Best Online Poker Sites for US Players
One of the unique qualities of the US friendly Internet poker rooms is the creation and implementation of anonymous cash game tables. It was designed to protect the recreational and more casual players from the professional grinders and those using HUDs, and players of all skill levels have come to embrace the trend. These sites also form alliances on various networks, such as Ignition with Bovada and Bodog, to share liquidity, meaning players from all of the sites compete at the same cash game and tournament tables. This improves game choices and tournament guarantees. Finally, the best US friendly poker sites have been the first to truly embrace cryptocurrencies for deposits and withdrawals to meet the demands of many players. By offering bitcoin and slowly opening up to other forms of cryptocurrency, these sites are setting new standards for others to follow.
Legal Happenings in 2018
When online poker spread around the world, the United States was one of its biggest customers. And anytime tens of thousands – or many more – Americans begin doing something, the US government takes notice. In response to the poker boom, US lawmakers passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 to restrict online poker and gambling.
A few international online poker sites immediately exited the US market at that time under threat from the federal government, but it wasn’t until Black Friday that many more departed. On April 15, 2011, the US Department of Justice handed down indictments for executives at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UltimateBet, and Absolute Poker, the four largest poker sites accepting US customers at the time. The DOJ also seized their domains and player funds. By the time it was sorted out, PokerStars was the only one of those sites left standing. PokerStars paid its fine to the US government, bought Full Tilt, and authorized its fines to repay customers of the other three sites.
The US DOJ then issued a ruling on the Federal Wire Act, an antiquated law was newly interpreted to only apply to sports betting. This decision allowed states to make their own laws regarding online gambling, including USA online poker. Nevada was the first to legalize online poker, and Delaware and New Jersey followed to legalize online poker and casino games. And just in 2017, Pennsylvania voted to join them. Many of them are now also working out the details of sharing online poker liquidity across state lines, while states like New York and Michigan decide if they are ready to join the ranks.
As 2018 got underway, poker players were eying states like New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Illinois, and others that had indicated an interest in legalized online poker. All the while, friends of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson continue trying to push bills through the US Congress to outlaw all online gambling, including poker, because of Adelson’s opposition. AS of the beginning of 2018, none had been remotely successful in their attempts.
The US is an ever-changing gambling market. And while it continues to sort through its stances on internet issues, there are still some United States online poker sites accept all or most American customers. Players have demanded options, and they now have them.
Important Aspects of US Poker Websites
Poker sites open to US players must still be registered and accountable to some regulator, and they must be experienced sites with a track record of trustworthiness and safety. There are some of those sites available.
How to Choose an Online Poker Site Open to US Players
While the US market – and the 50 states contained within – sort through their collective and individual desires to open or close areas to online poker, there are ways for players to find out if their favorite sites are still accepting their business.
- Visit the site and try to create an account from your home computer.
- The home page of the site should show a deposit bonus in US dollars.
- Check the cashier page for deposit options specific to US players.
- Search the help, contact, or FAQ section for information about US market restrictions.
- Call, email, or live chat with a customer service representative.
- Check our reviews from this page for sites recommended for Americans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Am I in danger of prosecution from the US government for playing online poker?
Answer: No. The US government may rely on ambiguous laws and change its stance occasionally, but it has never targeted poker players. No one is in danger of being arrested or prosecuted in America for playing US poker online.
Question: How do I keep track of laws changing in 50 different states?
Answer: Our site not only breaks down the poker laws in each of the 50 states, we also monitor them for changes and update frequently. We also publish regular news stories here.
Question: Why is PokerStars only offered in New Jersey?
Answer: Every state has its own laws and preferences. Nevada, for example, passed its online poker law that excluded sites like PokerStars from applying for licensing. New Jersey was the only one thus far that gave PokerStars a chance and issued a license for the site to operate within the borders of New Jersey.
Question: Why do my friends say BetOnline has a questionable past in the US?
Answer: There was a problem with paying customers at one time, but BetOnline has addressed and rectified those issues. The site is now on the Chico Poker Network and has regained the trust of most of its players in the past several years. The site now welcomes a good portion of its players from the US.
Question: What is the easiest way to deposit on US sites?
Answer: There are several payment processing methods open to US players. Credit cards like Visa and Mastercard are allowed for transactions but only if the issuing bank allows them. A much more reliable method of depositing to US poker sites online is to use bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that is the hot trend for many of today’s poker players.
Question: What is the definition of a legal US poker site?
Answer: There are several definitions. Some feel a US online poker room is one registered in the four states that have specifically legalized online poker. Others call any USA online poker site that is certified by a regulator – one of many around the world – a legal site, as it conforms to industry standards. Since players are not breaking any laws by playing on a site like Ignition, that generally indicates the site is a legal one. Experts maintain different positions.