Ohio could be one of the next US states to regulate real money online poker, but you can win real money prizes in the Buckeye State today by playing sweepstakes poker.

Ohio Online Poker GuideSports betting only launched on New Year’s Day 2023, so Ohio is still relatively new to igaming. The state ranks seventh in terms of population with 11.8 million residents, so a regulated market for real money online poker would be a big one — just a little smaller than Pennsylvania.

A panel of lawmakers from the Ohio General Assembly studied igaming expansion and were set to release a report in June 2024. A bill could be introduced at any time.

While those plans continue to play out, we recommend sweepstakes online poker sites, where players can win real cash prizes.

We recommend sweepstakes online poker in Ohio Sweepstakes law in Ohio and most US states include verbiage that allow sweepstakes poker sites to operate. This makes them a popular choice for players in states that don’t regulate online poker (like Ohio). Players can win real money prizes playing sweepstakes poker. We recommend Clubs Poker, a new modern sweepstakes site with top-rated software and a great game selection.

We recommend Clubs Poker for playing online poker in Ohio. It’s a new platform, but we expect that it will quickly become very popular because it is packed with features (i.e., bad beat jackpots, run it twice, straddles) that players will love. The US-based site hosts ring games, tournaments, and sit & gos, and offers an online poker experience comparable to the best online poker software in the world.

Free-play poker apps and sites are also available in the Buckeye State. We recommend these for beginners or anyone looking to play online poker for free. Free-play options are great for beginners because they offer a place to learn all about the game without having to spend any money.

Check back for updates on online poker in Ohio!

Can I Play Online Poker in Ohio?

Yes, you can play online poker in Ohio! And you have options — it just depends on whether you’re looking to play for real money prizes or you just want to play for free. You can do both from anywhere in the Buckeye State.

We recommend sweepstakes poker sites for players interested in competing for real money prizes. The sites offer an experience that’s as close as possible to playing a real cash game. If you’re looking to play online poker for free, there are free-play apps and websites available from several sources, including from some sweepstakes poker and real money online poker operators.

Online Poker in Ohio: Key Facts
📢 What’s LegalSocial poker, including sweepstakes and free-play sites
Main HighlightsSweepstakes poker has daily tournaments, players can win real money
🔮Real Money Online
Poker (Regulated)
Panel discussed in 2024, legislation possible at any time
🃏 Available GamesNo Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, and several mixed game variants
🔞 Legal AgePlayers must be 18 years of age or older
👥 OH Population11.8 Million (ranks 7th)

The Best Online Poker Sites in Ohio

If you’re interested in playing online poker in the Buckeye State, we recommend visiting sweepstakes poker sites. These offer the best online poker experience in Ohio.

Players can win real money prizes playing sweepstakes poker. It’s important to note that “sweepstakes poker” is actually an umbrella term for two types of online poker sites allowed under sweepstakes law: traditional subscription poker and so-called “modern” sweepstakes, for lack of a better term. You can win real money prizes playing on both platforms.

The difference between subscription and modern sweepstakes poker Subscription sites are pretty straightforward — for a monthly fee, players can enter tournaments and win prizes redeemable for real money. Under the modern sweepstakes model, players use real money to buy play tokens (aka Gold Coins) and receive Sweeps Coins as a gift. Gold Coins have no monetary value, but Sweeps Coins are considered entries into a sweepstakes — players use them to access ring games and tournaments, which award prizes that can be converted into real money.

If you’re looking to play online poker for real money prizes in Ohio, we recommend Clubs Poker, a modern sweepstakes site. It also offers exciting features, including bad beat jackpots, bomb pots, rabbit hunting, run it twice, and straddles. Here are short descriptions for three sites available in Ohio:

Clubs Poker

Clubs Poker online poker roomClubs Poker is a new online poker site that follows the modern sweepstakes model. Although the poker room is new, we expect that it will grow quickly in popularity for its excellent features (some of which were mentioned above).

Players will find a variety of mixed game poker variants on Clubs Poker, including No-Limit Texas Hold’em (NLH), Pot Limit Omaha (PLO), Omaha Hi-Lo, Seven Card Stud, HORSE, and 2-7 Draw. Recreational players are expected to flock to the site, so there will probably be lots of soft games. Clubs Poker is headquartered in Philadelphia.

Read our full review of Clubs Poker »

ClubWPT

ClubWPT online poker roomClubWPT is a subscription-based online poker site. The platform hosts tournaments every day, offering prizes that can be redeemed for real money. Some tournaments offer players a chance to win entry to events on the World Poker Tour.

