Illinois Poker Rooms: Where to Play Live Poker in IL

Find the best locations to play live poker in The Prairie State

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There are a limited number of Illinois poker rooms currently open. Riverboat casinos and new B&M casino properties spread a wide variety of cash games, tournaments, and promotions.

Illinois Cardrooms Reviewed

Illinois poker rooms offer a good mix of live poker options for tournament and cash game players. Some cardrooms have sadly closed permanently following the COVID-19 pandemic.

#1 Bally’s Quad Cities Casino & Hotel

Formerly known as Jumer’s Casino, Bally’s is the only casino in the Quad Cities area. Its poker room is open Wednesday to Sunday from 4 p.m., making it the perfect night spot for cash game players and tournament fiends alike.

The poker room offers a variety of games to suit different player preferences. You can participate in Texas Hold’em, a game that’s globally recognized and loved by many.

If you’re looking for a bit more complexity, you might opt for Seven-Card Stud, a game that requires a bit more strategy and skill. For those who prefer variety, Omaha is also available for cash games only.

ballys quad cities

One feature that stands out is the bad beat jackpot. This allows you to win even when luck doesn’t seem to be on your side. It’s a unique aspect that adds an extra layer of excitement to the games.

Bally’s Quad Cities Casino offers a robust rewards scheme through its Bally’s Rewards program. This loyalty program allows players to earn points on all their gaming activities.

These points can be redeemed for various perks such as free play, dining discounts, hotel stays, and exclusive event invitations, enhancing the overall gaming experience.

#2 Grand Victoria Casino Elgin

As you enter the Grand Victoria Casino Elgin, one of Illinois’ premier riverboat casinos, you might first notice the 700 slot machines. However, it’s the 20-table poker room that truly distinguishes this establishment.

The poker room operates from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m., extending to as late as 6 a.m. on weekends. This provides ample time for you to engage in the thrilling action of poker, whether you prefer early-morning games or late-night sessions.

Being a Caesars Entertainment property, Grand Victoria Casino is one of the hosts on the WSOP Circuit. The WSOP-C event carries a guaranteed prizepool worth $1.5m.

grand victoria casino elgin

One notable feature of the poker room is the bad-beat jackpots. In 2022 alone, these jackpots paid out over $1 million, a testament to the high-stakes excitement that this room can offer. While it’s not guaranteed that you’ll be the next big winner, the possibility certainly adds an extra layer of anticipation to each hand you play.

The Grand Victoria Casino Elgin also participates in the Caesars Rewards program. This means that every game you play can earn you points, which can be redeemed for various benefits. It’s a way for the casino to give back to you, the player, and to make your gaming experience even more rewarding.

#3 Rivers Casino Des Plaines

Rivers Casino’s cardroom is dubbed as ‘Chicagoland’s premier poker room’, and it’s hard to argue with that rather lofty opinion. This space stretches over a sprawling 5,600 square feet and boasts 22 tables, making it the largest cardroom in Illinois.

Upon entering, you might be struck by the sheer scale of the room. It’s designed to accommodate a large number of players without feeling crowded, allowing you to focus on your game in a comfortable environment. The well-spaced tables ensure that you can maintain your privacy, even while surrounded by fellow players.

rivers casino des plaines

If you’re a regular player, you might want to consider getting a Rush Rewards card. This VIP program offers a range of benefits, which can significantly enhance your gaming experience.

As a Black Card member, the highest tier in the program, you’ll be eligible for a host of exclusive perks. These range from priority service at the casino to complimentary cruises and even trips to the luxurious Atlantis resort in the Bahamas.

#4 Hollywood Casino Aurora

The Hollywood Casino Aurora, known for its location along the Fox River, is set to move to a more inland destination. This shift is anticipated to offer a larger space, expanding the casino’s capacity and providing more room for its amenities.

One of the notable changes is the size of the poker room. The new venue will house a larger poker room, consisting of five tables. This room is designed to accommodate both new and seasoned players, offering a variety of cash games. The poker room operates from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m., ensuring a broad window for patrons to enjoy their games.

Hollywood Casino Aurora

However, it’s important to note that the poker room will only be hosting cash games. Tournaments are not on the agenda, but the cardroom has recently introduced re-buys with $60 buy-ins, adding a new dimension to the gaming experience. The games range from $1/$2 No Limit Hold’em to Limit Hold’em games with stakes from $5/$10 up to $20/$40.

