Tennessee is not the first state that comes to mind when you think of gambling in general, let alone poker.
Due to the strong anti-gambling sentiment that has been present in the Volunteer State for over a century, there are only a few options available. Namely, TN residents can enjoy sports betting, raffles, daily fantasy sports, cakewalks, the lottery, and charitable gambling in a very limited capacity — as you can see, poker is out of the picture.
The state also has no brick-and-mortar casinos, and their online counterparts are not an option, either. This is why players often have to find alternative ways to pursue their hobby, and one of them is playing on offshore sites.
Poker Tournaments in Tennessee
You won’t be able to find any poker tournaments in Tennessee simply because the state forbids many forms of gambling, including land-based and online casinos. According to the Tennessee State Code, gambling is defined as “…contrary to the public policy of this state and means risking anything of value for a profit whose return is to any degree contingent on chance, or any games of chance associated with casinos, including, but not limited to, slot machines, roulette wheels and the like.’’
Considering that there is an element of chance in poker, it is obvious that the excerpt refers to this game, too.
According to Section 39-17-502 of the Tennessee State Code, gambling is considered a Class C misdemeanor. As a result, anyone who engages in it can face jail time of up to 30 days and a fine of up to $50. However, operating an illegal gambling facility is a Class E felony, and the repercussions are even more severe — up to 6 years of imprisonment and $3,000 in fines.
Evidently, the law is specific about which gambling forms are forbidden, but it doesn’t say anything about playing poker on the internet. Luckily, many offshore poker sites cater to TN players. They usually feature a large selection of cash games and tournaments, so it’s no wonder many players from this state decide to join them.
Online Poker Tournaments in Tennessee
You have probably heard of Chris Moneymaker, a poker pro from Tennessee who won the 2003 WSOP Main Event at the PokerStars online card room. The man revolutionized this game by becoming the first person to win a world championship after qualifying through online poker. By doing so, he introduced what is now known as the “Moneymaker Effect.”
Unfortunately, his success did not convince Tennessee lawmakers to change their minds and legalize this form of gambling, so don’t expect to find any online poker tournaments here.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take part in poker competitions in licensed international online card rooms. In fact, this is a legally ambiguous area due to the fact that the state laws are outdated and don’t specifically mention online poker.
As a result, Tennessee doesn’t prosecute players who join such platforms. Many poker professionals coming from the Volunteer State are a testament to that. Names worth mentioning include:
- Kathy Liebert — $6.3 million
- Frank Kassela — $3.3 million
- Kyle Cartwright — $2.3 million
- David Diaz — $2.1 million
So, if you want to participate in a poker tournament, you can browse a list of licensed offshore websites we recommended here. The other alternative is to play poker on sweepstakes sites since these are legal in Tennessee.
Land-Based Poker Tournaments in Tennessee
The Volunteer State residents cannot legally participate in poker tournaments because there are no commercial or tribal casinos and racetracks. There was a proposal to introduce live card rooms in 2015 but to no avail.
It is also illegal to hold poker games at home or other private venues — namely, the authorities have charged individual players several times for participating in such activities.
Therefore, it is not unusual to see TN players traveling to the neighboring Missouri and Mississippi to play this casino classic. In fact, a Tennessee gambling lobby group found that TN residents contribute 10% to Mississippi’s gambling revenue.
How to Register for an Online Poker Tournament in TennesseeCreating an account at one of the licensed and reputable offshore poker sites is the first step to participating in an online poker tournament from Tennessee. Thankfully, the process is simple and similar across all platforms. To play online poker at one of the sites we recommend, follow this step-by-step guide:
Pick the right online poker roomWe have analyzed a number of offshore poker rooms that accept Tennessee players and singled out a few that are by far the best in the state. All you need to do is browse our list and pick the one that meets your needs.
SignupClick on the link we’ve provided to visit the official website. Once the site loads, hit the Join/Register/Sign Up button and begin the registration process. You’ll need to provide personal information, such as your full name, address, phone number, and email.
If the operator requires it, follow the link sent to your email to complete your account verification. Then, use your credentials to log in. Once you verify your account, you will likely be logged in automatically.
Deposit & PlaySelect one of the available deposit methods from the Banking/Payment section. Remember: even though credit cards are usually available for offshore gambling, American banks sometimes reject these payments. Thus, you should consider using an e-wallet or cryptocurrency as an alternative. The next step is to enter the details and the amount you want to transfer. The money should be visible in your account immediately.
You’ll see that every poker site features a welcome promotion. Although this step is optional, taking advantage of the bonus is a good idea, as you’ll probably receive some extra cash to start playing with. However, don’t forget to read through the bonus T&C and make sure the wagering requirements and expiration date are reasonable
Scroll through the offerings in the Poker Tournaments section. Pick a contest that matches your skill level, budget, and preferences, and sign up. Since you are a new member, you’ll likely have the option to participate in some free rolls or other events aimed at newly-registered members.
Tennessee Land-Based Casinos With Poker TournamentsAs mentioned, the Volunteer State has no land-based casinos, and without card rooms, there is no live poker action. However, it has also been noted that its residents are willing to cross the border and go to the neighboring states, which offer plenty of poker games and tournaments.
One such place is Tunica in Mississippi, which has six brick-and-mortar gambling establishments. Unfortunately, not all of them feature poker or have dedicated poker rooms, but these three stand out:
|Poker room||Address||Number of poker tables|
|The Horseshoe Casino Tunica||1021 Casino Center Dr, Tunica Resorts, MS 38664||25|
|Hollywood Casino & Hotel||1150 Casino Strip Resort Blvd, Tunica Resorts, MS 38664||17|
|Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall||1477 Casino Strip Resort Blvd, Tunica Resorts, MS 38664||15|
The Horseshoe Casino has the largest poker room with 25 tables. It hosts daily No Limit Hold’em tournaments and the World Series of Poker. This gambling venue features games such as Omaha, Three-Card Poker, Texas Hold’em, and Mississippi Stud. Buy-ins usually start at $20.
Tennessee Poker Tournaments ScheduleTennessee does not intend to approve the construction of land-based casinos on its soil any time soon. Thus, if you are a TN citizen who wants to participate in a live poker tournament, we suggest checking out the venues in Mississippi or Missouri, as these states have over a dozen brick-and-mortar casinos each.
No Events Currently
Check back again, An event maybe on its way soon
Best Poker Rooms To Play Online Tournaments In Tennessee
My list of the best US poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2023:
- BetOnline Poker
- Ignition Poker
- Everygame Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- ACR Poker
- Bovada Poker
- BlackChip Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
Final ThoughtsThe Volunteer State residents have limited poker options. Since there are no tribal or commercial casinos, they can only find live poker activities across the border in Mississippi or Missouri. Online poker is also unlikely to be legalized.
Therefore, sweepstakes sites and offshore poker platforms are the only options left for TN players. The latter offer plenty of cash games and tournaments, so scroll up, browse our selection of the best operators on the market, and register for a tourney!