Poker in Kansas

Introduction

Population: 2,913,000

Capital: Topeka

Currency: United States Dollar ($)

Time Zone: UTC-6

State Name Abbreviation: KS

Casinos with Poker

  • Harrah’s Kansas City
  • Hollywood Casino Kansas Speedway
  • Boot Hill Casino

Kansas, a large state right in the middle of the United States, is perhaps best known in the world for the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, the first ever color picture; and for being “flatter than a pancake” – which, by the way, was scientifically disproven.

As for gambling, thankfully, they have a number of licenced and completely legal land casinos. Wordlcasinodirectory.com lists a total of 11 of them, to be precise. For poker rooms, however, the selection is a lot less ample. Pokeratlas.com only lists 3 running poker rooms in the entire state. Two of those rooms are in Kansas City, famous for being partly in Kansas, and partly in the neighboring state of Missouri.

The first saloons with regular card games sprang up in the area in the 1860’s. Cowboys coming over from Texas introduced their favorite games of chance to the locals, very much akin to Texan traveling gamblers (Doyle Brunson and his crew) introducing Texas Hold’em to Las Vegas a century later. The Kansas Historical Society’s website even mentions their state’s first “professional gambler”, a man named Luke Short. He used his gambling winnings to open up his very own saloon in Dodge City in 1883.

By that time, the Kansas gambling ban came into effect in 1868 – although enforcing it was not foolproof by far. By 1895, the prohibition was already weakened by the legalization of limited gambling at horse race tracks and fairs.

The big breakthrough of the 21st century for the modern Kansas gamblers came in 2007. That year, their state legislature passed the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act. This piece of legislation made way for the state’s first commercial casinos to open off of tribal land in the “four designated gaming zones”.

Famous Kansan Poker Players

Brandon Steven from Wichita, KS currently sits on top of the Kansas all time money list on Hendon. He has $3.217 million in live tournament earnings.

In October 2016, he took down the $50,000 buy-in Super High Roller at the Aria for $648,000. That is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date. Also, in 2013, he made it to the final table in the $111,111 WSOP One Drop High Roller, eventually busting in 7th place for $621,180. Three years later, in 2016, he took 10th place in the same event. Sadly, he was fined $1.1 million in an illegal gambling case in Kansas in 2019.

Second on that list, close behind Steven, is Kirk Morrison also from Wichita with $3.179 million in live tournament cashes. His biggest score to date is $2.011 million, which he got for finishing 2nd in the $25,500 No Limit Hold’em Championship at the WPT Five Star World Poker Classic in April 2007. He lost the heads-up battle for the title to 2001 WSOP Main Event champion Carlos Mortensen.

 

– Playing Live Poker in Kansas –

   Live Poker Legislation in Kansas

The laws governing gambling in the state can be found in Chapter 21 and Chapter 71 of the Kansas Statutes. Licencing and regulation of gambling establishments are under the purview of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (KRGC for short).

We’ve mentioned the 2007 Kansas Expanded Lottery Act (KELA) already in our intro.

  Live Poker Venues in Kansas

At Harrah’s Kansas City in Kansas City, you can play a wide selection of cash games in their poker room. They have No Limit Hold’em tables on $1/$2, $1/$3, $2/$5 and $5/$10 stakes; Limit Hold’em on $3/$6 and $20/$40 stakes; as well as Pot Limit Omaha on $2/$5 stakes. The only “catch” is that you have to travel to the Missouri side of Kansas City, east of the famous State Line Road.

On the Kansas side of the city, you’ve got the Hollywood Casino Kansas Speedway. In their cardroom, you can play 1-2 poker tourneys a month (with buy-ins of $240 to $450), and cash games as well. Their cash selection too includes Limit and No Limit Hold’em, and Pot Limit Omaha, but they also offer Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better. As for stakes, the lowest table runs with $2/$5 blinds, while the highest is a $25/$50 mixed game table. This is definitely a place for high rollers.

The Boot Hill Casino is located in Dodge City, KS, the historic town mentioned in our intro. You can get some poker action in their cardroom as well.

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Kansas –

Harrah's Kansas City

Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway

Boot Hill Casino

 

 Online Poker in Kansas

Kansas is in the same boat as most other states in the Union. Their laws do not address online gambling at all. However, alas, this makes it illegal by default due to federal laws such as the 1961 Wire Act or the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

If you’re a poker player in Kansas, you only have two choices. You can play on real money poker apps that use the legal sweepstakes model, such as PokerBROS or Global Poker. Or, you can play on unregulated offshore sites, such as Americas Cardroom, which is part of the Costa Rica-based Winning Poker Network.