Online Poker in Virginia – Is It Legal?

Poker players in Virginia are in the same boat as most of the country in 2024: Waiting for the legalization of online poker. 

Sports betting is legal in Virginia. There is a fully operational land-based casino now with Rivers Casino Portsmouth, which has a poker room. But those online poker players seeking an online casino with a variety of online gaming options are still left waiting for the laws to change.

The good news is you do not have to wait to play online poker in Virginia. You just have to join Virginia betting sites located offshore, and you will be able to play a variety of online poker games for real money there. 

In this guide, we show you the best sites to join, what makes them the best, and how to get started today enjoying your favorite poker games online. 

Table of Contents

Our Top-Rated Online Poker Sites for 2024

In going through our reviews, we came up with the best online poker sites for Virginia players with an emphasis on sites that have a poker room and not just video poker. These online poker operators are all located offshore, but they do accept Virginia residents.

  1. Bovada – Has a vast selection of betting options with flawless mobile operations.
  2. BetOnline – Offers same-day payouts and opinionated lines on hundreds of events.
  3. Everygame – Offers a variety of bonus promotions
  4. SportsBetting – Deep betting platform

Can you legally play poker online in Virginia?

No, as of 2024, online poker is not legal in Virginia. Only sports betting, daily fantasy sports and horse racing have been made legal by law so far. This could change soon, but the good news is you can join an offshore online poker platform where the legal gambling age is just 18. It is not illegal for you to join those sites to play online poker from Virginia.

You also have land-based casinos to enjoy poker in person in Virginia. More forms of gambling are slowly becoming legal in the state, so have patience. 

Comparison of the Top Virginia Poker Sites

Dive into our in-depth reviews

Below are our detailed reviews for the top four Virginia poker sites. After combing through the entire online poker market, here are the top operators as reviewed by our experts. 

1. Bovada: Best Poker Tournaments

Bovada

Established 2011

Visit Bovada
9.9
Best For
Mobile Bettor 9.0
Trust 9.9/10
Banking 8.6/10
Bonuses 8.8/10
Odds 8.9/10
Customer Service 9/10
Betting Limits 9.8/10
CURRENT PROMOTION
$750 Cash Bonus

Key Features:

If you want to play against the most players you can, you want to choose Bovada. It runs on the PaiWangLuo Poker Network, which has the No. 1 traffic ranking for online poker sites that accept American users.

Bovada has a loaded tournament schedule with the ability to offer huge prizes. The largest one is the $150K Guaranteed, which happens every Sunday. There are also Jackpot Sit & Go tournaments with $120,000 as the top prize. There are also plenty of cash games to play after you have downloaded the poker software on Bovada to get started. They have all the popular variants of games, including Texas Hold’em and Omaha.

A key feature found at Bovada is the ability to play anonymously at tables to hide your playing style and strategy. This incognito mode can be a huge advantage to skilled poker players. 

Bovada also has some video poker games to go along with other slots, table games, roulette, and more in the casino section. The sportsbook is also one of the best, especially for prop betting and parlay building.

Bovada currently offers new users a Poker Welcome Bonus worth as much as $500. It is a 100% match of your initial deposit when you use the Bovada bonus code PWB500.

2. BetOnline: Wide Variety of Poker Games

BetOnline

Established 2001

Visit BetOnline
9.8
Best For
Bonus Hunter 8.5
Trust 9.8/10
Banking 8.6/10
Bonuses 8.8/10
Odds 9.2/10
Customer Service 9/10
Betting Limits 9.8/10
CURRENT PROMOTION
50% Free Play

Key Features:

BetOnline is known for having the largest selection of casino gambling, and that includes the poker section that is only rivaled by Bovada. BetOnline, SportsBetting and Tiger Gaming run on the Chico Poker Network, which is No. 3 in American traffic for online poker players. 

You get many tournaments to choose from at BetOnline, and you can even suggest your own ideas for a tournament on the site. They have games that are good for players of all experience levels, and they also have tournaments more geared towards experienced high rollers. You just have to find the game that suits you best.

Video poker fans will also appreciate the vast selection in the casino section as they have many of the industry standards there, including Aces & Faces and Jacks or Better. No site has more slot games to choose from.

BetOnline also offers bad beat jackpots where every player at the table can win under certain conditions. They currently have a welcome offer for poker players who can get up to $1,000 as a 100% deposit match by using BetOnline promo codes. Your bonus funds are released in $5 increments as you earn $50 in rake.

