The bonus may not be spectacular, but it is one of the easiest for new poker players to clear and is complemented by a lucrative rewards program that is both challenging and achievable. Poker Players Alliance iDevelopment and Economic Association Online poker in the United States is a topic that generates lots of information, much of it conflicting but all that can be broken down by state, as we have here. Generally stiffer potential penalties for players than average. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware are all up-and-running with their regulated poker, but other states have encountered difficulty introducing their own legislation to allow online poker in the US. The only difference is the skin itself. Sheldon Adelson will undoubtedly continue to wield his influence in the form of campaign contributions and political donations to members of Congress in the hopes of one of them sneaking an online gambling ban into a piece of must-pass legislation, similar to the way the UIGEA was passed in Are sites like Americas Cardroom legal in the United States?
Best US Poker Sites in 2018
There are many decisions when choosing a US poker site online and figuring out how financial transactions and bonuses work. We have a page to answer those questions and give some tips on how to navigate the internet poker sphere. This page is more specific.
These are questions we receive quite often about legal online poker for United States players. The complications within the US market alone are difficult to follow, so we put together some of the most frequently asked questions and provided answers.
Zynga Poker is a poker app that is available on mobile devices and through Facebook. It is classified as a social poker game because players do not deposit real money for poker action.
They play for virtual chips, which are allocated to players at no cost. This makes it different from real-money sites like PokerStars, poker, and PartyPoker, all dot-com sites that function on poker for money. Players can buy chips on Zynga Poker. However, they are not necessary to play. Those who lose all of their play-money tokens and want to keep playing without waiting for more free tokens can pay a small fee to obtain more chips. Even so, they are not competing for real money and cannot win cash prizes.
Social games are falling under more scrutiny for the in-game chip purchases. In the state of Washington , for example, some social games have been the subject of recent lawsuits. This remains a gray area of US law. Americas Cardroom and other similar US sites have continued to operate in the American market in the years since Black Friday , and the US government has not taken any action thus far against those operators.
For the most part, sites that are based outside of the United States offer poker to customers in states without specific laws in place addressing internet gambling. For a state like Kentucky, which has proven hostile to all types of online gambling by previously seizing domains and fighting intense legal battles against companies like PokerStars, players may not have many choices for online poker whatsoever.
Offshore operators also tend to avoid states like New Jersey, which has a strictly regulated market that requires sites to be licensed to offer games like online poker. The United States as a whole does not have a federal regulatory system for internet gaming or poker. And a ruling by the US Department of Justice regarding the Wire Act put the ultimate decision for legalization and regulation to each individual state.
Legal online poker means something different to the four states that have legalized it thus far. Nevada will not accept license applications from companies like PokerStars that operated in the US after , while New Jersey and Pennsylvania have no such stipulation. Most states with legal online poker require the poker operators to partner with a land-based casino operation in order to obtain licensing. Each state has its own set of laws and regulations.
A poker site that wants to be legal in the US must check with individual states and interpret their laws and regulations per legal advice. There are no laws that question the legality of a player supporting another in poker, whether in cash games or tournaments.
There was a recent case with a poker staking site called YouStake that illustrates the point. For quite some time, the owners of the site were forced to stop accepting business from players seeking backers or those wanting to support other players, all due to an investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission SEC. The investigation went on for some time, questioning the legality of its business model, but there were never any charges filed or conclusions reached.
Finally, YouStake filed a lawsuit against the SEC demanding charges be filed or the investigation be dropped. The poker boom was a time when online poker thrived in nearly every country in the world, and it translated into record numbers of players entering the game on every level.
Whether live or online, poker was at peak popularity. It all ended when various countries began to regulate the industry within their borders, and the United States destroyed it all when it indicted the heads of the top poker sites in the world on Black Friday in It is tough to foresee a situation in which US online poker could reach the levels of popularity of the poker boom. Even if the US legalized poker online, players in the US would not be able to share the same tables with those in European countries and many others around the world.
India has its own segregated market, China has banned all things poker, and European countries are only now beginning to share their player pools. The entire market has changed in the past decade. The domain was seized by the DOJ and eventually closed, leaving players without funds while PokerStars paid all players immediately and resumed operations. By September , Full Tilt players remained unpaid, and the DOJ charged company directors with running a Ponzi scheme that paid them hundreds of millions of dollars while leaving no funds to settle player balances.
Ultimately, PokerStars worked out an arrangement with the US government to purchase the assets of Full Tilt Poker and repay all of its players as part of its own Black Friday settlement.
The repayment process was finally completed in after five years of administrative work by the government-appointment claims administrator, Garden City Group. It shares tables and players with PokerStars in available markets, and all promotions and bonuses are the same as those offered by Stars.
Full Tilt is not available to any players in the United States. Legal real-money online poker is available in four states as of mid, and each state has its own unique licensing process.
Sites wanting to offer internet poker in any of those states must apply for a license, pay fees, and establish service per the regulations of that state. Nevada is the only state that has legalized only internet poker.
All other states also offer online casino games, like slot play and table games. Other companies that are willing to partner with a land-based casino property in Nevada are welcome to contact the Nevada Gaming Commission to inquire about licensing requirements, fees, and processes. Delaware regulates its online poker and casino games through the Delaware Lottery. There are no more licenses available for online poker operators at this time. New Jersey poker sites online are run through the Division of Gaming Enforcement, which offers all pertinent information for operators on its website.
PokerStars and others are licensed through the DGE, and all were investigated, approved, and invoiced for the appropriate fees.
