Currency: United States Dollar ($)
Time Zone: UTC-6
State Name Abbreviation: WI
Casinos with Poker
- Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
- Oneida Casino
- Lake of the Torches Casino
- Sevenwinds Casino
In Wisconsin, a large Midwestern state by the Great Lakes, commercial casino gaming is technically still illegal. Thankfully, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 made it possible for Native American people to operate casinos on their land within the state. Currently, 26 gambling houses are in operation which are owned by 11 tribes.
The first step towards legalized gambling came in 1965 in the Badger State’s history. That was when they made sweepstakes legal, by passing an amendment to the state constitution. A sweepstake is a contest, usually run by a company as a promotion, in which prizes are awarded to randomly picked people. The next big developments in Wisconsin’s gambling history are from 2003. That was when the local government renegotiated their compacts with the casino owning tribes. They were now allowed to offer new games, stay open 24/7, and expand their premises without additional permission. In 2021, the tribal casinos got the greenlight for operating sportsbooks as well.
Thus the gambling situation in Wisconsin today is not too bad. As for poker, however, the options are rather scarce. According to Pokeratlas.com’s numbers, just 5 out of the 26 tribal casinos have poker rooms. The largest casino in the state, the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, WI is one of those four. Their poker room has 20 tables and runs 24/7 – except during the Coronavirus pandemic. They have been home to the Mid-Stakes Poker Tour events.
Famous Wisconsinite Poker Players
One of the best known figures in the poker world, Phil Hellmuth, was born in the state capital of Madison, WI.
He holds the record for the most WSOP gold bracelets ever won with 15 World Series titles. In 1989, he won the WSOP Main Event for $755,000, defeating the previous two years’ champion, Johnny Chan, heads-up for the title.
Hellmuth has cashed for $24.9 million in live tournaments during his career. He has also appeared on a number of poker TV shows, such as Poker After Dark, High Stakes Poker, and NBC National Heads-Up Championship. For his habitual outbursts at the table, he is nicknamed “the Poker Brat”.
Joe Kuether from Elm Grove, WI has $7.249 million in live tournament earnings. In January 2015, he came in 2nd in the $25,000 NLHE High Roller 8-Handed event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $1.050 million. That is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date.
He also plays online under the screen name “daPHUNNIEman” on the now defunct site Full Tilt and on PokerStars. Across those two accounts of his, he has $976,501 in online MTT winnings.
2-time WSOP gold bracelet winner and WPT commentator Tony Dunst is from Milwaukee, WI.
– Playing Live Poker in Wisconsin –
Live Poker Legislation in Wisconsin
As we mentioned in our intro, casino gaming is still illegal on a state level in Wisconsin. Statues 945.01 and 562.001 cover gambling offences in the Wisconsin Criminal Code. Alas, there is no exception for social gambling either. Technically, you could be arrested and charged for hosting a home game for your friends – although that is extremely unlikely.
However, we’ve also written in our intro that casinos on Native American reservations are completely legal in the state. So is “charitable gaming”. The regulation of these types of games is done by the Division of Gaming within the state’s Department of Administration.
Live Poker Venues in Wisconsin
The Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, WI has a 24/7 poker room. They also have a wide cash game selection.
In this card room, you can play at No Limit Hold’em tables on $1/$3, $2/$5, and $5/$~0 stakes; Limit Hold’em tables on $3/$6, $5/$10, $10/$20, $20/$40, $30/$60, $50/$100, and $100/$200 stakes; Pot Limit Omaha tables on $5/$5, $5/$10, $10/$50, and $25/$50 stakes, Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better tables on $3/$6, $4/$8, and $5/$10 stakes; 5-Card Omaha (aka “Big O”) tables on $1/$2/$5, $3/$6, $4/$8, and $5/$10 stakes; as well as 7-Card Stud on $1/$5, $2/$10, $5/$10, $10/$20 and $20/40 stakes.
Also, they have hosted the Mid-Stakes Poker Tour before, It’s tourney series which usually has just one event at each stop, which is usually a $1,100 buy-in NLHE tourney. The last time it was held at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, in November 2019, it was won by Gerald Heath from Illinois for $130,935.
The Oneida Casino in Green Bay, WI also has a poker room. According to their website, you can play Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and 7-Card Stud cash games at their tables with the lowest stakes being $2/$4. In addition, they were the first casino to offer sports betting in the state in July 2021.
You can also find some poker action at the Lake of the Torches Casino in Lac Du Flambeau, WI; and at the Sevenwinds Casino in Hayward, WI.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Wisconsin –
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
Lake of the Torches Casino
Online Poker in Wisconsin
Wisconsinite poker players aren’t as lucky as their neighbors in Michigan. While Michigan already has a licenced and regulated online poker market with multiple options, Wisconsin is far from it. The only game of chance that can be played online currently in the state is parimutuel betting – in that sense, they’re still ahead of the majority of the states in the Union.
For poker players, they are stuck with two options. They either play on real money poker apps that use the sweepstakes model, such as Global Poker or PokerBROS; or, they can chance their luck with an unregulated offshore site like Americas Cardroom.