3. Everygame: Great Poker Software

Everygame

Established 1996

Visit Everygame
9.5
Best For
Niche Sports Fan 8.2
Trust 9.5/10
Banking 8.6/10
Bonuses 8.8/10
Odds 8.5/10
Customer Service 8.6/10
Betting Limits 9.8/10
CURRENT PROMOTION
100% Cash Bonus

Key Features:

Everygame is Antigua’s best online casino site. It has a wide selection of sports betting markets to choose from, but the real strength of the site is in the poker software and casino section, where the superior site design shines best.

If you want a poker or casino experience that sounds and feels closer to the real thing, then you will enjoy Everygame. Like with Bovada and BetOnline, you can download poker software to play in tournaments and cash games. They are not as high-traffic as those more popular sites, but this could be a good thing if you are just sharpening your skills with poker. 

The user interface is excellent and you can choose from Sundowner tournaments to cash games that play the most popular poker variants (Omaha and Texas Hold’em).

Everygame arguably has the best video poker section, and all the games in the casino have free-to-try versions available. But with over a dozen deposit methods available, you should have no problem using money on this online casino.

Everygame will allow you 90 days to spend your bonus money on the site, which is better than the standard 14 to 30 days. You also get the highest rakeback rate at Everygame at 36%. The more you play poker on the site, the more rakeback you earn. You can also take advantage of an Everygame promo code to unlock additional perks.

4. SportsBetting.ag: Excellent Bonuses and Promotions for Poker

SportsBetting

Established 2002

Visit SportsBetting
9.3
Best For
Bonus Hunter 8.8
Trust 9.3/10
Banking 8.6/10
Bonuses 8.8/10
Odds 9.2/10
Customer Service 8.6/10
Betting Limits 9.8/10
CURRENT PROMOTION
100% Free Play

Key Features:

The good news is SportsBetting mimics the BetOnline Casino, so you can expect hundreds of slot machines and table games to choose from. You still get the fast payouts and high limits too, and the sportsbook is loaded with unique promos.

The poker sections are also similar, with the ability to download software (PC and Mac versions available) to play in poker tournaments and cash games on the No. 3 poker network for American users. Enjoy those Sit & Go tournaments and the bad-beat jackpots like at BetOnline. 

New users at SportsBetting can get up to $1,000 in bonus funds as a 100% match of your first deposit. You get $5 of your bonus released for every $50 earned in rake.

Our Rating Methodology

Our team of experts have decades of experience

In judging the best offshore poker sites, we thought it was really important for them to offer a wide variety of poker games and not just video poker variants. Not many of these sites have poker rooms, so the ones that do get top priority.

Beyond the poker and online casino game offerings, we also focused on the usual hallmarks of a great online gambling experience: generous bonuses, strong customer service, a variety of banking methods, and a good mobile site. 

Virginia’s History of Gambling Laws

track virginia gambling updates

While online poker is still not legal in Virginia and most of the United States, there have been recent developments that make one think it could only be a matter of time before there is gambling expansion to legalize it. In 1973, Virginia allowed charitable gaming at bingo halls. By 1987, the state lottery was approved, and a few years later, pari-mutuel horse wagering was allowed.

Electronic bingo machines that play like slot machines were first allowed in 2007 in the state. Things really started changing for the good in 2018 when sports betting was on the table again after PASPA was overturned by the Supreme Court. While Virginia would not pass sports betting legislation until 2020, during that time they introduced the ability to buy lottery tickets online and play iLottery instant win games online in 2020 during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, popular retail sportsbooks went through the state licensing process to be ready to launch in January 2021. Just before that, voters in four cities (Danville, Portsmouth, Bristol and Norfolk) approved the construction of casinos. The first one, Rivers Casino Portsmouth, opened at its permanent location in January 2023. It has a poker room, so if you want to play poker in person in Virginia, you now have a brick-and-mortar casino to do it at with more options coming by 2025. 

The addition of casinos is good, because in-person poker has been very contested in the state. In 2020, Virginia’s General Assembly legalized charitable Texas Hold’em poker tournaments, but there have been disputes over how to regulate this and if it should even be allowed in the state. The Beach Poker Room in Virginia Beach was hosting live poker games, but it has been closed multiple times since 2020 as the disputes wage on. This is why having a consistent poker room open in the casinos is a good sign for the future of poker playing in Virginia.

But until online poker is passed with gambling legislation, your best bet is to join reputable offshore casinos to play poker online. 

