Poker in West Virginia

Introduction

Population: 1,792,000

Capital: Charleston

Currency: United States Dollar

Time Zone: UTC-5

State Name Abbreviation: WV

Casinos with Poker

  • Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
  • The Greenbrier Resort
  • Mardi Gras Casino & Resort

Recently, the small Appalachian state of West Virginia made headlines in the national poker news media in the US.

That is because in February 2019, they became the 5th state in the Union to legalize online poker – after Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. However, West Virginian poker fans can’t play their favorite card game on the internet just yet.

In July 2020, DraftKings Casino was the first online casino to launch in the state. They’re partnering with the land-based Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races – according to the law, only land casinos based in West Virginia can apply for online licences.

However, DraftKings does not offer online poker. Nor does the other online casino that has already gone live, BetMGM WV (who are partnered with The Greenbrier). So, the earliest West Virginians can expect to play poker online at last is mid 2021.

As for live poker, a West Virginia location actually holds a poker world record, according to the media franchise Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, a poker game lasted a total of 14 years straight at the Dunglen Hotel in Thurmond, WV – longer than any other ever. The historic town, once a flourishing coal mining center, now is only home to just 5 residents. The Dunglen Hotel opened in 1901 and sadly was burnt down by arsonists in 1930.

Famous West Virginian Poker Players

Jason Koon was born in Weston, West Virginia. He is one of the most successful high rollers in the world, having cashed for $31.1 million in live tournaments around the world. Needless to say, he tops the West Virginia all time money list on Hendon.

In May 2018, he took down the Triton HK$1,000,000 Short Deck Hold’em tournament in Montenegro. He won $3.580 million, which is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date. He’s also appeared on live streamed super high stakes cash games put on by PokerGO’s Poker After Dark and Triton Poker.

William Lee Childs Jr. is second on the list with $1.528 million in career earnings. He’s best known for making the final table in the 2007 WSOP Main Event, eventually taking 7th place for $705,229.

 

– Playing Live Poker in West Virginia –

   Live Poker Legislation in West Virginia

The relevant piece of legislation pertaining to land based gambling in effect today can be found in Chapter 29 Article 25 of the West Virginia Code. The article bears the title “Authorization of limited gaming facility; findings; intent”. Licencing and regulation are under the purview of the West Virginia Lottery Commission.

Land casinos have been legal in the state since 2007. However, legal gambling goes even further back – betting on animal races, be it horses or greyhounds, was legalized in 1931.

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  Live Poker Venues in West Virginia

Worldcasinodirectory.com lists 7 licenced casinos in West Virginia. According to the site, 5 of them have poker rooms.

The Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Charles Town, WV has a poker room running 24/7. In their cash room, they offer these games: No Limit Hold’em, Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better, and Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better. However, they don’t list the stakes for any of these games on their website – that is because the players and the staff can agree on any stakes on the spot.

They also hosted the Hollywood Poker Open annually between 2013 and 2016. There, you could play in NLHE, PLO and PLO8 events with buy-ins ranging from $125 up to an $1,115 Main Event.

You can also find poker rooms at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV where you can play $2/$5 NLHE cash and a weekly $250 NLHE tourney on Saturdays; and at the Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in Cross Lanes, WV.

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in West Virginia –

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races

The Greenbrier Resort

Mardi Gras Casino & Resort

  Online Poker in West Virginia

We’ve covered most of this topic in our introduction.

In March 2019, the West Virginia State House of Representatives and Senate both voted for the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, making all forms of gambling, including poker, legal to be played online. However, the law required that only a land casino located within the state can apply for an online gambling licence.

So far, we have two casinos partnering with gambling sites launching their WV online casinos and sportsbooks – however, neither of them offer poker.

And here’s where we bump into an issue. Online poker doesn’t generate nearly as much revenue for the operator as other casino games. That, coupled with the state’s limited population (1.8 million), makes it not very appealing for any casino to invest in a WV online poker client, even with established partners.

The best remedy for this would be if West Virginia could join in the interstate shared market between Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware (Michigan has also passed legislation to join). However, this requires further legal and logistic work. The most optimistic predictions say it could be done before the end of 2021.

In the meantime, West Virginian online poker players are in a state of limbo – while online poker is technically legal in their state, no operator is ready to offer games yet.