Here I List The Very Worst US States To Live In If You Love Poker!
Around the time that State constitutions were being drawn up and Statutes put into place – the prevailing mood was conservative, religious and – well – anti-gambling. For this reason most State law books have a blanket ban on all forms of gambling, then specific carve-outs for those forms of gaming that they allow.
Except some States never modernized their laws at all…
There are still several States including Tennessee, South Carolina and New Hampshire who have the old laws from a bygone puritanical age still in place.
Still others have actively decided to become anti-gambling, and have strengthened their laws over the years. This page rounds up the very worst places to live for poker players in the US – whether you enjoy live poker, social games, or you play online.
The HTG Top 10 Worst States For Poker Fans
There are no casinos in Hawaii, with the nearest poker card room 4800 miles away in California. The only legal poker format here is social home games. If anyone profits from these games – by raking pots, charging entry fees or even selling a drink to the players – then you can expect a bust very quickly. No bar leagues or even charity poker nights take place here either.
This is usually the first State people think of when it comes to the prohibition of gambling. There are certainly restrictions, however Utah is not completely dry. You can enjoy free entry bar leagues here with (small) real prizes. With Nevada next door, many people travel 2 hours west from Salt Lake City to the town of Wendover – where there are casinos waiting. Home games are a no-no for poker fans here, and there is specific legislation banning gambling on the internet, which does include poker.
The original State laws are still very much in place in Tennessee, blanket banning all games involving some element of chance. There are no casinos at all here, and social home games are not allowed either. This makes freeroll bar leagues the only poker game around. The only saving grace for residents of Tennessee is that there are a lot of poker card rooms over the border in neighboring Mississippi.
If you want to gamble at all in New Hampshire, it has to be for Charity. This State does not have a single casino, either State-licensed or Tribal. There are no social home-games allowed here, and bar-league type games only run for good causes. You’ll need to cross State borders to get a game, and with Connecticut offering their famous tribal casinos (Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun) and Massachusetts in the process of building their first licensed venues – you should be able to get a good game.
For many years, Rhode Island watched as potential gambling tax revenue happily travelled across the border into Connecticut. Finally they opened their own casino, though the bad news for poker fans is that this does not contain a card room. With no home-games allowed here, the only alternative is to join a bar league game with no buy-in. Or play at offshore internet poker sites.
One of the most conservative States when it comes to gambling, Georgia do not have a single casino. There are casino cruises running from the coast here (opening the tables once the boats get into international waters), though these do not spread poker games. Home-games are also banned, so again bar freerolls or offshore internet poker sites are the only options. Fortunately, there is plenty of poker action to the South in the Jacksonville area of Florida.
There are some tribal casinos in Idaho, though they are not allowed to offer table games, including poker. With social games illegal and a distinct lack of bar leagues or charity poker games operating here – Idaho can be considered as a dry State when it comes to poker action. Your best bet here is to go West to Oregon or Washington State – where you’ll find plenty of legal card rooms.
Another completely dry State when it comes to poker action. You will not find a single card room or casino in South Carolina – and with the closest casino a considerable distance, a vacation is really in order to find any action at all. Social (both home and bar league games) and charity poker are not allowed. Internet poker is considered banned under the pre-computer age Statutes, though with so few alternates, many SC residents do enjoy games at offshore internet poker sites.
Like New Hampshire, it is either a charity game or not happening at all in Vermont. There are no casinos here, and real money poker home games are not permitted either. Freeroll bar leagues and charity games are not exactly big tests of poker skill – though since you will not find any alternatives, you might as well jump on in. Connecticut’s mega-casinos and new developments planned in up State New York are alternatives for those able to travel.
No casino card rooms operate in this State – so you can’t play a hand of Omaha in the City of Omaha! Home games are also against the law here (or at least have no specific carve-out from the general ban). This leaves the free to enter bar tournaments as the only game around, along with the grey area of internet poker at offshore poker sites. Iowa step in help, with a huge casino just over the border to the East at Council Bluffs.
While internet poker games are considered illegal under the old wording of the State laws in many places. This does not stop tens of thousands of players meeting at offshore US friendly poker sites every week for some fantastic action.
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