Online Poker in Maryland – Is It Legal?
Poker is one of America’s oldest and most popular forms of gambling. In this age of technology, it is no surprise people want to play online poker games using their smartphones or favorite mobile device. The chance to win real money makes it even more enticing.
But as of 2023, very few states have been able to fully legalize online poker. Maryland, with the presence of four brick-and-mortar casinos with excellent poker rooms, is clearly a historically gambling-friendly state. However, it has yet to introduce any online poker legislation or make any moves toward changing these gambling laws.
Fortunately, for those living in Maryland, you do have online poker options. You just have to join an offshore sportsbook where you will be able to play real money games, as well as other types of gambling, like online sports betting and online horse betting.
Which online betting sites should you join? How do they work? Can you get in trouble for playing at offshore sites in Maryland? We answer these questions and more in this guide to help you get started as a card player and start raking in those poker winnings.
Maryland Betting Guides
We offer a variety of online betting guides for Maryland bettors that are looking for more ways to gamble online.
The Best Maryland Online Poker Sites
Seemingly every day, new internet poker sites spring up across the web, which can make it challenging to find one that is reputable and worth your time. Fortunately, we have reviewed them all and identified the top five offshore sportsbooks for poker players in Maryland.
- Bovada – More players to compete against than any site
- BetOnline – Great all-around casino for Maryland players
- Heritage Sports – Try all poker and casino games for free
- Everygame – Free downloadable poker software
- BetAnySports – Play your favorite lottery drawings on your phone
Maryland Online Poker Sites Reviewed
We would still encourage you to try any of the five online betting sites we have chosen for this guide, but here are five reviews to further give you an idea of which one will suit you the best as a Maryland poker player.
1. Bovada: America’s Busiest Poker Site and More
Bovada is one of Costa Rica’s most well-known online casinos thanks in part to its popular poker room, which runs on the PaiWangLuo Poker Network. No network has more American users playing online poker.
That is why you can expect so many big tournaments to enter for real money prizes at Bovada. There are multi-table tournaments and single-table tournaments. The latter use the Sit-and-Go format. You can also play a Jackpot Sit-and-Go that features three players, and the winner gets to leave with 1000x their buy-in.
Bovada also has plenty of casino games, including slots, video poker, and table games. The sportsbook is also one of the best in the business for building parlays for a wide array of leagues. Don’t forget to check out the racebook as well.
Bovada’s poker welcome bonus can help you earn up to $500 after your first deposit. You can release the bonus in $5 increments by playing more poker on the site. If you are using the site on your desktop, you will have to download poker software before you can play. If you are using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, then you can just visit the mobile site and play without any download necessary.
- Choose from multiple poker tournaments
- Up to $500 in Poker Welcome Bonus
- Anonymous tables help you play incognito
- Also great for sports betting and horse racing
- Get a bigger bonus from BetOnline
- Fewer video poker choices than BetOnline and Everygame
2. BetOnline: Great Online Poker Tournaments
BetOnline offers one of the best online poker rooms in the world as it runs on the Chico Poker Network, which ranks third in American traffic. After you download the poker software to your desktop or favorite mobile device, you are ready to enjoy poker tournaments utilizing many different variants of poker games.
You can play for Progressive Bounties or enter the Sunday Majors each week. There is a $1 Million Sit & Go tournament the site advertises where you and two other players could be playing for the right to split $1 million, but the fine print shows that the chances of this happening are one in a million. However, that still says there is a chance. Users can also give feedback for their own tournament ideas.
The poker welcome bonus offer is legit with up to $1,000 in matching 100% of your first deposit. You get $5 in bonus for every $50 in rake played within 30 days of accepting promo.
- Large welcome bonuses
- Great selection of single and multi-hand video poker
- Bad beat jackpot promotion
- Very fast payouts
- Request your own tournament idea
- Only No. 3 in online traffic for American poker players
- Bovada users don’t have to download software on phone to play poker
3. Heritage Sports: Try Video Poker for Free
Heritage Sports is a Costa Rica-based online casino that has been around since 2001. It used to be invite-only, but the demand grew and they now allow anyone to join, including users in Maryland as this site is great for North American players looking to join their first offshore site to gamble.
Unlike our top three poker choices, Heritage Sports does not have downloadable poker software or a poker room for tournament play. They do offer 12 video poker games, including some of the most famous games like Deuces Wild and Oasis Poker. The nicest thing about the casino is every game can be played for free as demo versions, allowing you to test them out and get used to how they work before you wager real money. This can allow you to practice before trying your hand at video poker for real cash winnings.
