West Virginia Legal Poker Sites

West Virginia StateLive poker action in West Virginia is centered around the 4 big racetrack casinos, which have huge poker rooms and even bigger slots halls. A 5th casino the Greenbrier, is more of a private vacation resort, with only 2 poker tables. There is no carve-out for social homegames in West Virginia, though charity poker and free entry bar leagues are possible here. Online poker is not regulated in this State, though there is already speculation that this could happen at some future date.

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This page gives you all the information you need to know about poker games in West Virginia in each of the main formats. First of all I have covered live poker games, which include some excellent rooms and big action. Next up the social poker scene is covered, this includes charity, home games and free bar leagues. Next you can find out about online poker from WV. At the end of this page I have gotten a little more detailed, with excerpts from the Statute books which pertain to poker – followed by a summary at the end of the page.

West Virginia Live Poker Games

If you are only going to have 4 major casinos in your State, then it makes sense to make them as attractive as is possible. This applies to West Virginia, where the 4 racetrack casinos offer a huge amount of poker action. The venues are The Hollywood Casino at the Charlestown racetrack, The Mountaineer Casino, Wheeling Island and The Mardi-Gras. The Greenbrier is more of a conference resort and only has 2 poker tables.

With venues holding up to 50 poker tables, these rooms are plenty big enough for the major tours to stop in this State. You will also find a packed regular tournament schedule including many special events. Cash game action is 24/7, with lots of poker game variations and action at some big buy-in levels too.

For those who like to travel, neighboring Ohio and Pennsylvania give the best alternate options for poker card rooms.

Are Home Games Legal in West Virginia?

Home games are not legal in WV. There is no carve-out for these games, meaning that they are covered by the general ‘illegal gambling’ laws. In reality this type of game is tolerated as long as it is genuinely social and nobody profits from the games – there is very rarely any law enforcement activity in this area.

Charity gambling does not include poker in this State, which means that the only other social poker possible are the free to enter poker leagues held in bars and restaurants. These give away small prizes, and are not considered gambling as there are no entry fees,

West Virginia Online Poker Games

Yet again the Statutes which pre-date the internet and even home computers are believed to be robust enough to cover online poker games – which are considered to be illegal by the West Virginia government. With their pragmatic attitude towards gambling, WV looks like a strong candidate for regulating online poker games within their State. I expect that they will wait until the pioneering States of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have proved that this is a sustainable source of revenue before going ahead with enacting any new laws.

In the meantime, offshore poker sites who are US-friendly welcome players from West Virginia. These sites, based in the Caribbean, are legal in their own countries and claim that free trade agreements enable them to accept US players. While the WV government might not agree, there have been no prosecutions of individuals for playing in online poker games at the time of writing.

What Do The West Virginia Gambling Statutes Say?

The West Virginia gambling laws focus on the ‘bet’ as the criminal element, betting on a game of chance is designed to catch all possible types of gambling – and those types which are approved can then be specifically carved out from this. While it could be argued that poker is not a game of chance, the understanding of the law enforcement agencies here is that this game certainly is covered by the existing definitions.

Here is the main definition of online gambling. This comes from chapter 61, part 10-2 of the WV codes:

…bet or wage money or other thing of value on any game of chance, or shall knowingly furnish any money or other thing of value to any other person to bet or wage on any such game…

If this definition is not catch-all enough, there are further clauses which outlaw the use of gambling devices.

West Virginia Poker – Summing It Up

There are some great options for poker fans in West Virginia, with the big poker rooms at the casino racetracks offering a ton of action. You’ll need to be more careful with your poker home-game, as this type of game does not enjoy an exemption from the general anti-gambling laws.

I believe that West Virginia is a solid candidate to join a future wave of regulated online poker locations.