Timeline of Gambling in VA

The following timeline shows the key events involving casino and poker gaming in the state of Virginia: 

  • January 2023: Rivers Casino Portsmouth opens as Virginia’s first permanent land-based casino, and it includes a poker room.
  • July 2022: A temporary casino location opens for the Bristol Casino with a permanent building planned to open in summer 2024.
  • January 2021: Online sports betting kicks off in Virginia with several licensed online sportsbooks available.
  • November 2020: Voters in Richmond reject a proposal to build a casino in the city, but voters in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth all approve their casino construction. 
  • 2020: The General Assembly of Virginia approves charitable Texas Hold’em Poker tournaments, and The Beach Poker Room in Virginia Beach opens to host live poker tournaments. 
  • 2020: A legalsports betting bill is approved and signed by Gov. Ralph Northam. iLottery games are launched on the Virginia Lottery site, allowing users to play casino-style games for real money.
  • 2018: A mobile app launches, letting Virginians buy lottery tickets online.
  • 2007: Electronic bingo machines, similar to slot machines, are permitted in the state.
  • 1996: Charitable gaming oversight is now overseen by the state rather than local law. 
  • 1987: By a referendum, voters support a state lottery with the first ticket sold in 1988.
  • 1973: Charitable gambling is legalized in Virginia. 

Key Features of Virginia’s Best Online Poker Sites

In the following sections, we look at the key features that make our top-ranked online poker sites the best choices for your online gambling needs.

Competitive Gambling Odds

With casino sites, we just want to see competitive odds across the board. That means poker tournaments with reasonable entry fees. Table games with solid limits (minimum and maximum). But most of the difference can be made up at the sportsbook where some online operators offer reduced juice on all or select markets. 

Multiple Betting Markets Available

Variety is the key to the most quality experiences at an online casino. If you offer the most gambling options possible, that makes it more likely the customer will keep using that site instead of taking their business elsewhere.

For the poker room, we want to see a wide variety of tournaments and cash games, and some sites like BetOnline even allow poker players to suggest tournament ideas. In the sports betting market, we want a wide variety of sports and leagues from around the world, and the ability to do parlays, round robins, and more. In the casino section, we want a wide array of table games, slots, and specialty games. 

Wide Variety of Banking Methods

It is always crucial to have a wide variety of banking methods as users today have so many choices for their deposit and withdrawal options:

  • Traditional methods: credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers, checks
  • Newer methods: eWallets, crypto (Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, etc.)

Generous Poker Bonuses & Other Promos

New users can get a poker sign-up offer by (usually) entering a promo code when they make their first deposit. Just keep in mind these bonus funds usually are not released until you play a certain amount of poker on the site. But beyond the poker bonuses for new users, we like to see ongoing promos for loyal customers, including reload bonuses, risk-free bets, and a good reward program or refer-a-friend program. 

Live Dealers Available

One of the coolest features at an online casino is the ability to see a live dealer deal the cards for blackjack or spin the roulette wheel live via video chat. You can also usually communicate with the dealer via text. This is a nice addition to the electronic game offerings. 

High-Quality User Interface

The best online gambling sites for poker will have a high-quality user interface that makes it simple to deposit money, get into the poker room and find your favorite games, and take advantage of the promotions offered at the site. We also want online casino games and poker games that are easy to change the bet amount on the fly. 

Mobile Site Quality

With the poker app you can download at the sites that offer poker tournaments, we look for a quality experience that is lag free, has good graphics and is easy to navigate, plus, you should be able to withdraw your winnings with ease. This should all be done well on a mobile app and not just a desktop computer, which you can also download the poker apps for.

Multiple Customer Service Options

The best online casinos will have helpful customer service that is offered 24/7 with a variety of contact options: emails, a phone number, the ability to send a message through the site with attachments, and live chat with an agent. 

Security & Safety Features

When trying to win money online with casino sites, you have to enter your personal and financial info on these sites. That makes it extra important that they have the latest security features to ensure that your connection is secure and your data is protected. We trust the sites we recommend because of their experience and longstanding reputation in the industry.

Poker Games Available at Virginia Poker Sites

With online poker games, you will find many different variants and game types. Many people like Texas Hold’em and Omaha, but you also have different game speeds and types, including cash games, tournaments, bad beat jackpots, and Sit & Go games. We look at these poker types in the next sections. 

Cash Games

Cash games in poker are different from tournaments in that you are getting an amount in chips equal to what you buy in. In a tournament, you could just pay the entry fee and everyone is given the same amount of chips, and the game goes on until there is a winner, but with cash games, you can come and go while putting in more money when you wish.

This gives players with big bankrolls an advantage, but cash games are very good in helping you become a better player as players get more loose and risky with their decision-making in cash games. It will sharpen your skills for tournament play. 

