indiana?
The most recent Indiana bill does not include poker, instead sets out regulation for online sportsbooks. It also makes some changes to live casinos (adding table games) and adds a new casino license. This new casino might have a poker room to add to the nine casinos in operation in Indiana.
There are some positives for players who would like to see their Indiana online poker options increase. The new legislation will create a licensing system for online gambling, which could expand from sports to poker in the future. With the tax revenues of states such as New Jersey showing benefits of regulation, having a licensing agency in place could be an essential first step.
At the moment, the sharing of players between poker rooms in regulated states is limited. New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada share players via the WSOP brand. With regulated online poker coming to Pennsylvania soon, poker fans hope those pools will expand further.
Current Indiana poker laws will require new legislation. By the time this is through, the US player sharing pools could be huge. This will give a lot more options in terms of game selection, tournament prize guarantees and promo deals than if Indiana introduced a segregated poker ecosystem.
Indiana residents can already enjoy online poker for real money at Global Poker. You can find out more on this site below.
Indiana poker rooms near you
Some states have dominant players when it comes to live poker rooms. For Indiana, there are a lot of options, though these are mostly smaller to midsized venues. The biggest room, based on the number of tables, is the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond.
Here are the current options for live poker games within Indiana:
- Belterra Casino: This riverboat casino has a nine-table poker room and is located in Florence, IN.
- Blue Chip Casino: Located in Michigan City, IN, this eight-table poker room is available 24/7.
- Four Winds South Bend Casino: Indiana’s first tribal casino has a 10-table poker room, you’ll find this venue at South Bend, IN.
- French Lick Casino: Located close to West Baden, this casino has a small four-table poker room.
- Hollywood Casino: Located in Lawrenceburg, IN, Hollywood offers 21 tables, spreading a wide selection of cash games and tournaments.
- Horseshoe Casino: The largest room (by the number of tables) in Indiana, you’ll find 34 poker tables at the Horseshoe in Hammond, IN.
- Horseshoe Southern: This room is co-branded with the WSOP. With 30 tables, this venue is located at Elizabeth, IN.
- Majestic Star: One of two riverboat casinos located at Gary, IN. The Majestic has 21 poker tables.
- Tropicana Casino: This Evansville venue is another smaller room with only eight tables.
Note that the Ameristar Casino hosts poker events using its ballroom, although it no longer has a dedicated poker room.
Notable poker tours which have stops in Indiana include the Highland Poker Tour, WSOP Circuit and WPT. Indiana has a history of successful poker players. Big names from the Hoosier State include Mike Sexton and recent WSOP Main Event winner John Cynn, who went to the University in Indiana.
How to play for real money
Global Poker uses a workaround in state sweepstakes laws to provide real-money online poker games. This site is growing in popularity. It regularly gets 100+ cash game tables active and a busy schedule of poker tournaments.
Instead of playing directly for dollars at Global Poker, you’ll play for “sweeps cash.” You exchange it back to dollars when you want to cash out and transfer it directly to your bank account. You can’t buy sweeps cash directly; instead, you buy “gold chips” (for entertainment only) and Global Poker give you sweeps cash for free.
For those new to the concept, coming across sweeps cash does raise some questions about the legitimacy of the system. You’ll find that this works smoothly, and banks allow you to use your credit or debit cards for buy-ins.
Promo offers include a freeroll entry for new players, guaranteed tournaments (with satellites) and giveaways via social media. You can even get free sweeps cash by sending a physical letter to an address you’ll find on their website. While there have been deposit bonuses in the past, at the time of writing, Global Poker is not offering one.
Games include no limit hold ’em, pot limit Omaha and a small number of Crazy Pineapple tables. You can play in cash-game format or join the small tournaments, which many of these have guaranteed prize pools.
There are also jackpot sit and gos (SNGs). These are hyper-turbo games, with random prize pools of up to 2000x your buy-in. While you won’t find much in the way of high-stakes action at Global Poker, these games are both soft and entertaining at more recreational stakes.
What poker games can I play online?
Online poker has come a long way since it began at the end of the 1990s. Today, you’ll find a lot of different formats competing for your attention.
When state-regulated poker rooms come to Indiana, you can expect some of the following formats and game variations to be available:
- Cash games: This was the original poker format where you play for chips which have a direct monetary value. In a live Indiana poker room, the smallest game has $1/$2 blinds. Online games can be much lower, with 1c/2c the smallest, topping out at around $5/$10. Expect many poker variants to be available in a cash-game format.
