Poker in Indiana

Introduction

Population: 6,732,000

Capital: Indianapolis

Currency: United States Dollar ($)

Time Zones: UTC-5 – UTC-6

State Name Abbreviation: IN

Casinos with Poker

  • Caesars Southern Indiana
  • Horseshoe Hammond
  • Hollywood Casino & Hotel Indiana
  • Majestic Star Casino
  • Eddy’s Sports Pub

Indiana, a large midwestern state, is quite progressive on the issue of gambling. That is despite having an overwhelmingly conservative voter base.

They have legal land-based casino gambling, and – what’s more – they’re among the rare states in the Union where you can legally bet on sporting events online. However, unfortunately, this legal framework does not include online poker – yet.

Indiana used to have a constitutional ban on gambling. Thankfully, it was lifted in 1988 after a vote on a proposition to lift the ban. Thus in 1989, the very first legal game of chance in Indiana, the Hoosier Lottery, was launched, and a rich gambling market grew.

River casinos and horse race tracks are quite popular in the state. The former one has a special place in poker history – America’s favorite card game originally traveled across the nation by being played in the bar rooms of riverboats sailing across America’s rivers.

Pokeratlas.com lists a total of 9 live poker rooms running in the Hoosier state. One of them, Caesars Southern Indiana (formerly known as Horseshoe Southern Indiana), in Elizabeth, IN has hosted WSOP Circuit events in the past.

Famous Hoosier Poker Players

Don’t be surprised, “Hoosier” is the official demonym for people from Indiana. Its origin is not clear, but the term was popularized by the 1833 poem “The Hoosier’s Nest” by John Finley.

One of early poker’s most influential figures, Mike Sexton, was a Hoosier himself. He was born in Shelby, IN in 1947. He won his first and only WSOP gold bracelet in 1989 in the $1,500 7-Card Stud Split event for $104,400. Sexton became iconic as the regular commentator for World Poker Tour events. He was also a key figure in the formative years of the major online poker room partypoker. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2009, and sadly passed away in 2020.

Jason DeWitt from Mishawaka, IN is a 2-time WSOP gold bracelet winner. He took down the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event for $818,959 in 2010 and the $1,500 Millionaire Maker NLHE event for $1,065,403 in 2016. He has $3.180 million in live tournament cashes total.

2018 WSOP Main Event champion John Cynn tops the Indiana all time money list on Hendon with $10.189 million. However, while he has his residence listed as Indianapolis, he was actually born in the neighboring state of Illinois.

 

– Playing Live Poker in Indiana –

   Live Poker Legislation in Indiana

As we wrote in our intro, Indiana had a state constitutional ban on gambling until it was lifted by a vote on a 1988 ballot initiative. After the lift of the prohibition, the first licencing bids for casinos started a full five years later, in 1993. The first casino that opened in the state was on a riverboat, the Casino Aztar Evansville in December 1995.

Today, there’s around 15 licenced casinos operating across Indiana.

The relevant gambling laws in effect today can be found in Indiana Code 35-45-5. Please note that playing poker outside a licenced venue is illegal, even at a home game. Licencing and regulation are under the purview of the Indiana Gaming Commission.

  Live Poker Venues in Indiana

As we wrote in our intro, Caesars Southern Indiana in Elizabeth, IN has held WSOP Circuit events – the last one in the venue took place in the fall of 2019. The buy-ins ranged between $250 and $600, except for the $1,700 buy-in Main Event.

In their year-round poker room, you can find 16 tables running. They have No Limit Hold’em cash tables on $1/$2 and $2/$5 stakes, a Limit Hold’em table on $3/$6 stakes, Pot Limit Omaha tables on $1/$2 and $2/$5 stakes, and even a Limit 7-Card Stud table running on the weekends on $30/$60 stakes.

The biggest casino in Indiana, the Horseshoe Hammond in Hammond, IN also has a poker room. They even have a high stakes VIP room called “Benny’s Back Room”, named after legendary casino owner Benny Binion. If you want to book a seat in their high roller room, contact them on the number listed on their website. However, there is no information available anywhere on the web about their “regular” games either.

You can also find some poker action in the Hollywood Casino & Hotel Indiana located in Lawrenceburg, IN, and the Majestic Star Casino in Gary, IN.

In the state’s capital and most populous city, Indianapolis, there aren’t poker rooms per se. However, some sports bars, such as Eddy’s Sports Pub, do host poker tournaments from time to time. In March 2021, for example, they held a freeroll No Limit Hold’em tourney with a $75 prize pool.

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Indiana –

Caesars Southern Indiana

Horseshoe Hammond

Hollywood Casino & Hotel Indiana

Majestic Star Casino

Eddy’s Sports Pub

  Online Poker in Indiana

Indiana is one of the few states in the US where the locals are lucky enough to be able to bet on sports over the internet legally. The key piece of legislation making that possible was passed by the State Congress in September 2019. Since then, many great online sports books and fantasy sports sites have launched in the new market, such as DraftKings and Fanduel. Neither of those do or could offer online poker, unfortunately.

That is because online poker is still illegal in the Hoosier state. A whole new legislative process would have to start to achieve that. However, if the online sports betting venture works out well for the state, that can be a great incentive for them to legalize online poker as well.