How to Play PokerStars in the USA

How to Play PokerStars in the USA

Players all over the world can play online poker at PokerStars in some form. The PokerStars main client offers poker games around the globe, but players in some areas of the world can’t legally access the platform.

The United States sits on the list of countries that can’t legally play on the PokerStars main client. PokerStars does operate a family of US-facing sites, however, in states that have legalized online poker.

Let’s take a look at where and how to play on PokerStars’ US online poker sites:

States With Legal Online Poker

Only a handful of states offer legal, regulated online poker in the US. Federal law dictates that any state can legalize online gambling if it wishes.

While nearly half of all US states have legalized online sports betting, only a few have taken that same plunge into legal online poker. That list of states includes:

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Nevada
  • Michigan
  • Delaware
  • West Virginia (online poker launch pending)

Most of the regulated poker sites that operate in these states function as in-state-only platforms. PokerStars runs three separate US-facing poker sites, available to players in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

None of those sites share player pools with each other (for now), and none of them link to the PokerStars main client that operates in much of the rest of the world.

Here’s a look at the states in which PokerStars offers games in the US:

PokerStars New Jersey

PokerStars NJ debuted in March 2016. The launch of the platform marked the return of the brand to domestic shores after Black Friday forced PokerStars out of the US in May 2011.

The PokerStars NJ platform offers cash games at a wide variety of stakes and poker variants. No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha cash games run at limits from $0.01/$0.02 all the way up to $25/$50.

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You won’t find PokerStars Zoom (fast-fold) cash games at PokerStars NJ, but you will find just about every imaginable poker variant at the standard cash game tables.

Tournament players can find a solid slate of daily events, with the Sunday Majors offering the biggest prize pools on the schedule. Special tournament series, like the NJ Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP) and the New Jersey Classic, run regularly at PokerStars NJ.

PokerStars PA

PokerStars PA went live in November 2019 and functioned as Pennsylvania’s only regulated poker site for more than a year. Like its US counterparts, PokerStars PA only allows players from within the state to compete at the virtual tables.

You don’t have to be a Pennsylvania resident to play at PokerStars PA. You do need to be located within state borders while you play.

The site’s geolocation services will block you from playing if they detect that you’re outside of Pennsylvania. If you’re in Pennsylvania, you’ll enjoy access to the standard PokerStars US lineup of cash games, tournaments, sit & gos, Spin & Gos, and multi-table tournaments.

The Pennsylvania version of the COOP runs on PokerStars PA twice per year. The 2021 PASCOOP ended up with a $282,400 prize pool for its $300 buy-in Main Event.

PokerStars Michigan

PokerStars US expanded to a third platform in January 2021. PokerStars Michigan started off with both the 2021 MICOOP and MISCOOP running within the first three months of the launch.

Only Michigan players can access PokerStars MI for now, but that could soon change. Michigan has a multijurisdictional online poker bill in place, which allows the state’s operators to merge player pools with other states if they wish.

New Jersey has a similar bill in place, while Pennsylvania has yet to push through with such a bill. A merged PokerStars Michigan/New Jersey could develop soon, and a three-state PokerStars network is a possibility in the future.

Where to Find PokerStars US Sites

PokerStars’ US sites all function as part of integrated online sports betting, casino, and poker sites in their respective states. In New Jersey, for example, you’ll find PokerStars NJ on the FOX Bet/PokerStars Casino platform.

Unlike the sports betting and casino platforms, you’ll have to download the PokerStars software to access the games.

All three PokerStars US sites are also available as mobile apps for Apple and Android devices. Apple iOS device owners can download PokerStars from the App Store, while Android users can find the app at the Google Play store.

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About the Author
Geoffrey Fisk

Geoffrey Fisk

Freelance writer and poker player based in San Diego, California.

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