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Poker in Michigan

Introduction

Population: 9,987,000

Capital: Lansing

Currency: United States Dollar ($)

State Name Abbreviation: MI

Time Zone: UTC-5 – UTC-6

Casinos with Poker

  • FireKeepers Hotel & Casino
  •  Four Winds Casino South Bend
  • MGM Grand Detroit

Michigan, a sizable state by the Great Lakes, thankfully does have legal gambling. You are free to play casino games, poker, slots, or even place a bet on a sporting event there.

They took the first step in 1933. That is when they legalized horse race betting, the most fashionable game of chance at the time. In 1972, the state lottery was established. According to michapg.com, the first casino opened in the state (on Native American tribal land) in 1993. Three years later, in 1996, casinos were finally allowed to operate with a licence outside tribal territories as well.

However, the most important piece of legislation passed by the Michigan State Legislature for poker players came in December 2019. Governor Whitmer signed into law House Bill no. 4311. That mundane name entailed major news for poker players – it made Michigan the 6th state in the Union to legalize online poker!

It’s not all good news though – because the licencing and regulatory framework hasn’t been created yet, no online poker room could launch in the Great Lake State to date.

However, when they do, they could make the state the biggest online gambling market in the US. MichiganSharp.com projects that the first-year revenue could be around $650 million, with online poker, casino games and sports betting revenue combined.

 

Famous Michiganian Poker Players

Michigan can boast two WSOP Main Event champions.

Joe Cada, born in Shelby Charter Township, MI, took home poker’s most coveted title in 2009. He managed to outlast a 6,494-player field and won $8.546 million. Needless to say, that is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date.

He went on to add 3 more bracelets to his tally. In 2014, he won the $10K NLHE – 6-handed event for $670,041. In 2018, he claimed two more gold bracelets: he took down the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout event for $226,218, then the $1,500 NLHE – The Closer event for $612,886.

Despite his incredible accolades, Joe Cada doesn’t actually top Michigan’s all time money list on Hendon. Currently, Ryen Riess from East Lansing, MI is in the #1 spot with $14.993 million in live tournament earnings, around $700,000 ahead of Cada.

Riess won the WSOP Main Event in 2013. His field had 6,352 entrants, while the first prize money going to Riess’ pocket was $8.361 million. However, unlike Cada, he’s yet to win his second bracelet after his ME victory.

He is also a prolific online MTT grinder. Playing under the screen name “MrMaximize” on PokerStars and partypoker, he has amassed $1.785 million in online tournament cashes.

Live cash game pro and popular poker vlogger Andrew Neeme is also from the state of Michigan. He currently, as of writing this, has 150,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel.

 

– Playing Live Poker in Michigan –

   Live Poker Legislation in Michigan

As we wrote in our intro, land based casinos state-wide have been legal in Michigan since 1996. The relevant gambling law is Michigan Penal Code Chapter 750, sections 301 through 315a and the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act (Michigan Complied Laws Chapter 432), if someone wants to look it up for themselves.

The state gambling authority is called the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB). They provide for the licensing, regulation and control of the state’s non-tribal casinos.

  Live Poker Venues in Michigan

The FireKeepers Hotel & Casino, Michigan’s largest casino, is located in Battle Creek, MI. Their poker room offers a vast array of cash games.

They have No Limit Hold’em tables at $1/$2, $2/$5 and $5/$10 stakes; Limit Hold’em tables at $4/$8, $5/$10 and $10/$20 stakes; and Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better tables at $4/$8 and $10/$20 stakes. They even have some real novelties in their cash room. For example, you can play $2-$10 Spread Limit 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo 8-or-Better.

As for tournaments, they’ve hosted the Mid-States Poker Tour multiple times. There, you can play their $1,100 NLHE Main Event. FireKeepers has its own tourney series as well: it’s called FireKeeper’s 5th Sunday. The Main Event buy-in is a cool $500.

The Four Winds Casinos casino chain has 4 venues in Michigan: one in New Buffalo, one in Hartford, one in Dowagiac, and one in South Bend. However, only the one in South Bend has a poker room.

Their cash game room has $1/$2 and $2/$5 No Limit Hold’em, $3/$6 Limit Hold’em, and $1/$2 Pot Limit Omaha games.

In the state capital, Detroit, MGM Grand Detroit is the largest gambling hub. They too have No Limit & Limit Hold’em, as well as Pot Limit Omaha cash tables. Their specialty is NLHE bounty tournament, they host three per week. On Wednesdays and Sundays a $120 buy-in tourney; while on Saturdays, a $220 buy-in one.

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Michigan –

FireKeepers Casino Hotel

Four Winds Casino South Bend

MGM Grand Detroit

  Online Poker in Michigan

We wrote in our intro about Michigan passing the bill to legalize online poker in 2019.

We’ve also mentioned that much anticipated online poker launch in MI is yet to come. The original estimates for the launch date were late 2020 to early 2021. With the coronavirus pandemic, online gambling revenues soared which made Michigan state officials move even faster on the issue.

What we do know is that, much like in Delaware, only licenced brick-and-mortar casinos will be allowed to offer online gambling services. In this case, the land casinos usually partner with well-established, major online poker operators to serve their players online.


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