Poker is more than just a game. It is a part of American culture that is intertwined with the nation’s history, from the times of the early settlers through the prewar era of depression and prohibition right up to present day with the glamor of the WSOP and the easy accessibility of online poker sites.
But it’s also an activity with which certain areas of the United States have not always had a comfortable relationship. Even today, if you travel to a state like Utah or Indiana, you won’t be able to get a game of poker. Other states permit the game but only in specific premises and subject to strict limits.
Yet today, more people than ever are getting into poker, and some take the game so seriously that tournament winnings constitute their main source of income. The following states are the three best places to be if poker is an important part of your life.
Let’s start with the obvious. Las Vegas is America’s poker capital, and it is where the best players, not just in the US, but in the entire world, tend to hang their hats. At the last count, there were more than 60 poker rooms across the state of Nevada. When you consider that there is so much nothing across large swathes of the state, that means they are about as ubiquitous as 7-Elevens in urban areas.
Las Vegas hosts the biggest WSOP tournaments, but every day, there are more than a dozen big money games taking place up and down the strip. Nevada is also the place to find the highest volume of tournaments with more modest buy-ins, too, for those who are just finding their way in the pro game.
The inclusion of the sunshine state might surprise some. California is notorious for is complex and sometimes opaque rules regarding different aspects of gambling. We won’t go deeply into the poker laws here – if you want to do that, the people at Legal US Poker Sites provide a useful guide at https://www.legaluspokersites.com/state-laws/california/.
Suffice it to say that with almost 100 licensed poker rooms and more than 60 tribal casinos, there are more poker games played in California on any given day of the year than in any other US state.
Atlantic City, of course, forms the Yin to Sin City’s Yang. But while the east coast resort has had some torrid times over the past decade or two, the poker scene has been second to none since the moment it was legalized in 1993. This was when the Trump Taj Mahal launched its 50-table facility to place itself at the center of the poker playing universe.
Yet it is in online poker that New Jersey has really made a name for itself. It was as pioneering in this area as it was in sports betting four years later. The state launched a legal and regulated online poker market way back in 2013.