Most of the action on ClubWPT is No Limit Hold’em (NLH) or Pot Limit Omaha. Players will find ring games and sit-and-gos (SNGs) on the site, but ring games are only available in play money mode, meaning players can’t win real money prizes through ring games.

Read our full review of ClubWPT »

Global Poker

Global Poker online poker roomGlobal Poker is another modern sweepstakes poker site, where players use real money to buy play tokens (aka Gold Coins) and receive Sweeps Coins as a gift. Players use Sweeps Coins to access sweepstakes tables, where players can win prizes that can be redeemed for real money.

The site offers regular MTT series that feature large guarantees. Australia-based Global Poker is very popular with players because it gives special prizes to the winners of its tournaments, including custom-made trophies, branded merchandise, and unique avatars.

Read our full review of Global Poker »

Free-Play Poker in Ohio

You can also play online poker for free in the Buckeye State. Players can download free-play apps or visit free-play poker sites to play online poker — all without spending any money. Free-play poker sites are great options for new players or for anyone still trying to learn the mechanics of the game.

Zynga Poker, Replay Poker, and Governor of Poker are three of the more popular free-play sites. Facebook and other social media platforms also offer online poker for free. Two of the most well-known real money online poker brands, PokerStars and WSOP, also have free-play sites.

Remember that your ability to develop a winning poker strategy will be extremely limited if you only play free-play sites, since there isn’t any real money at stake. But free-play poker sites are recommended for anyone new to online poker.

Real Money Online Poker in Ohio

Ohio’s history with igaming is short.

Online sports betting launched with 16 operators on January 1, 2023. That’s it so far.

Lawmakers began to seriously float the idea of expanding into online casino gaming shortly after sports betting (online and retail) got off the ground. An appropriations bill sponsored by Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) called for expanding the membership and scope of the Joint Committee on Sports Gaming, the panel that helped shepherd sports betting into reality.

Under HB 33, the joint committee would be expanded from six members to 11. It would also be renamed the Study Commission on the Future of Gaming in Ohio, a temporary panel that would cease to exist after issuing a report and its recommendations to the General Assembly. Republican Governor Mike DeWine signed the bill into law and it took effect in July 2023.

Since then, the Study Commission on the Future of Gaming in Ohio, co-chaired by Edwards and Sen. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville), has met three times this year — twice in March and once in April. The temporary panel’s report was due on June 30.

While talk of expanding igaming is focused on online casino gaming and its potential to enrich the state’s coffers, real money online poker is almost certain to form part of any future expansion.

Avoid playing real money online poker on offshore sites Poker players in Ohio will find real money online poker sites based offshore. These sites are not recommended. Offshore sites have a bad reputation, and US players have no way of collecting any winnings that are in dispute. We recommend playing sweepstakes online poker instead. See our Independent Guide to Online Poker for more information.

Multi-State Online Poker in Ohio

Since Ohio would be a new market for regulated real money online poker, a smart move would be for the state to join a multi-jurisdictional gaming compact to help grow the game in the Buckeye State.

Membership in such a compact would allow operators in Ohio to combine their player pools from other states that are also members of the compact. That leads to shared liquidity, which in turn leads to bigger tournaments, bigger prizes, more tax revenue to states, and more excitement for the game overall.

Ohio is the nation’s seventh-largest state in terms of population with about 11.8 million residents. Compared to two neighboring states with regulated real money online poker, Ohio is a little smaller than Pennsylvania (which has 13 million people and ranks 5th in population) and a bit bigger than Michigan (10 million, 10th).

Understanding how the three states stack up in terms of population could help inform how Ohio moves forward, should lawmakers decide the state should begin regulating real money online poker. Consider that Pennsylvania, a larger state, currently operates as a segregated market and has four operators there.

Michigan, the smaller state, took a different path. It joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), a gaming compact that also includes Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and West Virginia, in May 2022. Since then, two operators, PokerStars and WSOP, have built poker networks that include the Great Lakes State — Ohio’s bitter rival for all things.

Poker Sites Likely to Launch in Ohio

At this early stage, it appears most likely that the state would allow the entities already awarded a so-called Type A sports betting license (for mobile sports betting) to conduct online casino gaming and offer online poker as well.

That said, Ohio would be the biggest member of MSIGA in terms of population, making it an attractive market for real money poker operators regardless of whether it’s a member of MSIGA at the time a regulated market for online poker launches.

We think that four poker operators — BetMGM Poker, BetRivers Poker, PokerStars, and WSOP — will all be interested in launching in the Buckeye State. Each also appears to have an easy path forward in obtaining an expanded igaming license, consider each operator is tied to an online sportsbook that’s been live in the state since the start of 2023.

