Poker in Montana


Population: 1,069,000

Capital: Helena

Currency: United States Dollar ($)

State Name Abbreviation: MT

Time Zone: UTC-7

Casinos with Poker

  • Montana Nugget Casino
  • Oasis Casino & Restaurant
  • Bugz’s Casino
  • Rainbow Poker Club
  • Hilton Garden Inn

If you asked anyone which US state has the most casinos, the vast majority of people would guess Nevada. After all, that is where the gambling capital of the world, Las Vegas is located.

Yet when we take a look at the numbers on, we see 396 casinos listed in Nevada – but in Montana, that number is 528 (!). This is even more peculiar given the fact that Nevada has around 3 million people living there, while Montana has just over a million people.

So, how come it’s Nevada that is considered “the casino state”, and not Montana? Why isn’t there a flashy boulevard with giant casinos in Billings, MT like the famous Strip in Las Vegas?

The short answer is: bingo halls and slot machines. Most of what online databases cite as Montana casinos aren’t what you’d expect from a Vegas casino. They’re small rooms where elderly people play bingo or keno (both games are classified as gambling by Montana law) or a video poker machine in the corner.

This is especially relevant to poker players. The website cited above which lists 500+ casinos in Montana, also claims that there are only 20 poker tables in the entire state.

Famous Montanan Poker Players

David Sands from Boznan, Montana sits on top of the state’s all time money list on Hendon. He has cashed for an impressive $8.460 million during his career.

In January 2013, he came in second in the $100K NLHE Super High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $1.259 million. That is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date. He lost the heads-up battle for the title to famous American poker pro Scott Siever. A few months later, in May 2013, Sands won the $100K WPT High Roller at the Bellagio for $1.024 million.

Ian Gordon from Missoula, MT won the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. mixed game event at the 2010 WSOP for $611,666. That cash constitutes the vast majority of his $712,831 in lifetime live tournament winnings. He’s still number 2 behind Sands on the all time money list on Hendon.

While Benny Binion, the “father” of the WSOP, was born in Texas and opened his famous casino in Las Vegas, he had a large ranch in Montana where he spent most of his elder years.


– Playing Live Poker in Montana –

   Live Poker Legislation in Montana

These types of games of chance are legal in the state of Montana: keno, bingo, state lottery, slot machines, and – thankfully – poker.

Sections 23-5-110 et seq and 23-4-101 et seq in the Montana Code Annotated lay the rules for legal gambling in the state. Licencing and regulation are under the purview of the Gambling Control Division of Montana. Interestingly, they give out joint licences for gambling operations and alcoholic beverage sellers.


  Live Poker Venues in Montana

The Montana Nugget Casino in the city of Kalispell has a poker room with cash games running every day from 4.30 PM. While they do not share information about these games on their website, third-party sites claim they only have $1/$4 Spread Limit Hold’em. Spread Limit is a rare betting limit type – it’s similar to the classic fixed limit, but players can choose to bet any amount on every street between the $1 to $4 spread. Meanwhile, in fixed limit games, players can only bet the limit, or the big bet on the turn and the river.

At the Oasis Casino & Restaurant in Butte, MT, you can find a boatload of slot machines near the bar section. They also regularly host keno nights – what’s more relevant is that they also host a poker festival from time to time. It’s called the Roughrider Poker Tour and it features events with buy-ins of a couple hundred dollars. The smallest event so far was $150, while the largest buy-in event held at the tour was a $470 NLHE tourney.

You can also find poker action at Bugz’s Casino in the city of Billings, the Rainbow Poker Club in Hamilton, and the poker room in the Hilton Garden Inn in Missoula.

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Montana –

Montana Nugget Casino

Oasis Casino & Restaurant

Bugz's Casino

Rainbow Poker Club

Hilton Garden Inn

  Online Poker in Montana

There is no specific law pertaining to internet gambling in the Montana Code. While that means it’s not explicitly illegal, this isn’t good news for online poker players in the state.

The Gambling Control Division of Montana doesn’t give out online licences. Therefore any poker site serving players from Montana could be shut down in the state due to the infamous Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (see: the Black Friday events of 2011).

Thus Montanas are in the same boat as players in most of the other states in the Union: with no legal and regulated option, they have to turn to grey area apps and unregulated offshore sites; or use a VPN if they wish to play some poker on the internet.