The casino also offers the PENN Play rewards program. This program is designed to reward regular patrons, offering various benefits based on the frequency and level of play. The specifics of the rewards and benefits are subject to change, so it’s advisable to check the program details regularly.

#5 Harrah’s Metropolis

As a visitor to Harrah’s Metropolis, you’ll find that the poker room is an integral part of the casino experience. Open from 10 a.m. to 6 a.m., the poker room accommodates a variety of players, from novices to seasoned professionals.

The poker room features a total of five tables, providing enough space for a decent number of players without feeling overcrowded. The tables are well-spaced, ensuring privacy and comfort during your games.When it comes to game selection, the poker room primarily focuses on cash games. These games cater to a wide range of betting preferences, making the poker room a suitable choice for players with varying budgets.

harrahs metropolis

It’s worth noting that the cash games are not limited to one variant. You’ll find a selection of games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Seven-Card Stud, providing an opportunity to test your skills in different poker disciplines.

While the poker room is centered around cash games, it does not shy away from tournaments. The schedule for these events varies, so it’s advisable to check with the casino for the most accurate information. Participating in these tournaments could offer a more competitive poker experience compared to regular cash games.

The poker room at Harrah’s Metropolis also offers a rewards program. As you spend more time and money in the poker room, you accumulate points that can be redeemed for various perks. This program serves as an incentive for regular players, offering tangible rewards for their loyalty.

List of Live Illinois Poker Rooms

Looking for an Illinois poker room? Here’s a list of the top poker destinations right now.

Cardroom NameAddressCityPhone Number
Bally’s Quad Cities Casino & Hotel777 Bally Blvd, Rock Island, IL 61201Rock Island1-309-756-4600
Grand Victoria Casino Elgin250 S.Grove Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120Elgin1-847-468-7000
Rivers Casino Des Plaines3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018Des Plaines1-888-307-0777
Hollywood Casino Aurora1 New York Street Bridge, Aurora, IL 60506Aurora1-630-801-7471
Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino21 Blackjack Boulevard, East Peoria, IL 61611East Peoria1-309-699-7711
Harrah’s Metropolis Hotel & Casino100 E Front St, Metropolis, IL 62960Metropolis1-618-524-2628

Biggest Live Poker Rooms in Illinois

Some Illinois poker rooms closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and never re-opened. Here are some of the biggest places to play live poker in Illinois right now.

Cardroom NameGames OfferedNumber of TablesMajor Events
Bally’s Quad CitiesHold’em, Omaha, 7-Card Stud, bad beat jackpot6n/a
Grand Victoria CasinoNLHE, PLO, Limit Hold’em cash games, PLO8, bad beat jackpots, weekly Hold’em tournaments20WSOP Circuit
Rivers Casino Des PlainesStud, Omaha, Texas Hold’em, bad beat jackpot22Various monthly events
Hollywood Casino Aurora$1/$2 NLHE, $5/$10 to $20/$40 Limit Hold’em5Hollywood Poker Open
Harrah’s Metropolis Hotel & Casino$2/$5 NLHE cash, Omaha5WSOP Circuit

Illinois Poker Rooms with Hotels

Some casinos in Illinois have hotels on-site. Alternatively, you can take advantage of exclusive partner rates with local hotels and inns when you ask at the casino desk.

Casino NameNumber of Rooms
Bally’s Quad Cities205+
Harrah’s Metropolis Hotel & Casino250+

Poker Laws in Illinois

Legal Illinois poker rooms have only existed since the 1990s. The Illinois Gambling Act was passed in 1990, allowing for the first time the creation of brick-and-mortar casinos.

In reality, B&M casinos referred to riverboat casinos moored near Lake Michigan and in larger counties around the state. IL gambling laws have now been expanded to allow for more permanent gambling resorts in The Prairie State. There are still 10 riverboat casinos, but some operators are making moves inland.

In 2019, Gov. JB Pritzker passed new laws that expanded the casino industry in Chicago. Six new casinos are planned for Chicago, Danville, and Rockford, among other areas. The Illinois Gaming Board is responsible for overseeing all legal casino gambling in the state.

Want to know more information? We have a full directory of US gaming commissions for you to browse.

The minimum age for gaming differs depending on what you’re playing. You must be 21 or over to play poker in Illinois casinos. However, charitable poker games (which are legal in the state) carry a minimum age requirement of 18.

Despite Illinois’ healthy B&M gambling scene, online casino gaming is still largely prohibited. Online sports betting is now legal, but poker and casino games (e.g. slots, roulette, blackjack) are not regulated.

