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Poker in North Dakota

Introduction

Population: 762,062

Capital: Bismarck

Currency: United States Dollar ($)

Time Zone: UTC-6

State Name Abbreviation: ND

Casinos with Poker

  • 4 Bears Casino & Lodge
  • Sky Dancer Casino
  • Vegas Motel

 

 

North Dakota is a large but sparsely populated state, bordering Canada to the north. Thankfully for their local betting men and women, they do have legal gambling.

Worldcasinodirectory.com lists 28 licenced casinos within the state. That’s not bad for a population of less than a million people. The lion’s share of the gambling revenue is generated by the 6 major tribal casinos. Their operation is especially lucrative, given the fact that they actually don’t have to pay any taxes on their gaming revenue. Native American casinos only have to cover their operation costs and regulatory fees.

Geographically, most casinos are near the largest city in the state, Fargo. It has 10 gambling houses, according to the aforementioned website’s numbers.

As for poker, the Roughrider Poker Tour is a year-round tournament series that travels around the state. It hosts events in over a dozen venues in North Dakota. The buy-ins are usually between $100 and $200. The state has also been home to  701 Poker Tour, Mid-States Poker Tour, and Heartland Poker Tour events. For the latter, HTC, the syndicated television program was produced in North Dakota as well.

Famous North Dakotan Poker Players

Greg Raymer, nicknamed “the Fossilman”, was born in Minot, North Dakota. He won the WSOP Main Event the year Moneymaker’s victory kicked off the poker boom, in 2004. He was the first to beat a field of over 1,000 players (2,576 to be exact) for which he was awarded $5 million. That is his biggest single live tournament score to date.

He also has a 3rd place finish for $774,927 in the $40,000 WSOP 40th Anniversary NLHE event from 2009. Overall, he has $8.036 million in live cashes.

However, he isn’t listed as a North Dakotan player in Hendon’s database. Rather, he’s under the state of his current residence, North Carolina.

Thus the North Dakotan all time money list is currently led by Tom McCormick from Fargo, ND with $2.181 million in career earnings. His biggest live cash is $118,552, which he got for a 5th place finish in the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the 2018 World Series.

 

– Playing Live Poker in North Dakota –

   Live Poker Legislation in North Dakota

Chapters 12.1-28 and 53.06.1-01 cover gambling in the state’s penal code, called North Dakota Century Code.

Generally, casino gaming is restricted to Native American reservations. This is legally allowed thanks to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, a federal law. However, thankfully, there’s also a whole host of exemptions of other games of chance or games of skill played for money that can legally take place in North Dakota.

The condition is that the event has to be sponsored by a licenced charitable organization. Yes, fortunately, poker is one of those games.

The Gaming Division within the state’s Attorney General’s office is in charge of regulating gambling in North Dakota.

  Live Poker Venues in North Dakota

The 4 Bears Casino & Lodge in New Town, ND is one of the most frequented casinos in North Dakota, based on the number of Google reviews. However, very little information is posted about their poker room on their website. All we know is that they host “low buy-in and rebuy” No Limit Hold’em tournaments. These events start at 6 pm Wednesday through Friday, then at 2 PM on Saturday.

The Sky Dancer Casino in Belcourt, ND also has a busy weekly tournament schedule. All their events are NLHE with $20 buy-ins and $10 add-ons. The tourneys start at 7 PM on weekdays, 5 PM on Saturdays and 2 PM on Sundays. Interestingly, all of them offer the option of unlimited rebuys until “halftime”.

Their website also states they offer Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Low, Tahoe Hi-Low & 7-Card Stud cash games every weekend starting at Friday 4 PM. However, they do not specify the stakes.

At the Vegas Motel in Minot, ND you can play No Limit and Limit Hold’em cash games on $1/$2 and $2/$5 stakes.

We’ve mentioned the Roughrider Poker Tour in our intro. This poker festivals have hosted events in a number of venues where there is no year-round poker room, such as the 281 Stop & Grill Bar in Pingree, ND, the Almost Home Tavern and Grill in Pettibone, ND, or the Sidelines Sports Bar in the capital city of Bismarck, ND.

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in North Dakota –

4 Bears Casino & Lodge

Sky Dancer Casino & Resort

Vegas Motel

  Online Poker in North Dakota

Unfortunately, online gambling isn’t legal in North Dakota. Just like in most other states, internet gambling isn’t mentioned in any way in the state penal code. However, existing federal laws mean that it is illegal by default.

In March 2021, House Concurrent Resolution 3012 was proposed in the State Senate. This piece of legislation would have paved the way for legalized online poker. However, alas, it was unanimously voted down by the Senate.