If you do win money, you can expect timely payouts through a variety of payment methods. The real value at Heritage Sports comes with the sportsbook and live betting markets, but for fans of video poker who also want a strong sports betting experience, Heritage Sports is going to be right up your alley. Poker tournament players will prefer Bovada, BetOnline, and Everygame.
- Your eighth deposit is on the house
- Try demo versions of every casino game, including video poker variants
- One of the best site designs (navigation, color scheme, speed, etc.)
- Only video poker is available (no tournaments)
- Welcome bonuses are smaller than most in the industry
4. Everygame: Play Poker in Style
If you want the best-looking site to play online poker, your choice is the Antigua-based Everygame. You can download software and start playing poker on your favorite device. The network isn’t as heavily trafficked with American users as our top two choices, but you can play either cash games, including the popular Omaha and Texas Hold’em styles, or enter tournaments here. All players can play from low stakes (2-to-4 cents) up to no-limit high rollers.
Everygame also offers considerably more video poker options than the competition, and they run on one of the smoothest interfaces in the game. They also have plenty of video slots and table games to enjoy.
The sportsbook is not what Everygame is known for, but it is an adequate one with plenty of different markets and options for live betting.
New users can expect a generous welcome bonus to get started in the poker room. Your first deposit will be matched at 200% (up to $1,000), and you will also receive 25 free spins in the casino. The bonus also lasts for 90 days, triple what the competition usually offers (30 days).
- Generous welcome bonus (200% match)
- Best rakeback rate (36%)
- Great graphics all throughout site
- Better video poker section than Bovada and BetOnline
- Deep library of casino games
- Plays on smaller network than Bovada and BetOnline
- Sportsbook isn’t as good as Bovada and BetOnline
5. BetAnySports: Poker and Every Sport
BetAnySports is an A-rated online casino from Costa Rica. Poker players should know that the site does not hold tournaments, but inside you will find access to seven different casinos, each of which has a unique collection of Vegas-style casino games.
For example, the Classic Casino includes four popular poker variants: Let it Ride Poker, Pai Gow Poker, Stud Poker, and Three Card Poker. It also has six video poker games, including Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better. You can also find 3D poker games on the 3D Casino.
The lack of poker tournaments may be disappointing, but you could argue that BetAnySports does video poker better than Bovada and BetOnline. The sportsbook is also one of the best for reduced juice (-105 lines) and parlays. BetAnySports is also the only option to play state lottery drawings from various states, but Maryland is unfortunately not one of the ones included. Still, if you ever wanted to bet on your favorite number in Pennsylvania or Florida, you have that choice here, and with 80% better payouts too.
- Try seven different casinos, including video poker games
- Bet on state lotteries from the comfort of your home
- 24/7 customer support with live chat option
- Good cash-back programs
- Only video poker is offered, so tournament players are out of luck
- Site isn’t as flashy as Everygame or other competitors
Is online poker legal in Maryland?
No, playing poker for real money online is not legal in The Old Line State due to the state’s definition of gambling under state law. While there are some types of gambling that are legal online in Maryland, online casino games, poker included, are not one of them as of 2023.
So, if you want to play online poker for real money in Maryland, your top choice (other than visiting the handful of land-based casinos) is to use an offshore sportsbook such as the ones we just reviewed.
By being offshore, these sites only need to follow the laws in their local jurisdictions. With most being in Costa Rica, it is legal there to do online casino gambling. They do not need to be regulated by the state of Maryland or any U.S. territory.
This allows them to offer a wide range of real money games online, including all of the most popular poker games, blackjack, roulette, slots, and more. These online gambling sites also offer online sports betting, which is what originally made them popular stateside.
Of course, to engage in any online gambling option, with offshore poker sites or commercial casinos, you will need to be of the legal gambling age. This is 18 for most circumstances, but it is 21 in retail casinos where alcohol is served.
Are other forms of online gambling legal in Maryland?
Yes, there have been recent developments to give Maryland users a more robust online gambling experience. While online horse betting has been legal for years, in 2021 it became legal in Maryland to bet on sports as well.
But since sports betting is new to the state, things have been slow in rolling out. Retail sports betting is already thriving, as is Daily Fantasy Sports, but mobile sports betting is lagging behind. The same is true for online casino gambling.
But Maryland is unique in that you can subscribe to the lottery and play your numbers online. You can subscribe for up to 52 weeks and take part in four different games: Cash4Life, Multi-Match, Mega Millions, and Powerball.