Live Poker Games

Most live poker in Illinois is focused around Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Cash games cover those two disciplines, as well as Seven-Card Stud at the larger cardrooms. During large-scale events like the WSOP Circuit, you can also play Seniors or Ladies events (again, Texas Hold’em is the go-to variant here).

Make sure you check out our guide to US gaming laws for a full lowdown on what’s legal in each state.

Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is a popular variant of poker where each player is dealt two private cards and five community cards are dealt face-up on the ‘board’. Players must make the best five-card poker hand using any combination of their own two cards and the five on the board.


Omaha poker is a variant of poker where each player is dealt four private cards and five community cards are dealt face-up on the ‘board’. Players must make their best five-card poker hand using exactly two of their cards and three from the board.

Omaha Hi-Lo/Omaha 8 is also offered by the bigger IL cardrooms. In this variant, the pot is split if there is a qualifying low hand (five cards 8 or lower) as well as the high.


Seven-Card Stud is a classic poker variant where each player is dealt seven cards throughout the hand, three face-down and four face-up. The objective is to create the best five-card poker hand from these seven cards.

Unlike Texas Hold’em and Omaha, there are no community cards in Seven-Card Stud. Mostly, Stud is played in Illinois cash games at the larger cardrooms.

Popular Poker Formats

Cash games and tournaments are the most common feature of the largest cardroom in Illinois.

Cash Games

Every Illinois poker room runs cash games for as long as the casino is open. The lowest stakes are normally $1/$2 for No Limit Hold’em. Limit Hold’em can go as high as $20/$40.

Most Illinois live poker rooms also offer Bad Beat Jackpots. A portion of the rake goes toward the pot, which is won if your high hand is beaten by another high hand. Typically, you must have quads or better to win a bad-beat jackpot.


In Illinois, tournaments usually run once per day. We advise checking the casino’s website daily for updates or downloading an app like Brave Poker which will keep you informed if any new tournaments have been announced.

  • $60 re-buys (Grand Victoria Casino)


Some Illinois poker room locations run satellites during their big events. You enter a low-buy-in qualifier for a shot at winning your entry into a bigger tournament. Satellites tend to run during the WSOP Circuit, which is held across IL casinos.

Charitable Poker Games

You can also play charity poker games in some destinations around Chicago. CCG Poker (Chicago Charitable Games) offers games for over-18s from Friday through Sunday. Cash games and tournaments are available, and schedules even include mixed games. Prizepools are split between the players and local charities.  

Major Poker Tours

With Caesars and Penn National Gaming involved in live poker in Illinois, it’s no surprise to see one or two special events being held in The Prairie State.

World Series of Poker

The WSOP Circuit was held at an Illinois poker room as recently as April 2023. These circuit events cover around 15–16 tournaments with price points pitched a little lower than the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

The showpiece is the $1,700 Main Event that usually comes with a large guaranteed prizepool. Smaller WSOPC events include a $400 No Limit Hold’em Monster Stack with a $100,000 guarantee.

Local Poker Events

You can also enter one or two special events when you play live poker in Illinois. The Windy City Poker Championship is hosted by charitable gaming establishments but still offers the chance to win real money.

Elsewhere, the Hollywood Poker Open has been held in the past at participating Penn National Gaming casinos. This is a rival for the WSOPC, and it boasts a tournament schedule that features a mid-priced Main Event with a guarantee.

Illinois Live Poker Promotions

Illinois live poker casinos run rewards programs that let you earn points as you play. As a PENN Play Card holder, you have the chance to earn points each time you play poker. Your card keeps track of your play, accumulating points that can be redeemed for various rewards. It’s a great way to make your poker experience even more rewarding.

The Caesars Reward program works similarly. You rack up points when paying raked pots or tournaments, then redeem your points for comped rooms or meals at Caesars properties. In general, there aren’t a lot of specific poker-themed promotions that you can use points on, such as freeroll entries.

Home Poker Games

Home games are considered illegal under the Illinois Penal Code. Only licensed Illinois cardrooms are allowed to offer games where a tournament fee or cash game rake is involved.

Online Poker & Gaming

Illinois doesn’t have regulated online gambling. The Wire Act is still showing signs of life, even years after some states have relaxed their online gaming laws. However, there are still ways for you to access casinos and sportsbooks online. Check out our guides here:

Closed Cardrooms in Illinois

  • Par-A-Dice Hotel-Casino (closed indefinitely)
  • Jumer’s Casino (rebranded as Harrah’s Joliet)
  • Hollywood Casino Joliet

Famous Poker Players from Illinois

Some of the biggest names in WSOP and WPT history hail from Illinois. With dozens of WSOP cashes under his belt, Connon Drinan has quickly become the most successful tournament player in Illinois.