- Tournaments: Instead of using chips with real-money value, here you buy-in and get a stack of tournament chips. Play continues until one player has all the chips, with prize money distributed to around 10% of the field. The big prizes are for the winner and players at the final table. Tournaments now have multiple variations. These include rebuy, turbo and knockout bounty games as well as qualifiers for live or online events.
- SNGs: Smaller sit-and-go tournaments start at just one table, which begins as soon as there are enough players. This is a popular tournament format, as the time commitment is much lower than for the multi-table tournament games.
- Fast-fold poker: Since playing every hand is never a winning poker strategy, you’ll end up waiting for other players in most games. Fast-fold poker was developed to avoid this “dead time.” You join a pool of players at any given buy-in. As soon as you fold your current hand, you are sent to a new game with new players from that pool. This online poker format works well on mobile phones; it can be 4x the speed of regular games.
- Lottery SNGs: This newer format involves a fast, three-handed tournament, with a random prize pool. You won’t know whether you are playing for 2x your buy-in or 10,000x before each game begins. With short chip stacks and 2- to 3-minute blind levels, you need to act fast to avoid being blinded away.
It is not only the range of formats that keeps online poker games interesting. You will also get to play novel games.
No limit hold ’em still dominates all the sites, and Omaha poker variants are prevalent. Pot limit Omaha is most common, along with Omaha hi-lo variants and even exotic games with extra cards. You can also play stud and draw poker. You’ll need to find a more popular site to get a choice of tables for these variants.
A new game sweeping the online poker scene is short-deck hold ’em, which removes cards two through five from the deck. Not only does this immediately change the number of outs you can hit (and so your odds), the hand rankings are different, too.
Bonuses at Indiana online poker rooms
While it is too early to speculate on the exact promos and bonus offers for regulated Indiana poker rooms, there are some clues available.
Looking at the international sites and those in states that have already regulated, common types of bonus become clear. The list below gives you a broad idea of what to expect:
- No deposit poker bonuses: When online poker rooms first open, expect a big marketing push to hit that critical mass of players. A small amount of money for simply registering is a popular bonus offer. This is usually in the $10 to $25 range. You’ll have to collect points via real-money play before you can withdraw cash.
- Matched deposit bonus: This has been the industry standard for online poker rooms for decades. Indiana poker sites will certainly offer a 100% bonus, matched to your first deposit. Often, you can clear this money in increments into your real-money account as you collect points from playing real-money poker games.
- Loyalty point schemes: Different online poker rooms handle loyalty rewards their way. Some rooms offer flat deals, where you collect points you can exchange for cash or tournament entries. Others have tiers, with bigger bonuses the more points you receive. Still, other sites have novel systems like the “chests” (containing custom rewards) of the Stars’ loyalty program.
- Free tournament entries: Poker rooms often have tournaments with small real-money prizes and tournament ticket giveaways. Some of these are qualifiers to larger buy-in events. Whether you play a freeroll tournament will often depend on how the potential for prizes compares to the amount of time required.
- Reload bonuses: It is not only brand-new players that can benefit from deposit bonus offers. Reloads are often less than 100% and give loyal players that need to top up their account a way to get some bonus money.
Alongside these standard formats, online poker rooms often come up with creative promotions. These include online tournament events, leaderboard contests, rake back, extra points during happy hour and sometimes crossover promos with casino or sports betting areas of the brand.
When regulation comes, I recommend bookmarking the promotions pages of all the Indiana poker sites to make sure you don’t miss out.
Wrapping up: How would an Indiana-regulated poker scene look?
The biggest question about Indiana online poker will be whether the inter-state pools will be in place before legislation is passed. If so, then there could be some huge poker rooms to join. If not, then I will be a case of the individual brands battling it out to see who gets to critical mass first.
With more players, legal Indiana poker rooms will be able to offer bigger tournament guarantees and a better choice of games. This will attract more players, creating a cycle which can be a big boost.
From other states, we know that the big international brands like Stars, 888 and Party are keen to partner with local license holders. In some cases, these sites also power poker rooms which keep the brand of the live casino. The advantage of playing with these big brands is that they already have innovative new formats and games running (at international sites).
While nobody exactly knows when state-licensed poker will begin for Indiana, there is already one safe and legal option. Global Poker turns every hand into a mini-sweepstakes contest. This allows you to win money and legally cash out to your bank. While we wait for regulation, this makes for an entertaining low-stakes option.