PokerStars Michigan Vs. BetMGM Poker: Comparing Michigan’s Online Poker Apps

Michigan players enjoy access to a pair of legal online poker sites. PokerStars MI went live as Michigan’s first regulated online poker platform on Jan. 29, 2021.

BetMGM Poker Michigan launched a few weeks later, going live on March 22. Michigan shapes up as one of the most important hubs for legal online poker in the US, but which poker site should Michigan players choose?

Both PokerStars MI and BetMGM Poker offer solid platforms for Michigan players. Here’s a look at how Michigan’s pair of legal poker sites stack up against each other:

Cash Game Player Traffic

Perhaps the most critical aspect of any online poker site, player traffic can play a significant role in your decision on where to play. Cash game traffic usually offers a strong indication of player volume across all games on the site, including multi-table tournaments and Sit & Gos.

PokerStars MI offers the highest cash game traffic of any US regulated poker site. Michigan players make PokerStars MI the online poker platform of choice in the Great Lakes State as far as player volume.

Even at off-peak hours, several cash games run at a variety of stakes. From $0.01/$0.02 stakes, up to $1/$2, you can find games running at most times of day at PokerStars MI.

Peak times and days sometimes draw upward of 1,000 players to the PokerStars MI cash game tables. Almost all running games play as No-Limit Hold’em cash games, with Pot-Limit Omaha and other games much more challenging to find.

BetMGM Poker hasn’t quite caught on at the level of its Michigan competitor. On average, PokerStars MI draws about five times the number of cash game players as BetMGM Poker.

You can find a game to get into at most times of day at PokerStars MI, and the cash game economy flourishes at peak weekday hours (5 pm-9 pm) and weekends. BetMGM Poker runs a decent number of games at peak hours, but PokerStars MI is the go-to choice overall.

Winner: PokerStars MI


Nothing captures the excitement of online poker quite like multi-table tournaments. Both PokerStars MI and BetMGM Poker offer daily tournaments around the clock, with Sunday playing out as the best day of the week for tournament poker at both sites.

BetMGM Poker’s flagship tournament plays out each Sunday, in the form of the Sunday $40k Guaranteed. The $215 buy-in tournament offers the largest guaranteed prize pool of any weekly tournament at BetMGM Poker.

Early runs of the Sunday $40k Guarantee drew solid attendance, pushing the final prize pool past the $40,000 guarantee. BetMGM Poker runs around 70 tournaments daily, with buy-ins ranging from $1 to $535.

Sundays at PokerStars MI feature several tournaments with sizeable guaranteed prize pools. The biggest of those events, the Sunday Special, offers a $100 buy-in and a prize pool that ranges from $45,000 to $60,000.

Special major tournament series at PokerStars MI include the Michigan Championship of Online Poker (MICOOP). The MICOOP guaranteed $1 million across 60 events, but big attendance pushed the final combined prize pools over the $2.2 million mark.

Another special event, the Michigan Classic, guarantees $500,000 at a $300 buy-in. The tournament kicks off this weekend, running April 4-5.

BetMGM Poker hasn’t yet announced a major special tournament or series, but Michigan players can expect that to change in the future. BetMGM Poker runs on partypoker software, and an agreement between partypoker and the World Poker Tour could eventually bring WPT online events to Michigan.

For now, however, PokerStars MI stands as the clear winner on the tournament front.

Winner: PokerStars MI

Game Variety

Both PokerStars MI and BetMGM offer the familiar lineup of cash games, multi-table tournaments, and Sit & Gos.

PokerStars MI gets the nod in terms of cash game variety, offering just about any poker variant you might see at a live poker room. The tables don’t fill up often outside of No-Limit Hold’em, but the tables are in place for games like Stud, 2-7 Triple Draw, 5-Card Draw, 8-Game Mix, and many other poker variants.

BetMGM Poker offers No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and Limit Hold’em. Both sites offer cash game stakes starting at $0.01/$0.02 and capping at $25/$50 for No-Limit Hold’em.

BetMGM Poker features Fast Forward (fast-fold) cash games, which play as No-Limit Hold’em at $0.05/$0.10 and $0.10/$0.25 stakes. PokerStars MI doesn’t offer fast fold games, giving BetMGM Poker the edge in that category.

PokerStars MI does offer Spin & Gos, with BetMGM not offering an equivalent. Both sites offer a solid selection of daily tournaments, with PokerStars MI getting the upper hand on the competition in terms of guaranteed prize pools and major tournaments and series.

BetMGM still has plenty of time to develop its game selection, but for now, PokerStars MI presents a better overall package.

Winner: PokerStars MI 

Overall Verdict

BetMGM Poker Michigan has only been on the market for a few days as of this writing. Still in its infancy, the platform operates as part of the partypoker family of US sites.

The partypoker tie-in with the World Poker Tour, along with the reputation of the BetMGM brand, points to a bright future for the BetMGM Poker platform in Michigan. Players in the Wolverine State can expect the tournament guarantees, cash game traffic, and overall game selection to expand as BetMGM Poker matures in the Michigan market.

For now, however, PokerStars MI offers the superior online poker platform. Michigan’s poker enthusiasts have pushed PokerStars MI into the No. 1 spot in cash game traffic among US regulated sites.

Special tournament events like the MICOOP and Michigan Classic lead the push in an exciting new era of legal online poker in Michigan. Many of the state’s live poker rooms might be shuttered due to COVID-19 considerations, but PokerStars MI offers just about anything a poker player could want in an online poker site.

Winner: PokerStars MI

About the Author

Geoffrey Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based freelance writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff’s interests include the legal online poker industry in the U.S. and abroad.