  • Mohsin Charanaia (Career earnings: $6.5m)
  • Gavin Griffin (Career earnings: $5.0m)
  • Connor Drinan (Career earnings: $11m)
  • Steve Billirakis (Career earnings: $2.9m)

Paying Gambling Tax on Poker

You can view our in-depth guide to taxes on online gambling. However, you may be wondering what you’re obliged to pay if you win at the Illinois poker room tables.

Illinois currently imposes a flat rate of 4.95% on gambling winnings. This tallies with the state income tax rate. Therefore, anything you win by playing poker is treated as personal income.

You must complete Form IL-5754 if you win a substantial amount. You may also be required to inform the IRS through your federal tax return. For that, you will need a Form W-2G (supplied by the casino).

Online gambling is largely illegal in Illinois. However, you may have to declare large online poker winnings if the site is based offshore.

Live Poker in Illinois FAQ

Does Illinois have legalized poker games?

Yes. In Illinois, poker tournaments and cash games are legal at riverboat casinos in the state. You don’t need to be an Illinois resident or member to play games. Charitable poker games are also legal in The Prairie State.

How many card rooms are there in Illinois?

There are currently around 10 land-based poker rooms in Illinois that offer a mix of tournaments and cash games. Cardrooms are open throughout the week, with the largest cardroom housing around 20+ tables.

What is charitable poker?

Under Illinois law, charitable organizations are permitted to host several charitable poker games a year. Tournaments are allowed to award cash prizes to players, but a portion of proceeds must go to local charities.

Is online poker legal in Illinois?

The legacy of UIGEA means that online poker laws have been slow to advance in Illinois. There are no laws regulating poker sites in Illinois, and there are no plans to make online poker legal.

How old must I be to play poker in Illinois?

You must be at least 21 to play poker at riverboat casinos in Illinois. You can play charitable poker games provided you are 18 or over. Ensure you have a form of photo ID before you set foot in the cardroom or casino.  

Do IL cardrooms have a strict dress code?

Most Illinois poker rooms have a “resort casual” dress code. You may be denied entry if you wear a vest or come without shoes. Air conditioning means you may want to bring warmer clothes.  

Are IL poker rooms open 24/7?

No. Most Illinois cardrooms are open from around midday until 3 a.m. The larger poker rooms may open from 9 a.m. on weekends, however. Check the casino websites before you travel.

Do any Illinois poker rooms run WSOP events?

Yes. Grand Victoria Casino and Harrah’s have hosted WSOPC (WSOP Circuit) events in the past. These series usually contain around 15–16 different events, including a Main Event with a guaranteed prizepool.

Are home poker games legal in Illinois?

No, under Article 28 Section 1 of the Illinois Penal Code, home games for money are considered illegal. You may be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor if you’re caught running home games for profit.

Am I liable for tax on my poker winnings?

You could be liable for state and federal income tax on poker winnings over a certain threshold. You must inform the IRS of any substantial wins, though you may be able to offset gambling losses.

Is there help for problem gambling in The Prairie State?

Yes. The Illinois Gaming Board offers a Problem Gambling Registry System for IL residents and non-residents. You will receive regular emails with links to hotlines and problem gambling charities. Check out our in-depth guide to gambling responsibly for more information.

Are there any successful poker players from Illinois?

Absolutely. The state of Illinois has produced several high-performing poker pros in the past, including Mohsin Charanaia, Gavin Griffin, and Connor Drinan. These players have won millions of dollars collectively during their careers.

What is poker rake?

Rake is the charge you must pay for every qualifying cash hand you play and tournament you enter. You can sometimes claim rakeback from the casino, though it’s not generally offered by Illinois cardrooms.

Do Illinois poker rooms offer freerolls?

No, you can’t play freerolls at most of the Illinois casinos. However, you can play freerolls online at poker sites that accept IL players. Check out our list of online poker reviews for more details.

Does every Illinois poker room offer a reward program?

Yes, most Illinois cardrooms run loyalty schemes where you can earn player points when you try tournaments and cash games. You are allowed to cash in points to earn free meals or stays at gambling resorts.

What is the largest cardroom in Illinois?

Rivers Casino Des Plaines has 22 tables, making it the largest cardroom in Illinois. The poker room spreads NLHE and Omaha cash games, in addition to weekly tournaments and special events.  

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