Sit & Go Games

A Sit & Go game is a special type of tournament that has no set start time like scheduled tournaments have. Instead, the Sit & Go game starts once a certain number of players sign up for a table. These are good games for beginners as they do not cost much to enter and are over relatively quickly. You will not generally win as much as you can with cash games, but some of these tournaments could have 50-plus people for a decent Jackpot Sit & Go tournament. 

Multi-Table Tournaments

A multi-table tournament (MTT) is one of the most popular poker tournaments in the world of online casino gambling. Everyone in the tournament buys in at the same price. Once players start getting eliminated, the remaining players are shuffled around to fill the remaining tables. Eventually, the tournament gets to the final table where the last player wins the pot. With so many players at the start, you can enter with a small amount and leave with a huge win if you are good enough to pull it off. Just keep in mind these can take a long time to complete. You can also play multiple MTTs at the same time.

Jackpot Games

At sites like BetOnline and SportsBetting, you can play Bad Beat Jackpot Games. These are paid out when a minimum hand of Four of a Kind 2’s loses to a higher-ranking hand like a Straight Flush or Four of a Kind 3’s. When that bad beat happens, everyone at the table gets a share of the jackpot bonus.

Speed Poker

Speed poker is a newer type of game that has been made popular by online poker. You can be playing Texas Hold’em but players may only have 15 seconds to act or their hand is ruled dead, hence the name “speed” as games move quickly. You also will have a fast fold option to get out of a game quicker instead of waiting.

Straddle

In poker cash games, a straddle is an optional blind bet. It must be done before you see any of your cards. Think of it as a third blind bet as the player will make it after the big blind and small blind are posted. But it is entirely optional to do.

How to Create an Online Poker Account in Virginia

steps to get started

For those new to online casino gaming, we have a quick guide to walk you through the simple registration process. It should be roughly the same experience no matter which site you choose to join for your poker needs.

Step 1. Sign-Up With an Online Poker Site

Head to the site of the online casino you want to join to play poker. You will have to go into the account creation link by clicking “join now” or “register” or something to that effect. One of your first tasks will be to give your new account a password that is unique to only this site as you do not want to share it elsewhere. 

Step 2. Verify Your Account Details

Every account needs to be verified, so you need to be accurate in entering your name, email, address and a phone number you can be reached at.

Step 3. Deposit Funds

Before depositing funds to your account, make sure to read up about the poker sign-up offer or other welcome bonuses for new users. This is a one-time thing that will often be based on the size of your first deposit, so read that to make sure you are depositing what you need to, and to see if there is a promo code associated with this bonus. 

Once you are ready to make that deposit, head to the deposit section and use your preferred method of deposit to complete it and fund your account. 

Step 4. Enjoy Playing Poker

Now your account is logged in and has money. Before you can play poker, sites like Bovada, BetOnline, and Everygame will usually ask you to download poker software to get the best enjoyment out of the poker offering. This is a quick process, and the software is free and easy to install.

Once you do that, you will be ready to hit the poker rooms. Remember to start small and get used to the layout of the rooms and games first before making bigger wagers. 

Advantages of Playing Online Poker in Virginia

With a lack of real-money poker sites legalized in Virginia, your best bet is to play online poker through an offshore site. These sites will accept Virginia users, the sign-up process is simple, and you can win real money after just downloading some software and making a deposit on your account. 

Once inside, you can play a variety of tournaments or cash games to get comfortable with the way the game works online. You may find online casino gaming suits you better than going to a real-life poker room. It certainly saves on gas money, and you can do it any time of day. You will also get access to more banking methods and generous bonuses than you would get at a land-based poker room. 

FAQs – Legality of Online Poker in Virginia

Yes, forms of legal online gambling in Virginia include sports betting, daily fantasy sports, horse racing, and lottery games. Not included as of 2024 in the legal forms are poker and other online casino games like slots and table games.

You can choose from a wide variety of retail sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings, any horse racing site like TwinSpires or TVG, and the Virginia Lottery site has instant win games. For casino games, you should try offshore sites like the ones we reviewed earlier.

 

No, online poker along with other casino gambling is not legal yet in the state of Virginia. This could change in the near future with the success of online sports betting and lottery games, but as of 2023, online poker is not legal.

 

Since online poker is not legal yet in Virginia as of 2023, you will have to use an offshore site with poker games like the sites we reviewed earlier in this guide. Join BetOnline, Bovada, Everygame or SportsBetting if you want to win real money playing online poker in Virginia.

You can play the DraftKings Sportsbook but not the DraftKings Casino. Basically, retail sportsbooks are fair game, any horse racing site (TwinSpires, TVG) is fine, but if you want to play casino-style games, your closest legal option is the Virginia Lottery app.

 

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