The regulations are strict in New Jersey, but several poker sites operate there successfully. Pennsylvania legalized online poker and casino games in , and the initial licensing process is underway in with an expected launch of the first sites by the end of The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has set the regulatory framework for the industry, and though there are some revisions taking place in , license requirements and other information can be found on the PGCB website.
Responsible gambling rules are in place for all states, as are parameters pertaining to advertising, marketing, and responsible gaming measures. USA online poker players today face the challenge of choosing the right poker site.
In certain states, it means choosing from licensed operators only — only one exists in Nevada — and in others, it requires making choices about which sites are based offshore but are properly regulated and can be trusted. Recreational players can more easily find online poker sites for US players than semi-pro or professional poker players, as the latter require more buy-in options, tournaments, cash games, and higher limits than many sites today can offer.
The key is then to decide if they can continue in an online poker career or adjust their play to incorporate live poker. Some players also face decisions about finding backers or backing other players. US players, however, must also decide if available poker sites are enough or if they should consider relocating to another country in order to have more access to online poker.
Or if relocation to a different part of the US may be ideal in order to live near more live poker options. In the United States, the government has yet to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, meaning bitcoin and others like Litecoin are free of any governmental rules or oversight. The bill legalized online poker, online table games, online slots, and daily fantasy sports. It also allowed for a number of other gambling expansions such as online lottery, tablet gambling in airports, video gambling terminals at truck stops, and 10 satellite casinos.
Players can expect to be able to play online poker in PA in One of the biggest advantages to playing online poker at regulated sites in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey is that all player funds are just as safe as they would be at a licensed land-based casino in any of those states.
This is in contrast to offshore sites where poker players have a long history of seeing their funds held hostage or stolen altogether.
Players can use Visa , MasterCard , electronic checks, bank wires, Neteller , Skrill , PayNearMe , prepaid card, and cash at the associated licensed casino. Withdrawals are processed by electronic check, paper check, Neteller, Skrill, prepaid debit card, and cash at the associated licensed casino.
The method available depends on the state and participating site. Finally, regulated sites undergo far more rigorous checks to ensure that games are fair and secure than unregulated sites. Federal law allows states to legalize and regulate online poker. A September Justice Department opinion confirmed this and explicitly gives states the right to permit intrastate gaming.
Strong scores besdies a poor rewards program. Very high poker site traffic for tables and tournaments. One of the original sites for online poker. App is excellent but no download-free option. Breakout Poker has a lot as an online poker site in a very short time. They're on one of the busiest online poker networks worldwide, have a number of sponsored poker pros, and host some of the loosest tables.
Surprisingly high poker player traffic. A newer post site that's brought a lot of players. Mobile apps but no instant no-download option. After becoming their own network in , Unibet Poker has focused on bringing recreational players to their poker site, helping keep games loose. Their new online poker software is one of my favorites in years, with a no-download version and lots of colorful graphics. Although ranked in the top 10 for online poker site traffic, player traffic can be lacking at times and can be brutally low for tournaments.
Only tournaments and traffic are mediocre. Strong traffic growth in recent years. Moved to create their own poker site network. Almost no difference from the download version. Pokerstars has a stranglehold on the online poker site market. They're heads-and-shoulders above the competition in terms of traffic. There are dozens of cash games available at every limit, including the highest stakes online. The biggest knocks on this poker site are the incredibly tight games, support for HUDs, and lack of telephone support.
Very low Fish Rating brings it down. The largest online poker site for many years. One of the oldest real money poker sites still operating. Highly-rated app but no instant play option. Titan Poker is the flagship online poker site of the iPoker network, which is still fairly busy for cash games especially.
Titan Poker is one of the only poker sites to publicly offer rakeback to all players, eliminating under-the-table deals. I always appreciate a no-download option at poker sites, but it's unreliable here. Game quality is only average-to-below-average thanks to full-time poker grinders working for rakeback. Some strong parts but several weak ones. The iPoker network is still quite active for cash games. Still the best brand on the iPoker network.
No-download version works, but has some bugs. My poker review recipe follows a general format that I feel gives you the most informative cross-section possible. Like filo dough made out of countless layers of poker site hyperbole, I want to peel back every aspect of a prospective real-money poker site to cover what may be most important to you personally.
If I cover what may seem like too much detail on every online poker room, I have a better chance to review something specific that's important to every player. Here's what I include in every single poker site review.
The best sites earn consistently high scores in most, if not every, category. This is at the top of each review page and gives a couple handfuls of quick pros and cons for each real-money poker site. It serves as a quick reference for what I feel are the standout features, both good and bad.
The higher the Fish Rating, the higher the number of poor poker players that populate the tables I test multiple real-money tables at multiple limits to come up with this rating. More of a concern for USA players, I like to rate the cashier options in each poker site review and how well each one is processed. Even for non-USA players, availability of deposit methods even at the best sites can vary considerably.
Online poker players worldwide should know what to expect from the cashout process. Surprisingly, this essential is left out of most poker reviews. What is the poker site's tournaments schedule like?
What are the most notable events and what is their big Sunday guarantee? Beyond that, I like to include how many players typically enter the best tournaments, how long it takes to fill a Sit and Go, freerolls, and potential prize money overlay opportunities.
This is another key to online poker sites that is often overlooked or left out entirely in other reviews. Like it or not, real money player traffic can doom an otherwise-solid poker site. I always include realistic expectations for player traffic. Beyond features or game speed, I like to note if poker sites use anonymous tables, offers a native Mac version, and what the mobile options are like. I find numerous questions a new player might ask and contact the poker site about them in order to test how well they perform.