Those seeking an online casino experience without the wait usually use offshore casinos, like the ones we’ve reviewed here. You can play real money poker games, online slots and even play live dealer games.
Maryland Poker Laws
We just established that online poker games are not legal in Maryland, but what about video poker games against A.I. or just hosting a casual poker game in your own residence? We look at the laws surrounding those forms of poker below.
Fans of video slot games will likely appreciate the simplicity of video poker, a different way of enjoying online poker. Like video slots, these games use a random number generator (RNG) each round to produce the results.
There is less skill involved with winning at video poker, and on games like Aces & Faces or Deuces Wild, you can double your winning hand by drawing a higher card than the dealer.
These video poker games are considered online gambling, which is not legal in Maryland. However, these video poker games can be found on just about any online casino, including Bovada and BetOnline. You can even try them for free on Heritage Sports.
Believe it or not, but as recently as 2016, it was not legal for Maryland residents to host a poker game in their own homes. Casual poker players could have been fined or even put in prison for a year if doing so.
Fortunately, bill HB127 was passed in 2016 to legalize home poker games as long as they meet a few conditions:
- The game conductor is at least 21 years of age.
- The game is limited to a card game or mah jong.
- The game is conducted in a person’s residence or at the property of a residence reserved for people 55 years or older.
- The game does not allow a person to benefit financially in any way other than the winnings earned from being a player in the game (i.e. no cover fee to join the game).
- You must have a preexisting social relationship with the other players (i.e. the game is not open to any random casual poker player).
- The game will not be advertised or promoted publicly.
- No gaming device connected to the internet will be used as part of the game.
- The total amount of money (or equivalent prize) cannot exceed $1,000 in any 24-hour period.
The Future of Maryland Poker Laws
There is growing optimism that Maryland will eventually legalize online poker sites and other online casino gambling. Back in 2012, Maryland was one of the earliest states to recognize Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) as legal. The bill in 2016 to legalize home poker games was another step in the right direction.
Then in 2020, the vote to allow online sports betting in the state was a huge win for gambling advocates. Soon, you will see FanDuel and DraftKings operating their sportsbooks in Maryland. You can already visit the land-based casinos in the state and make bets with sportsbooks such as FanDuel and BetMGM. The mobile apps will be there soon.
Maryland is a state where voters largely determine if gambling will be approved or not. Since voters came out in support of legal sports betting in 2020, it could only be a matter of time before they act on poker and other casino games as well. But at this current time, there is no bill on record to make online poker a reality in Maryland.
That is why your best option, for now, is to join an offshore sportsbook such as Bovada, BetOnline, or Heritage Sports to play poker and satisfy your other gambling needs. These online betting sites are reputable and trustworthy to join, and the chances of you getting in real trouble for using them in Maryland are slim to none.
From a legal standpoint, what Maryland (and most of the other 49 states) really look down on is when someone tries to operate their own sportsbook or poker game when they are not legally regulated to do so. That is how you can get into real trouble via fines or jail time. But for anyone just looking to casually get in some games of video poker or join an online tournament, you should feel free to do that from the comfort of your own home.
Maryland Poker – Live and in Person
Not everyone enjoys playing online. Poker is also notorious for being the card game where you stare someone down and try to determine when they are bluffing and when they have a great hand. So, for that old-school experience of playing with others at a table, the state of Maryland has four very good poker options for you to visit at casinos:
Hollywood Casino Perryville (Perryville, MD)
The poker room is open daily with choices for cash games and tournaments with a schedule listed online. There are promotions such as Bad Beat payouts and free casino funds. They also offer slots, table games, sportsbook betting with Barstool, and social casino games you can play for free at home on an app.
Horseshoe Casino Baltimore (Baltimore, MD)
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Room currently has 22 tables as part of a multi-million-dollar facility in Baltimore. Play in daily tournaments or other cash games.
Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland (Hanover, MD)
A regular stop on the World Poker Tournament, this is one of the biggest poker rooms in the country with 50 tables. They also offer slots, table games, and retail sportsbook betting with FanDuel.
MGM National Harbor (Oxon Hill, MD)
You will find a large poker room on the second level of the casino floor. With 45 tables, you can enter daily tournaments and cash games. MGM National Harbor also has slots and table games, and you can bet on sports with BetMGM.
How to Deposit Online for Poker in Maryland
You cannot win real money without wagering real money. Before getting into online gaming, fund your account using one of the site’s common deposit methods:
- Credit/debit card (most take Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, etc.)
- Person 2 Person (PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, Zelle, etc.)
- Money orders
- Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin is most common, but also Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, etc.)
