Poker in Vermont


Population: 624,000

Capital: Montpellier 

Currency: United States Dollar ($)

Time Zone: UTC-5

State Name Abbreviation: VT

Casinos with Poker

Vermont is one of the six states in the Northeastern part of the United States that makes up the region known as New England. Despite having one of the most socially liberal electorates among all 50 states, it also has one of the strictest gambling laws in the Union.

In fact, no for-profit company is allowed to organize any games of chance. The only available option in this state is charitable gaming, and those types of events are few and far between. If you want to take part in a poker event specifically, your chances are even lower. There aren’t any Native American tribal casinos in Vermont either. Nor is social gambling allowed.

The gambling prohibition was in effect from the very start of the state’s existence in the late 18th Century. The few exceptions that were given were the legalization of horse and greyhound races in 1959 and the establishment of the state lottery in 1978. However, even horse race tracks are no longer in operation in the state due to lack of demand.

So, for any poker player, the wise thing to do is to avoid this state. If you live in the area, your best bet is to visit one of the many legal card rooms in neighboring New Hampshire or New York State. If you don’t mind crossing an international border for some poker action, Vermont also borders Canada, and Montreal is only a 2-hour drive away from Burlington, Vermont’s most populous city.

Famous Vermonter Poker Players

Despite the harsh legal environment for gambling and small population size, The Green Mountain State has given the US the same number of presidents (one, Chester A. Arthur) as WSOP Main Event champions.

Hal Gene Flower was born in Vermont in January 1927. He took down poker’s more coveted title, the $10,000 WSOP Main Event, in 1979 for $270,000. He beat Bobby Hoff from California heads-up for the title. Flower earned a total of $383,500 in recorded live tournament cashes in his lifetime.

Bradley Myers from Esses, VT has $385,837 in live tournament earnings. In June 2016, he came in 3rd in the $1,000 WSOP No Limit Hold’em event for $133,955. That is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date.

– Playing Live Poker in Vermont –

   Live Poker Legislation in Vermont

The website of the Vermont Attorney General states:

“Professional gambling is illegal in Vermont. The purpose of the gambling laws is to ensure that only nonprofit and fraternal organizations operate games of chance and to ensure that the proceeds from the games provide direct support to charitable, religious, educational, or civic undertakings.”

The specific laws prescribing the gambling ban are written in Title 13, §§2133-2143b in the Vermont Statutes. According to that section, even playing any games of chance, such as poker or dice, is punishable, not just organizing such games per se as in some other states. The punishment is either a fine of no more $200, 60 day imprisonment, or both.

The exceptions for charitable gaming is written in Title 13, §2143 with a long list of “terms and conditions” for the organizers.

The piece of legislation legalizing horse race betting, passed in 1959, can be found in Title 13, §§ 601, et seq. For licencing and regulating the organizers of such events, the Vermont Racing Commission was created.

  Live Poker Venues in Vermont

As we wrote above many times, there is no commercial casino or card room where you could play poker legally in Vermont. The closest thing we could find is the Country Club of Vermont in Waterbury, VT hosting a $100 No Limit Hold’em charity tournament – in February 2013…

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Vermont –

  Online Poker in Vermont

Given the state of land based gambling Vermont, it’s no surprise that online games of chance, including poker, aren’t legal either.

While there is no specific legislation mentioning online poker, this state is in a way different from the others: as we wrote above, Vermont does have a law outlawing any gambling put on by for-profit organizations. So, regardless of the federal laws, online poker would need to be granted a special exemption from that prohibition, which is very unlikely as of now.

However, there hasn’t been any news about the state law enforcement going after some poker apps that use the sweepstakes model, such as PokerBROS or Global Poker. Americas Cardroom, an unregulated offshore poker site operating from Costa Rica, has not been targeted yet either. So it seems that the choices are pretty much the same for online poker players in Vermont as for players in most other places in the United States.