Under a scenario where multi-state poker networks in the US enjoy an expansion surge, BetMGM and WSOP could each create four-state networks, while BetRivers Poker could conceivably run across five states. PokerStars appears most likely to expand to a three-state network.

The following network setups are purely speculative, but we think this is what a regulated market of real money online poker operators would look like in Ohio:

Operator Potential Ohio Partnership Hypothetical Network Plans
PokerStars USA Depending upon how Ohio sets up its rules for licensure, PokerStars would either share a license with fellow Flutter brand FanDuel or get its own license outright. FanDuel is partnered with Belterra Park, a racino, for sports betting. If Ohio were in MSIGA, PokerStars could create a three-state network across MI-NJ-OH.
BetMGM Poker An easy match-up to predict — the operator is already partnered with MGM Northfield Park, a racino, for sports betting. BetMGM could make a four-state network that includes MI-NJ-NV-OH, but it still needs to combine its MI and NJ player pools and launch in Nevada.
WSOP Online Caesars Sportsbook is already partnered with Scioto Downs, a racino, for sports betting. WSOP would presumably enter the market under the same license. Caesars owns WSOP. Like BetMGM, WSOP could aim for a four-state network of MI-NJ-NV-OH. Unlike BetMGM, it’s already formed the MI-NJ-NV part.
BetRivers Poker A poker platform in development by Rush Street Interactive (RSI). RSI’s flagship brand, BetRivers, is familiar to Ohioans through its sports betting partnership with Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, a racino. RSI could cobble together a four-state network that includes DE-MI-NJ-OH. They could also add a fifth state to the network, WV.

Ohio Online Poker FAQ

Is online poker legal in Ohio?

Yes, you can play online poker anywhere in the Buckeye State! We recommend sweepstakes poker for players looking to win real money prizes. For players looking to play online poker without spending any money, we recommend free-play poker sites.

Does Ohio have real money online poker?

No, Ohio does not currently have a regulated market for real money online poker. That said, lawmakers have long been interested in expanding igaming in the Buckeye State, and formed a study commission devoted to the idea in 2023. Until Ohio has legal real money online poker, we recommend sweepstakes poker sites — they offer a legal alternative to real money online poker and offer real money prizes.

Does Ohio have sweepstakes poker?

Yes, Ohio has modern sweepstakes poker sites. Under this model, players use real money to buy play tokens (aka Gold Coins) and receive Sweeps Coins as a gift. Gold Coins can only be used for play money games and have no monetary value, but players use Sweeps Coins for entry to sweepstakes tables, which offer real money prizes. We recommend Clubs Poker for modern sweepstakes poker.

Can I play ring games online in Ohio?

Yes, Clubs Poker has online ring games. Since Clubs Poker is a modern sweepstakes poker site, players will need a certain number of Sweeps Coins before they can get access to tables that offer real money prizes.

Are subscription poker sites available in Ohio?

Yes, subscription-based poker sites are available in the Buckeye State. For a monthly fee, players get access to tables that offer real money prizes. It’s a popular choice for players who live in a state without a regulated market for real money online poker — like Ohio.

Are there online poker tournaments in Ohio?

Yes, Clubs Poker has tournaments every day. The platform features multi-table tournaments (MTTs), bounty tournaments, sit-and-go (SNG) tournaments, and progressive knockout tournaments (PKOs).

What types of poker games are available online?

NLH is the most popular game on Clubs Poker, but players will also find mixed game variants like Pot Limit Omaha (PLO), 2-7 Draw, Omaha Hi-Lo, Seven Card Stud, and HORSE.

Is PokerStars legal in Ohio?

No, PokerStars and the other top online poker operators in the US — BetMGM and WSOP — are not currently legal in Ohio. If Ohio creates a regulated market for real money online poker, we expect those three operators, plus BetRivers Poker, would quickly open online poker rooms through their existing partnerships with land-based gaming properties for sports betting.

Will Ohio regulate real money online poker anytime soon?

Lawmakers convened a study commission to discuss expanding igaming in 2023. The panel was to make its recommendations to the General Assembly at the end of June 2024. It’s possible that a bill to establish a regulated market for real money online poker could be introduced later in 2024 — with a market presumably launching in 2025 at the earliest.

Can I play online poker on offshore sites?

Playing online poker on sites based offshore is not recommended because they don’t offer the same level of consumer protection as legal, regulated sites in the US. Players put themselves at risk of identity theft when they disclose their personal information on such sites. Federal officials have warned US citizens not to play poker on offshore sites because they have no legal recourse to collect winnings owed to them.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500