- Voucher or gift card
- Wire transfer
Be sure to check out the fees (when applicable) for each deposit or withdrawal method, which can always be located somewhere on the site’s help and information center. You can usually expect crypto transactions to go through the fastest without any fees.
Tips for Playing at Online Poker Sites in Maryland
For those new to online poker and any other real money games, we want to share some advice for you to have fun and success while playing in Maryland:
- Come mentally prepared – No one should expect to win all the time as poker is a game of skill and some luck. There is variance that may set you back on losing spells, but if you stick to your guns, your gut, and your knowledge of the odds, then you should do well in the long run. Just keep your ego in check and don’t go chasing losses. Sometimes, the best thing to do is call it a night and fold.
- Be a responsible bettor– Budget your monthly poker expenses with a total that you are comfortable with losing. Try building up your bankroll before you start wagering huge amounts in tournaments.
- Find your style of game – With several variants available for video poker and the types of game styles you can play in tournaments, it is up to you to discover which poker game you do best at. Not everyone loves Texas Hold ‘em the most.
- Study the numbers – Anyone can click through a video poker game and have some success at random, but to consistently be a winning player against other human players, you’ll need to study the probability of winning certain hands. There are many online resources to help you learn those odds to inform your decision-making when playing online poker.
How to Play Online Poker in Maryland
Getting started on an offshore sportsbook to play poker is an easy process. We have added a small guide to show you the steps to get you ready to play online poker in a matter of minutes. Whether you choose Bovada, BetOnline, Heritage Sports, or any other online betting site, this process works about the same at all of them.
Step 1: Visit the Web Site
Once you have chosen the site you want to sign up for, simply visit its page on your browser. There is usually a “join” or “sign up” button near the top-right corner. This will start the creation of your account.
Step 2: Register Your Account
Just enter your personal details and info to create your account and pick a password that will be hard to guess and that you can store safely. You may need to verify your email address by clicking a link after applying, and you could down the road be asked for more personal information to verify your identity to get your payments, but this is common practice among these sites.
Step 3: Fund Your Account
After creating your account and logging in for the first time, you are ready to fund your account with money using one of the various deposit methods. Be sure to read about any promotions for first deposits before you do that, because they can be very lucrative, and you may need to opt-in to them.
Step 4: Head to the Poker Section
Now you have an account with money, so you are ready to play games, including poker cash games and tournaments. Some sites will even include demo versions of games that you can play for free with a fake money balance to get used to how everything works before you start wagering real money.
FAQs – Real Money Online Poker in Maryland
In addition to using any of our five reviewed online betting sites for online casino gambling, you could choose to go to a physical casino. There are six casinos in the state, including four with live poker rooms.
There are also bingo machines at 13 locations in Anne Arundel and Calvert counties. Anyone can join the Maryland Lottery subscription service to play their numbers online in four different drawings.
You can use apps like DraftKings Sportsbook or FanDuel Sportsbook to play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in the state, or other mobile betting apps for sports wagering. For casino gambling or playing poker online you will need to use an offshore sportsbook app.
You can absolutely use Bovada as a Maryland resident. In fact, it’s one of our top picks for the best online poker gambling sites in our poker site reviews for Maryland.
Currently no. There are no tribal casinos, bingo halls or other tribal gambling venues located in the state of Maryland.
There are four commercial casinos that allow you to play in-person poker in the state. These are:
-Hollywood Casino Perryville (Perryville, MD)
-Horseshoe Casino Baltimore (Baltimore, MD)
-Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland (Hanover, MD)
-MGM National Harbor (Oxon Hill, MD)
Talk about a Rocky Mountain High. Colorado just became the seventh state since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) on May 14, 2018, to surpass $10 billion in all-time wagering. And they did it in only 32 months. The Centennial State will be added to an elite list
Online sports betting in Maryland moved at a glacial pace but after much hand-wringing and ill-conceived bureaucratic hurdles to climb, mobile wagering did finally launch last November. But now a bill has already been proposed for online gambling, or iGaming, to come to the Old-Line State. Will Maryland Roll the Dice? Despite the circuitous route
Although sports betting in California may be illegal, there is certainly always a topic to bring to the table. This time it is about former L.A. Dodger Yasiel Puig, who initially pled guilty to making false statements to federal agents regarding an illegal sports betting ring based in California. Puig has since changed his plea
The Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians has been in a legal tussle with California for almost two decades but a settlement has been reached in which their casino will be moved from state oversight to the federal National Indian Gaming Commission. The 500-member tribe has become the first in the Golden State to take this