Gambling is not the first thing people think of when the Keystone State gets mentioned. Yet, Pennsylvania is second only to Nevada in terms of commercial casino revenues and is one of five US territories that allows companies to offer interactive gaming to their residents. Thus, it is safe to say that Pennsylvania is one of the US’ most gambling-friendly states. Legislation allowing these activities mainly got passed throughout the past two decades, starting with the Pennsylvania Racehorse Development and Gaming Act in 2004. The goals of this and similar laws that followed were to fill in the state’s financial deficit.
What is interesting about Pennsylvania law is that it does not clearly define gambling. Common sense decides what classifies as games that involve betting. Of course, poker gets categorized as one. That means that it is primarily allowed at regulated casinos, of which there are fourteen throughout the state. We list what most gambling enthusiasts believe are the best spots in Pennsylvania to take in some Texas Hold ’Em, Stud, or Omaha action. Those that do not fancy driving to one of these can learn how to play poker online.
Formerly known as the Philadelphia Park Racetrack and Casino, the Prax Casino is on 2999 Street Road in the Bensalem Township in Bucks County. It is the most massive gaming complex in the state, operated by Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment. It originally opened as the Keystone Racetrack in 1974, but its casino section got launched in 2009, following the state allowing casino gambling. The Prax’s poker room features forty-eight tables, including three exclusive VIP enclaves. The games featured here are No-Limit/Limit Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha 8 or Better. Buy-ins here range from $100 to $3,000, and the venue occasionally hosts tournaments.
Gaming mavens may know the Rivers casino under its old name, the SugarHouse. It got established in 2006 and was one of the five stand-alone venues to get awarded a gaming license by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that year. Despite protests from locals, development got underway in 2009 on 1001 North Delaware Avenue in Fishtown, with assurances that this locale would generate more than $1 billion in gaming taxes within five years. The Rivers Casinos’ poker room houses twenty-eight tables open 24/7, featuring complimentary drinks and in-seat food service. Tournaments here usually run on Wednesdays and Sundays, and each day offers its two to three poker promotions.
Mohegan Sun Pocono
Located on the outskirts of Wilkes-Barre, at 1280 Hwy 315, the Mohegan Sun Pocono is a racino that got acquired by the Mohegan Tribe in 2005, initially as only a racetrack. In late-2006, it launched its gaming lobby and because the first establishment to offer slots in Pennsylvania. Seven years later, they opened a hotel, which connects to their gaming floor, becoming a full-blown gaming resort. The Pocono’s smoke-free poker room offers nine tables, several HD TVs, and a beverage service. It is open every day from noon to 3 AM, seating seven players per table. Daily tournaments are a thing here, as are Bad Beat jackpots and progressive royals. There is also a high-hand jackpot every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Pocono from 2 PM to 10 PM.
Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia
Live! Casino & Hotel went live in February 2021, on 900 Packer Avenue, inside South Philly’s Stadium Entertainment District, off I-76 and I-95. It is an Xfinity Live-operated venue that got developed by The Cordish Companies. The poker action here takes place in a room with twenty-nine tables with USB charging stations at every one of their luxury seats. The poker offered here includes Omaha, Texas Hold ‘Em, and mixed games. Tournaments are continuously running here, as are high-hand promotions, a Mega Bad Beat jackpot, and a $1,000 Sunday cash drawings promo.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National
Hollywood Casino is primarily a thoroughbred race track that Penn National Gaming operates and Gaming and Leisure Properties owns. Its located east of Harrisburg, in Grantville, at 777 Hollywood Boulevard. The racecourse became operational in 1972, and the casino within this establishment opened its doors in February 2008, with table games running since 2010. Hollywood Casino is unique in that it offers a weekly Rake back on Bad Beat eligible cash games Monday through Thursday. High-hand promos are also available here most days of the week. Watch out for standard and turbo tournament blinds at the Hollywood Casino.
To Wrap Up
Picking the highest quality poker venues in Pennsylvania not only depends on objective factors, as personal preferences also play a role in card room selection. The Meadows Racetrack and Casino and the Valley Forge Casino Resort are also decent choices. Note that the Wind Creek Bethlehem will relaunch its room in 2022.
About the Author
Shelly Schiff has been working in the gambling industry since 2009, mainly on the digital side of things, employed by OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos.com. However, over her eleven-year career, Shelly has provided content for many other top interactive gaming websites. She knows all there is to know about slots and has in-depth knowledge of the most popular table games. Her golden retriever Garry occupies most of her leisure time. Though, when she can, she loves reading Jim Thompson-like crime novels.